Class 23: Editing

By the end of today’s class you should have a familiarity with and understanding of a set of terms and concepts related to film (and video) editing. Editing includes specific techniques (e.g., the jump cut, the eye-line match), and editing styles (the continuity system, montage).

The page “Why Editing Works“,  from UC Berkeley, is an extensive article about film editing. We are interested in the section on the rules of continuity editing:

  • Maintain continuity
  • 180 degree rule & the Line of Action
  • Screen direction
  • Cutting on the action
  • 30 degree rule

The following video shows famous Anglo-American film director Alfred Hitchcock demonstrating the psychological/emotional power of film editing. He recreates a famous experiment first conducted by the Soviet filmmaker Lev Kuleshov in the early 1920s.

The Yale University Film Analysis Guide describes specific editing techniques. You should be able to identify each one. You might have to click on the menu on the left to get to the editing portion of the site.

  1. Transitions
    1. cheat cut
    2. crosscutting
    3. cut-in, cut-away
    4. dissolve
    5. iris
    6. jump cut
    7. establishing shot
    8. shot/reverse shot
    9. superimposition
    10. wipe
  2. Matches
    1. eyeline
    2. graphic
    3. match on action
  3. Duration
    1. long take
    2. overlapping editing


I will distribute comic strips and your task is to cut them up and reorganize the frames to create new meanings. You should be able to identify the kind of shot in each frame.

HOMEWORK: Check SSD for instructions.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s