AVID MEDIA COMPOSER
Media Composer is the top choice for professional film and video editing in the industry. Whether you edit movies, TV shows, commercials, or other video, this industry-standard nonlinear editor provides 64-bit performance, easy-to-use video editing tools, and streamlined HD, file-based, and stereo 3D workflows. Its open platform enables you to work with the gear you have or want and integrate into any workflow.
Avid is a very hands on, intuitive editing program, giving you a greater deal of control and precision with your work.
Unlike conventional editing programs such as Adobe Premiere and Final Cut, you have to section and organize your footage in bins, and setting in and out points on clips before putting them on the timeline. Most people shy away from this program because of such features, and cosmetically it can be slightly over-whelming and intimidating because of it vast amount of controls.
By definition, a montage is “a single pictorial composition made by juxtaposing or superimposing many pictures or designs.” In filmmaking, a montage is an editing technique in which shots are juxtaposed in an often fast-paced fashion that compresses time and conveys a lot of information in a relatively short period.
When you think of montage, you see a slideshow of images or photographs with music over the top of it, and in some ways, video montage is no different, commonly used in film trailers, music videos, sporting videos etc.
FRENCH NEW WAVE
An artistic movement whose influence on film has been as profound and enduring as that of surrealism or cubism on painting, the French New Wave (or Le Nouvelle Vague) made it’s first splashes as a movement shot through with youthful exuberance and a brisk reinvigoration of the filmmaking process. Most agree that the French New Wave was at its peak between 1958 and 1964, but it continued to ripple on afterwards, with many of the tendencies and styles introduced by the movement still in practice today. – Craig Phillips (GreeneCine.com)
Many of the French New Wave’s favorite conventions actually sprang not only from artistic tenets, but from necessity and circumstance. These critics-turned-filmmakers knew a great deal about film history and theory, but a lot less about film production. In addition, they were working on low budgets. They often improvised with what schedules and materials they could afford. Out of all this came a group of conventions that were consistently used in the majority of French New Wave films including:
- Jump cuts: a non-naturalistic edit, usually a section of a continuous shot that is removed unexpectedly, illogically
- Shooting on location
- Natural lighting
- Improvised dialogue and plotting
- Direct sound recording
- Long takes
The Soviet Montage movement began in 1924/25 and ended at 1930. During the movement’s existence, perhaps fewer than thirty films were made in the style. But the films were very influential. One main characteristics of Soviet Montage films is the downplaying of individual characters in the center of attention. Single characters are shown as members of different social classes and are representing a general type or class. In Eisenstein’s film “Strike”, there is only one character named individually in the entire film.
Even today, the Soviet Montage style is very interesting to watch and very inspiring but the political aspects are much harder to follow today. The lack of individual protagonists is a factor that reduces the joy of viewing and makes it hard to follow the whole film.
THE MATCH CUT
A match cut is a cut in film editing between either two different objects, two different spaces, or two different compositions in which an object in the two shots graphically match, often helping to establish a strong continuity of action and linking the two shots metaphorically.
Here is one of the oldest and most famous examples of the match cut, used by Stanley Kubrick in 2001: Space Odyssey. The monkey throws the bones up in the air and the next shot is of a space, missile, satellite, ship thing, this being the same shape as the bone. I think other than purely the form of both objects, the meanings of both and how they relate to each other. The bone, being a weapon for the monkeys, turning to the missile satellite; this shows the evolution of weaponry.
An accelerated montage is composed of shots of increasingly-shorter lengths. This creates a climatic and exciting build up to action in film. This technique is often used in film trailers and commercials.
A common accelerated montage is the wheels of a train moving faster and faster which creates an effect of speed that is constantly increasing. This type of montage is especially useful if your film chronicles an event that is happening over a period of time that is too long to be shown as it is on screen.
SKIP TO 2:08
I like this example of accelerated montage, it is a very popular technique for films of this nature, fast paced, high energy, it builds the excitement really well, for me it almost gets to the point where the climax feels like its never going to be shown.
LONG TAKE CINEMA
Flipping the technique of fast, choppy cuts on it’s head; we come to long takes. Long takes are used in many films by directors to really engross the viewer in scenes that use them, this, for me, creates an excitement and atmosphere in a scene and following characters and action with long takes is a lot more impressive, as the actors and crew have to plan and almost choreograph them.
The Big Combo (1955) Directed by Joseph Lewis.
The Big Combo has many long take sequences. The following scenes are the most impressive of the long takes in the sense of how much there are to them. The first long take of note begins at around 25 minutes into the film, this take runs for about 2 and a half minutes. Richard Conte and Jean Wallace play a scene in an apartment living room. Beginning with a wide shot and moving eventually to close-ups.
The second notable long take begins at around 39 minutes into the film and runs for nearly four minutes. Cornel Wilde and Ted de Corsia play a scene in another apartment. The camera zooms several times between wide and tight, as well as following various actions. There are much diversity of angles, such as one actor, both actors, the entire room, etc. The take ends with a close-up of a wall calendar.
Quentin Tarantino is another notable user of the long take technique, he uses them in almost every one of his films.
Pulp Fiction (1994) Directed by Quentin Tarantino
This is the famous scene where Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta are walking to Bret’s apartment whilst talking about foot massages. This last for around 3 minutes. The camera tracks them walking from the front through a long corridor and around a corner to the door, they realise it’s not quite time to knock on the door yet so they hang back and walk just down the hallway, the camera stays by the door and they are seen down the hall in a wide shot. They continue to argue about the importance of a foot massage and eventually walk back to the door. I love this scene, the movement a placement of the camera is thought out so well and it’s a really fresh take on the technique.
THE EYE-LINE MATCH
An eye-line match is a simple, yet effective editing technique used is various productions, an example of the technique is a shot of a character looking at something, then cutting to a shot from the character’s eye-line looking at exactly what he/she sees. It is used very frequently in horror film I have found, experiencing a story and watching it through the victim or character’s eyes when something bad is about to happen, it builds tension and suspense very effectively as you really feel like you’re right there in the story.
Here is an example of the eye-line match cut from “No Country for Old Men”.
Rhythm editing consists of an assembling of shots or sequences paced to match to a rhythmic pattern, that usually being music. In Woody Allen’s film “Bananas”, the use of a Charlie Chaplin-like tune in the following scene is almost used as the narrative, driving the story with the music which is quite clearly comedic. In the sequence below, the length of the shots is determined by the tempo of the song, as the villains’ raine of abuse towards the innocent passengers comes to a climax, the shots become shorter and shorter. This creates suspense during the scene until we eventually see the underdog overcome the bullies and throws them off the train.
For my video, I want to work using the editing techniques; Accelerated Montage and Rhythmic Editing. I really like the way, when used effectively, it can create excitement and really engross the viewer into the video.
First Idea: PAINTBALLING
Initially I wanted to make a montage using footage of a day at paintball which a few friends and I specifically filmed for this project. The paintball games were recorded using three GoPro HD mini cameras mounted to our chests (Aden, Rob Smith, Grant Lang). This gave the footage a first person shooter look which I wanted to accomplish to create the illusion of a live action playstation game being played.
The disadvantage of using the GoPro HD mini cam is the fact that you can’t see what you’re filming, and you can’t review you’re footage until you have a computer or laptop at hand, which caused many problems when I reviewed the footage we filmed, the majority of it was unusable and just all round not very good. Although there were some good moments caught on video, there just wasn’t enough.
Here are some screenshots the footage we got:
Despite how cool the screenshots look, there wasn’t enough usable footage to make a decent length montage out of, especially seeing as I wanted to use a really fast paced song and conveying the excitement and adrenaline that you get whilst playing paintball.
Second and Final Idea: SLIP N SLIDE
After the disappointment of having to scrap the paintball first person shooter idea, I found myself looking through old footage on my harddrive that i’ve had for years, and I came across my Slip N Slide footage. A slip n slide is pretty much just a huge piece of tarpaulin doused in water and fairy liquid and; alas, you have a fun day ahead of you. Me and my friends used to do these slip n slide days every year in the summer time and I would always film them as professionally as possible, I would take multiple high-end cameras to film them (Canon XM1, Canon 550D, GoPro HD Hero).
So I looked through the hours and hours of footage I have and saw a great opportunity to create a accelerated and rhythmic montage out of it and try to capture the feeling of excitement and fun that was felt when we would do these slip n slide events.
I began looking through the footage and finding the clips that looked the best and would make it look as fun as it is. I used footage from our 2011 Slip n Slide and our 2012 Slip n Slide, as I only wanted it to be a minute long or under, i didn’t want to over do it with the amount of choice, footage wise, I had to use in the video.
As this was going to be a rhythmic piece, I needed a good song with a pace that felt right, something that matched the mood of the video. I dug through my iTunes library and I just couldn’t find the right sound. Then, one evening, a few days later I was eating my dinner with my iTunes library on shuffle, a song called “Born on a Horse” by Biffy Clyro started playing, and whilst I was listening to it, I was watching the video in my head and could see exactly how I could use the song’s unique sound to compliment the footage.
I really like the intro to the song, I wanted to use the drum and guitar build up at the very beginning of the song and match it with one or two frames of footage on each beat, this footage being of preparing the slip n slide, such as filling up buckets of water and setting it up. I thought this would be good because the preparation of the slide is important, but using it too much or in the wrong place could potentially effect the pace of the video, so I think using it in this way at the beginning was really effective and builds up a nice intro and keeps the viewer interested.
The clips of us sliding down the slip n slide went really well with the funky sound of the song, from then on it was really easy to figure out the placement of the footage, and I had a lot of freedom because of this.
MY EXPERIENCE WITH AVID MEDIA COMPOSER
I really enjoyed using Avid, when I first found out that we were going to be using it I wasn’t looking forward to it, when it comes to editing I don’t like change and I like to stick with what im confident with using.
That soon changed when Stuart started with the weekly Avid tutorial sessions, they were very helpful and informative and as the weeks went on started to feel excited about using as it didn’t seem as stressful to use as some people have said.
When I first started editing the video I brought all of my footage into college and fired up Avid on one of the iMacs in 1.22, I thought I should probably edit in college as Avid seemed to be a very high end, power hungry piece of software. I opened it up and created a new project, everything was going smoothly and all my bins were labelled and I was ready to import the footage into it. I clicked on “Link to AMA Files” and everything went downhill, every time I tried to get the footage in the program it would do a total freeze up, leaving me having to force quit every time and try again. I was confused seeing as the files were Avid friendly mp4 files, I even tried doing standard importing and trying different iMacs in the room but the same problem occurred each time.
I was getting slightly worried so I took a long shot and downloaded the free Avid Media Composer 6.5 trial on my 4GB ram MacBook Pro. It took a while to download the trial as the file was multiple gigs in size and I had no hopes of it running properly. After it downloaded, I opened it up, set up a new project, hit “Link to AMA Files”, and voila! They imported within seconds, I set the in and out points for the first few clips in the preview window and they went straight on the timeline with no problems.
From then on, editing with Avid was a really good experience and it was great using proper industry standard editing software. I would like to edit a more complex production with Avid so I can really use the skills I have learned from Stu’s sessions and get the most out of the countless amount of things that can be done using Avid.
This Editing & Montage module has been a really great module, personally, my interest in film began when I was younger and I would film me and my friends skateboarding with an old VHS-Compact camcorder, and edit together little montages with music over the top of them. It was really interesting exploring the history of editing and the techniques used and what they were used for.
This extended research helped me understand the importance of editing and how the narrative can be changed just using editing, how you can tell multiple different stories from one thing.
Im very happy with how my final edit turned out, I feel I was successful in what I was trying to do with the editing theme and how I wanted the video to make the viewer feel whilst watching. I definitely think that the video makes doing a simple thing like sliding down a piece of tarpaulin look exciting and adrenaline fuelled.
I think the song works really well in this video, although the song itself or the lyrics don’t have any link to the subject matter, I chose it purely for the sound and it really compliments the actions in the video effectively.
As I covered in my Avid experience post, it was a lot of fun using the program for the first time and a lot more stress-free than I was expecting, as most people say “stick with premiere or final cut”. Like I said, the only snag I hit whilst editing was the college iMacs not being able to take my footage on Avid, but this was easily fixed and didn’t hold me up too much.
Looking back, im glad that my Paintball video idea didn’t happen, although I probably will make the video in the future, I just didn’t think I was ready to tackle a project like that, which is pretty edit-heavy, and especially after using Avid, although I feel comfortable using it, I think it would of been to intense for a first time project on the software.
I really like the simplicity of my video, it’s not too long, it’s not too short, I feel like it’s a solid edit which demonstrates the editing techniques I chose to focus on for my video.