Now that you are getting more acquainted with Premiere and the process of editing video and audio, it is time to introduce some more advanced tools. In this unit we will discuss the ideas of pacing and rhythm in dialogue scenes. Then we will apply this creative knowledge practically by discussing some advanced editing methods in Premiere.
When thinking about editing style, it is important to consider pacing. Pacing refers to the clip length the editor chooses for each shot, and how these shots, when strung together, guide an audience to experience the story in a certain way. Pacing may seem a subtle and almost intangible concept at first, but once you have a solid understanding of pacing, it is something that can serve to create a very specific emotional moment in your film. A quick pace can create an urgency for the audience. A slow pace can can create suspense. Sometimes even adding a few frames to or subtracting a few frames from a clip can make a big difference in terms of the timing of a scene.
Let’s watch a few scenes that utilize different styles of pacing. Then we will analyze how the pacing affects the scenes.
Here is a clip from Mulholland Drive (Lynch, 2001). Notice how the scene is paced.
This scene plays out at a very slow pace. The editor allows a clip to linger once the actor has finished speaking and cuts to the next character before he begins speaking. This leaves a lot of silent space in the scene. It is loose. This serves to leave the audience wondering what the characters will say next. It serves to create suspense for the audience.
Of course the tone of the film created by the director with actors and the cinematography serve to affect this clip as well. However, the editing could easily serve to speed up the scene and make it quick and flashy. Instead the edit leaves time for the audience to fill in the silent moments. As a result the scene feels tense, and the audience possibly feels uncomfortable with the silent moments.
Let’s take a look at another scene. This one is from American Beauty (1999) directed by Sam Mendes.
The dialogue in this scene is very specific. The editing creates a very quick pace for the scene even overlapping the characters’ voices at times. The pace of the edit, quickly cutting between the three characters at the table, adds to the chaos of the family crisis. It seems that a character is constantly speaking during this scene. The quick pace escalates and causes the main character to do anything (including throwing a bowl at the wall) to gain control of the situation and eat in silence.
Here is one more scene to discuss. This is from Clueless (1995), directed by Amy Heckerling.
This is a more comedic scene than the other two examples, but the same idea of pacing is present. This is a hectic scene because the character is driving on the freeway accidentally. By cutting between each character, the edit gives the experience of all the characters in the car and how each feels about the situation. The edit also cuts away to to other cars passing by. These quick cuts back and forth from the characters to the surrounding traffic serves to escalate the frantic feeling of the car ride for the audience.
With this understanding of pacing, now we will proceed to the technical tools that will help you achieve a smooth pace when editing.
This unit will focus on practical applications of some of the features of Premiere Pro. You will learn how to create titles for your project, how to create movement in a clip by using keyframes, and how to composite green screen footage.