Editing: Met with Jonah today to review the rough cut. As it stands, there are really only the two last scenes remaining to do, and I’m going to finish them tonight and Saturday (repeat after me: “loooozah”). Sure enough, Jonah showed me some quick/instant tricks that made things sing: slowing down a cut by even 10% to smooth it out, subtle enlargement of the image to crop out vignetting, and rapidly executed cuts and changes in the rhythm of scenes that made them work better than before. Once I get the rough cut to him Sunday, he’ll have quite a bit of liberty to fashion the whole thing.
One thing that I was unsure about was how to really make jump cuts well, a technique I wanted to use, especially in the town sequence, where the man finds out about the town’s role in the war as he asks several people for directions. Then tonight, as I was capturing a few remaining clips, I turned on The Sundance Channel, and Steven Soderbergh‘s film, The Limey was on. Terence Stamp had a scene where he’s telling it like it is to some DEA agent or something sitting at a desk. The monologue/diatribe was such a massive series of jump cuts, executed so well, that it was a shot in the arm. The cuts set a rhythm in the speech, subtly causing the viewer to stay on edge, waiting to see what the next cut is going to be. Even though every one is of Stamp, in the near center of the frame, the cuts keep the viewer’s attention pinned to the speech, whereas a long, single cut–or intercutting with an unmoving/nonspeaking agent–could cause viewers’ minds to wander. Interesting. Here’s a Google cache of an EditorsNet.com interview with Sarah Flack, the editor on The Limey. About halfway down, she talks about this exact scene. Very interesting.