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Grammar of the Edit, 4th Edition

Book Description

Tell more effective visual stories by learning the "grammar" of cinematic language with this elegant, accessible reference. The fourth edition of Grammar of the Edit gives you the answers to the all-important questions of when to cut and why, and teaches readers the principles behind transitions, editing for continuity, selecting the best shots, editing sound, color correction, and more. Designed as an easy-to-use guide, Grammar of the Edit presents each topic succinctly with clear photographs and diagrams illustrating key concepts, practical exercises and quiz questions, and is a staple of any filmmaker’s library.

New to the fourth edition:

  • An expanded companion website offering downloadable and editable raw footage so that students can practice the techniques described in the book, and instructional videos showcasing examples of different editing choices and types of shot transitions.
  • New and expanded quiz questions and practical exercises at the end of each chapter help test readers on their knowledge using real-world scenarios.
  • Updated topic discussions, explanations, illustrations and visual examples.
  • An all-new chapter on Sound resources in filmmaking and Audio Editing guidelines.

Together with its companion volume, Grammar of the Shot, the core concepts discussed in these books offer concise and practical resources for both experienced and aspiring filmmakers.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Half Title
  3. Title Page
  4. Copyright Page
  5. Table of Contents
  6. Introduction
  7. Acknowledgements
  8. Chapter One – Editing Basics
    1. A Very Brief History of Film Editing
      1. What Is Editing?
    2. What Basic Factors May Affect Your Editing Choices?
      1. Tools
      2. Project Type and Genre
      3. Degree of Audience Manipulation
      4. Other Factors
    3. Stages of the Editing Process
      1. Acquisition
      2. Organization
      3. Review and Selection
      4. Assembly
      5. Rough Cut
      6. Fine Cut
      7. Picture Lock
      8. Finishing
      9. Mastering and Delivery
    4. The Basic Motion Picture Transitions
    5. Chapter One – Final Thoughts: Editing Purpose and Process
    6. Related Material Found in Chapter Eight – Working Practices
    7. Chapter One – Review
    8. Chapter One – Exercises
    9. Chapter One – Quiz Yourself
  9. Chapter Two – Understanding the Visual Material
    1. The Basic Shot Types
      1. Shot Descriptions
        1. The Extreme Close-Up
        2. The Big Close-Up/Choker
        3. The Close-Up
        4. The Medium Close-Up/Bust Shot
        5. The Medium Shot/Waist Shot/Mid-Shot
        6. The Medium Long Shot/Medium Wide Shot
        7. The Long Shot/Wide Shot
        8. The Very Long Shot/Very Wide Shot
        9. The Extreme Long Shot/Extreme Wide Shot
        10. The Two-Shot
        11. The Over-the-Shoulder Shot
    2. Shot Categories: The Increasing Complexity of Motion Imagery
      1. Simple Shots
      2. Complex Shots
      3. Developing Shots
    3. Chapter Two – Final Thoughts: Camera Shots Are Your Building Blocks
    4. Related Material Found in Chapter Eight – Working Practices
    5. Chapter Two – Review
    6. Chapter Two – Exercises
    7. Chapter Two – Quiz Yourself
  10. Chapter Three – Understanding the Audio Material
    1. Sound
    2. Sounds Gathered During Production
      1. Dialogue
      2. Room Tone/Natural Sound (NATS)/Ambience
      3. Wild Sounds
      4. Soundtracks (Musical)
    3. Sounds Gathered During Post-Production
      1. Narration/Voice-Over
      2. Automated Dialogue Replacement (ADR)/Looping
      3. Ambience/Tonal Tracks
      4. Sound Effects (SFX)/Spot Effects
      5. Foley Effects
      6. Soundtracks (Music)
      7. Stings/Stingers
      8. Score
    4. Audio Terms that You May Encounter
      1. Sync Sound
      2. Diegetic Sounds
      3. Non-Diegetic Sounds
      4. Sound Design
      5. Sound Motifs
    5. Chapter Three – Final Thoughts: Sound as Emotional and Physiological Manipulation
    6. Related Material Found in Chapter Eight – Working Practices
    7. Chapter Three – Review
    8. Chapter Three – Exercises
    9. Chapter Three – Quiz Yourself
  11. Chapter Four – Assessing the Footage: Selecting the Best Shots for the Job
    1. Criteria for Shot Assessment
      1. Focus
      2. Framing and Composition
      3. Exposure and Color Balance
      4. Screen Direction
      5. The 180-Degree Rule/Axis of Action
      6. The 30-Degree Rule
      7. Matching Angles
      8. Matching Eye-Line
      9. Continuity of Action
      10. Performance
      11. Continuity of Dialogue/Spoken Words
      12. Audio Quality
    2. Be Familiar with All of the Footage
    3. Chapter Four – Final Thoughts: So How Does All of This Help You?
    4. Related Material Found in Chapter Eight – Working Practices
    5. Chapter Four – Review
    6. Chapter Four – Exercises
    7. Chapter Four – Quiz Yourself
  12. Chapter Five – When to Cut and Why: Factors that Lead to Making an Edit
    1. Information
    2. Motivation
    3. Shot Composition
    4. Camera Angle
    5. Continuity
      1. Continuity of Content
      2. Continuity of Movement
      3. Continuity of Position
    6. Sound
    7. Chapter Five – Final Thoughts: Is There a Right or Wrong Reason for a Cut?
    8. Related Material Found in Chapter Eight – Working Practices
    9. Chapter Five – Review
    10. Chapter Five – Exercises
    11. Chapter Five – Quiz Yourself
  13. Chapter Six – Transitions and Edit Categories
    1. Transition and Edit Terms
    2. The Four Major Categories of Transition Types
      1. The Cut
      2. The Dissolve
      3. The Wipe
      4. The Fade
    3. The Five Major Categories of Edit Types
      1. The Action Edit
      2. The Screen Position Edit
      3. The Form Edit
      4. The Concept Edit
      5. The Combined Edit
    4. Chapter Six – Final Thoughts: Does Everything Always Apply?
    5. Related Material Found in Chapter Eight – Working Practices
    6. Chapter Six – Review
    7. Chapter Six – Exercises
    8. Chapter Six – Quiz Yourself
  14. Chapter Seven – Editing Terms, Topics, and Techniques
    1. Additional Editing Terms
      1. Timecode
      2. Montage
      3. Parallel Editing
      4. Multi-Camera Editing
      5. Composite Editing
      6. Rendering
      7. Chromakey
      8. Video Resolution
    2. Additional Editing Topics
      1. Sound Editing
      2. Color Correction/Color Grading
      3. Importing Still Images
      4. Digital Workflow
      5. Technology vs. Creativity
    3. Chapter Seven – Final Thoughts: Old Techniques Done with New Technologies
    4. Related Material Found in Chapter Eight – Working Practices
    5. Chapter Seven – Review
    6. Chapter Seven – Exercises
    7. Chapter Seven – Quiz Yourself
  15. Chapter Eight – Working Practices
    1. 1. Pay Careful Attention to Media and Project Organization
    2. 2. Learn and Use Keyboard Shortcuts
    3. 3. Organize Your Timeline Tracks and Maintain Consistency Across Projects
    4. 4. Keep Your Rough Cut Long
    5. 5. Review Each Edit or Series of Edits as You Make Them
    6. 6. Duplicate Your Sequence Before Making Major Changes
    7. 7. Seek Feedback While Editing Your Motion Picture
    8. 8. Put Aside Your Edited Sequence for a While and Watch It Again with Fresh Eyes
    9. 9. Use Shots with Matching Headroom When Cutting a Dialogue Scene
    10. 10. Avoid Shots Where Distracting Objects Are Too Near to the Subject’s Head
    11. 11. Avoid Shots Where the Subject Gets Awkwardly Cut Off at the Edge of the Frame
    12. 12. Cut Matched Shots in a Back-and-Forth Dialogue Scene
    13. 13. Ensure that Subjects Talking on the Telephone Appear to Be Looking Across the Screen at One Another
    14. 14. In a Three-Person Dialogue, Beware of Cutting from a Two-Shot to Another Two-Shot
    15. 15. With a Single Subject, Try to Avoid Cutting to the Same Camera Angle
    16. 16. Beware of Screen Placement Issues with an Object of Interest
    17. 17. Edit in a Wide Shot as Soon as Possible After a Series of Close-Up Shots in a Group Scene
    18. 18. Cut to a Close Shot of a New Subject Soon After He or She Enters a Scene
    19. 19. Use an Establishing Shot to Set Up a New Scene’s Location
    20. 20. Use Close-Ups of Subjects in a Scene for the Greatest Emotional Effect
    21. 21. Cut Away from Subjects Soon After Their Look Rests upon Their Object of Interest
    22. 22. Use J-Cuts and L-Cuts to Smooth Over Transitions
    23. 23. Create Continuous Motion Action Edits by Matching Physical Movements
    24. 24. When Cutting a Rise as an Action Edit, Cut Before the Subject’s Eyes Leave the Frame
    25. 25. When Cutting to a Close-Up of an Action, Select a Version of the Close-Up Where the Action Is Slower
    26. 26. Understand the Visual Differences Between a Dolly-In and a Zoom
    27. 27. Beware of Shots that Dolly Out without Motivation
    28. 28. Select the Best Version of a Pan or Crab Dolly Shot
    29. 29. Begin and End Each Pan, Tilt, or Dolly Shot on a Static Frame
    30. 30. Avoid Editing a Stationary Simple Shot After a Moving Complex Shot of the Same Subject
    31. 31. Avoid Cutting Pans and Tilts that Reverse Direction at the Cut Point
    32. 32. Avoid Crossing the Action Line or the Screen Direction Will Be Reversed
    33. 33. Avoid Cutting an Action Edit from a Two-Shot to Another Two-Shot of the Same Subjects
    34. 34. Allow a Subject to Exit the Frame Completely Prior to Showing Him or Her Entering the Next Shot
    35. 35. Maintain Screen Direction Across an Action Edit
    36. 36. Avoid Making an Action Edit from a Long Shot of a Subject to a Close-Up of the Same Subject
    37. 37. Beware of Editing a Cut-to-Black Followed by a Cut-to-Full-Picture
    38. 38. Take Advantage of the Transition Point that Natural Wipes Offer
    39. 39. Take Advantage of the Transition Point that Whip Pans Offer
    40. 40. Do Not Use Video Track Dissolves During a Dialogue Scene
    41. 41. Use a “Soft Cut” or Mini-Dissolve to Mask a Cut in Interview Footage
    42. 42. Use a Dissolve Between Simile Shots
    43. 43. Handle Continuity, Time, or Information “Gaps” with an Insert Shot
    44. 44. Cut to Reaction Shots During Phrases or Sentences Rather than at the End
    45. 45. When Editing Dialogue, Avoid Automatically Removing a Performer’s Pauses
    46. 46. In Documentary Programming, Edit Out “Ums” and “Ahs” in Interviewee Speech
    47. 47. Use a Character’s Cleanly Recorded Dialogue under His or Her Off-Screen or Over-the-Shoulder Line Delivery
    48. 48. Do Not Be Too Bound by Dialogue When Looking for a Cut Point
    49. 49. Do Not Leave Any Holes in Your Audio Tracks
    50. 50. When Appropriate, Edit Video Tracks to the Beats of Music in Your Sequence
    51. 51. If Appropriate for Your Story, Make a Cut at a Loud Sound on the Audio Track
    52. 52. Hold Off on Adding Music to Dialogue Scenes
    53. 53. During the Audio Mix, Make Sure that Music Track Levels Do Not Overpower Dialogue
    54. 54. Consider Using a Sound Element Before Active Picture at the Start of a Program
    55. 55. For the End of a Program, Use the End of the Music
    56. 56. Make Appropriate Font Choices for Your Titles
    57. 57. Be Aware of Proper On-Screen Durations for Inter-Title and Lower-Third Graphics
    58. 58. Use Still Digital Photographs Whose Image Resolution Is as Large as or Larger than the Project Format’s Pixel Resolution
    59. 59. If Working for a Client, Complete Rudimentary Color Correction Before Showing a Rough Cut
    60. 60. When Color Grading, Work Through Shots, Then Scenes, Then Overall Look
    61. Chapter Eight – Review
    62. Chapter Eight – Exercises
    63. Chapter Eight – Quiz Yourself
  16. Chapter Nine – Concluding Thoughts
    1. Sound and Vision Are Partners
    2. A New Shot Should Contain New Information
    3. There Should Be a Reason for Every Edit
    4. Pacing Has a Purpose
    5. Observe the Action Line
    6. Select the Appropriate Form of Edit
    7. The Better the Edit, the Less It Is Noticed
    8. Editing Is Manipulation
    9. The Role of an Assistant Editor
    10. Editing Is Creating
    11. Chapter Nine – Final Thoughts: Key Take-Aways
    12. Chapter Nine – Review
    13. Chapter Nine – Exercises
    14. Chapter Nine – Quiz Yourself
  17. Appendix A – Helpful Resources for the New Filmmaker
  18. Appendix B – Crew Members Commonly Needed for Motion Picture Production
  19. Appendix C – Practice Script
  20. Glossary
  21. Index