General audiences are accepting of very different styles though nowadays. For example, Christoper Nolan has a very different directing and editing style, than say, Paul Greengrass, and yet they both attract the general audiences.
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08-10-2012 11:53 PM
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- Oct 2011
Last edited by ironpony; 08-11-2012 at 12:05 AM.
08-11-2012 01:01 AM
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- Mar 2009
I do think that something with a dense story with a lot happening will be enough even if it is cut relatively slow. An example would be There Will Be Blood, at 15 seconds per shot, with several shots lasting upwards of a minute. Of course, it will not appeal to the most casual of audiences, but for most regular movie goers that was a great success.
In short, I think it has much more to do with how much is going on rather than the cutting pace. No one will call Scorsese's steadicam shots boring even though they go on for several minutes - simply because there's a hell of a lot happening. I would even wager that most of the audience wouldn't realize the lack of editing.
Last edited by Subhadip; 08-11-2012 at 01:07 AM.
08-11-2012 09:26 AM
Its funny all this talk about mise en scene when its MONTAGE that is the real secret kung fu technique that RR used to make El Mariachi (building up automatic weapon fire from multiple shots, shooting dialog scenes with each actor not even in the same room, etc) RR is a MASTER OF MONTAGE FILMAKING and with all his ten minute film schools, its the basic technique that he's trying to teach you.
read Pudovkin's "Film Technique", then start watching films closely shot by shot and notice the sequences. Did you know an explosion or car crash is -rarely- rendered with one shot? its usually built up from at least two different angles to emphasize and extend the event.
Most low budget and amateur films are stiff and awkward because the filmakers dont use this basic technique- you should be thinking MORE SHOTS, not less.
MONTAGE ALL THE WAY.
just LOOK at all the cross cutting, inserts, reaction shots, etc.
Last edited by nycineaste; 08-11-2012 at 09:37 AM.
08-11-2012 09:56 AM
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- Apr 2010
My problem with montage filmmaking is that it is too intellectual (not in a good way). Each cut essentially becomes a word, and will only mean something in the context of the cuts around it. In effect each shot is reduced to a symbol, something for the audience to "figure out". While this does not eliminate an emotional connection to the film, I do think it hurts it. Especially now with the spastic editing of modern movies, you never have time to absorb whats going on, to step into the movie. It all becomes about how fast your brain can process what's going on. This type of filmmaking also limits the possibilities of the film, essentially giving all the goodies to the audience. You will never be able to have the experience of noticing new layers every time you watch the film, as you can with something like Children of Men.
Also, from a filmmaking perspective, montage filmmaking is sooo frigging tedious and boring. Do 4 angles of this dialogue, then flip it and do 4 angles of that. It's repetitive and irritating.Follow me on Twitter: @jg_henderson
08-11-2012 11:13 AM
You should look into the subject more.
Eistenstein's theory of intellectual montage was about the images clashing to create a third idea, but in actual practice, he more often did work closer in theory to Pudovkin, who was about building up a story from shots. Then there's what folks call Hollywood Continuity Editing, which is meant to be invisible- you barely notice the cuts cause they are motivated by the story.
I used the term montage (im using Pudovkin as my main learning resource), but I'm talking about a technique or way of looking at cinema that encompasses all three of the above. You dont really notice the cuts in well-shot movies, because your mind is busy following the story.
If you have a great steadicam rig/dolly/crane, and big awesome sets, go right on ahead and focus on shooting those long fluid master takes.
If you have incredible, theatre-quality dialog and cool quirky characters, nail down the camera and shoot Kevin Smith/Jim Jarmucsch style.
It's all good.
08-11-2012 11:38 AM
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- Jul 2004
- Los Angeles
I would refute that either scenario suggests a specific approach. No reason you can't take cool quirky characters on a Steadicam walk-and-talk spouting great dialog (see: Aaron Sorkin circa 10 years ago), and sometimes the best way to show off a great set and location is with static, proscenium frames.
One of the traps that new filmmakers face today is that a lot of the traditionally "exotic" tools of filmmaking are now readily and cheaply available. A typical tendency is to try to force the toys onto material in a way that may not be best for the final product. A perfect example would be the shallow depth-of-field craze that started with 35mm adaptors and blossomed with the 5D. Instead of a choice, it became a pre-requisite and anything less wasn't "cool".
I've seen many low-budget films clearly fall into their "style" as a result of attempts to fix what didn't work as intended. Reliance on long takes very often forces jumpcuts as the filmmakers eventually discover that the rhythm of that super-cool long master is not as super-cool as they thought. I just watched a project that an acquaintance made saddled with just that issue: meandering tracking shots with lots of dead air in them that sucked all of the momentum out of the piece. He tried to save it with a wall-to-wall score which improved things but for me at least, was particularly obvious.
After my first few years of enthusiastically shooting show-off Steadicam oner's, I began instead to start suggesting alternatives and "escape hatches". A classic example is scenes that traverse staircases. In most cases, the shot sucks--if preceding actors, you are looking up their noses; if following, down at the tops of their heads. Just because the camera can travel smoothly down the stairs doesn't make it interesting (especially if the operator isn't great, and headroom will be all over the place). Take them to the stairs, let them walk away, cut to the bottom as they arrive. OFten there's a more interesting composition to find this way.
When it comes to more classic shots like the OP showed, one limitation of this style is that you may want to be closer to characters at a certain time to read their facial expressions. Certainly Woody Allen has made amazing sequences where sometimes the actors aren't even in the shot for a good portion of the time, and I can think of some stunning scenes in early Scorcese films. But of course, there are great actors and great material being spoken which makes all the difference. I think the key to successful indie filmmaking with limited experience in front of and behind the camera is to hedge your bets and give yourself options in the edit room. For every "Clerks", there were hundreds of unwatchable films that attempted that style and failed.
08-11-2012 01:19 PM
Stu Maschwitz' "DV Rebel's Guide" is another resource that emphasizes use of constructive editing/montage as a primary mode of working, stressing it's specific advantages for the low/no budgeter.
That's the direction I'm choosing anyway. Im breaking down all types of films (from silent to the present) shot by shot, learning to think in terms of sequences (rather than individual shots). Clearly not the only way to go, but im enjoying it and feel like I'm learning...I'll be shooting a lil horror short in two weeks and expect it to be a little more energetic, watchable, and well-constructed affair than my last efforts. I'll be pre-editing the film, RR/Maschwitz style, working from a detailed shooting script/shot list (likely shooting a few protective cutaways as well).
Most movies are a mix of the two broad ways of thinking, but I like the idea of focusing on one approach and getting real good at it. Like RR,Pudovkin, and Eisenstein did.
I think Scorcese is an example of a great "total filmaker"- he does all if it super well.
08-11-2012 01:25 PM
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- Apr 2010
First of all, I have "looked into the subject" plenty. I took a philosophy of film class at my university and have read many books on the subject (my favorite being "Sculpting in Time" by Tarkovsky).
I think where I disagree with you is in your statement that in well shot films you don't notice the cuts because your mind is too busy following the story. I would absolutely agree, but would add that I don't necessarily think that's a good thing. If your mind is "busy" following the story, that is an intellectual exercise. I believe art has the potential for much more than the mere transmission of ideas. In 'Sculpting in Time' Tarkovsky talks about how long takes allows the viewers mind to wander, to make connections, to develop a relationship to the work that is much more spiritual than intellectual. I believe this is the only way art can truly change you as a person. If you are simply being communicated ideas, you might enjoy it and think it was fun, but will you even be able to be changed by it? It becomes about "getting it", and not about truly connecting to the work on a deep level.
All that being said, I don't dislike films made via montage theory. Many of them I enjoy quite a lot and I would say that for pure "entertainment" montage probably has the advantage. But if you want a more spiritual connection with a film, then I think montage theory falls way short.Follow me on Twitter: @jg_henderson
08-11-2012 01:46 PM
well, its silly to associate montage with popcorn and mise en scene with art, especially since one of the high points of "film as art" is the soviet silent era. I see where you're coming from as far as mise en scene being spiritual; I read my montage theory but I know my Bazin and Kracauer too.
Also you can shoot long takes in a kind of naturalistic/documentary hand-held style, that's clearly a good mode of working for indies too.
I'm not interested in empty theorizing as I am concrete work approaches for working (poor) arteests.
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- May 2005