You’ve Got to Have a Reason

The first two basic rules of cutting are as follows:

Rule 1. Never make a cut without a positive reason.

Rule 2.When undecided about the exact frame to cut on, cut long rather than short.*

Cuts should be conceived on the big screen, but they can be made only on the Moviola. To put it more simply, based on his viewing of the assembled material, the cutter decides where he wants to change angles, where to move into a close shot or cut back to a long shot, and where to cut to a reaction or a response. But on the big screen the film flashes by at 24 frames a second, a cut takes only 1 frame, and a cutter can hardly spot the exact frame to cut on in this infinitesimal space of time.* Therefore, the cutter must view his ...

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