Music Video: Class Picks

Music Video competition results, as voted by your classmates!!

The #1 First Place Winner voted MV was by Calyx Chu (22 votes)

Next Top Videos were:

Second Place: Sonia Gutiérrez Martos (14 votes)
Third Place: Chan Yee Wa (11 votes)
Fourth Place: Leoni Selena (10 votes)
Tied for 5th: Cleo da Fonseca & Ieong Mei Suet (7 votes)


Lecture #12: Documentary & Discontinuity Editing


In our discussion of documentary filmmaking, we’ll look at the various different ways of making documentaries and the problems it poses in the editing room. We will also talk about how organising bins and story writing in the editing room works with documentary.

Some concepts and terms for the documentary editing room include:

  • Observational footage
  • B-Roll or Beauty shots
  • Talking Heads
  • Archival footage
  • Reenactments
  • Narration or Voice Over
  • Title cards
  • The role of the director on or off screen


The documentary trailer is a critically important part of pitching a documentary and raising funding, often edited way before the film is finished and even before much of the shooting has been done. Documentary demos are a very specific and useful genre of edited works that are more important now than ever before. We will talk about  some tips from the professional field about how to cut a strong documentary demo and what funders and producers are looking for.



This week we also look at the flip side of making editing invisible: Discontinuity.  Discontinuity has many interesting effects that can heighten the feeling of a scene. Typical approaches like jump-cuts, which once seemed very aggressive and shocking, are now very much part of film language.

Disrupting film grammar with discontinuity has an interesting history we will look at this week.

Breathless  — Jump Cuts


Chapter 2 “The Early Sound Film” The Technique of Film and Video Editing: History, Theory, and Practice.


Senna (2011)

Capturing the Friedmans (2003)


Lecture 10 will explore two more forms of filmmaking and editing many of you will encounter: Trailers & Short films. We will look at some examples in class and discuss some of the particular techniques that you can use to tackle these formats.


Short filmmaking is all about getting to the point and making everything count. Short films, like features, are also often most effective when the story is told visually — SHOW  don’t TELL.

I will give some editing tips for smoothing out aspects of making the short film, from dialogue overlaps to organizing bins and storyboards.

We will look at the steps and some tips for these steps.

  1. Logging
  2. First Assembly
  3. Rough Cut and Variations
  4. First Cut
  5. Second Cut
  6. Fine Cut
  7. Feedback sessions
  8. Final Cut

After the Final Cut is locked, sound editing should start, followed by sound mixing, colour correction and digitising.

Often shorts are considered under 15 minutes (this is the cut off for festivals like Cannes) but can be also considered under 50 minutes.

To get a handle on how to cut short films, its good to watch lots of them. Here are a few sites with more short films and a few very well executed shorts.

Tuileries”, 2006, Coen Brothers (5 minutes)

  • ACT I – Opening setup
  • ACT II –The conflict that the main character will face (2 minutes)
  • ACT III – The resolution of the film

“Wasp” Andrea Arnold (24 minutes)

The library has short film collections of Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry, both worth checking out. Also check out the whole collection Paris, Je t’aime.

Books on Short Filmmaking

  • Cowgill, Linda J. Writing Short Films: Structure and content for screenwriters. New York: Focal Press, 2006.
  • Irving, Davide K. and Peter W. Rea. Producing and Directing the Short film and video. New York: Focal Press, 2006.

Cutting Trailers


‘Drive’ 2011 Trailer Mash Up

‘Drive’ Original Trailer

The Shining as a comedy

Willy Wonka as a horror

Breaking Bad as a Romantic Comedy


Taxi Driver


The Shining


Spider-Man (banned after 9/11)

Eyes Wide Shut

The Godfather Part III

Strange Days (teaser trailer)

Fight Club

The Matrix

The Piano

Chungking Express

Lecture #9: ACTING, DIRECTING & the EDIT

This week we have guest Jason Tobin for a session on looking at the relationship between acting and editing.

What techniques can help emphasize the feeling of a scene? Sometimes it is as important to see the reaction, or to linger on a shot. Editing is about pace, rhythm and emotion — this class will get us to think about how you make sure you capture this when shooting. In this session we look at some of the considerations around shooting for the edit, ways that different directors approach it, and we will also watch professional actors perform a scene in a few different ways, thinking about approaches to getting the coverage we would need in the editing room.

In the last few weeks we looked at scene construction and in this week’s in-class workshop will look at how directing, shooting and acting interact with the art of editing.

The class will be split in two parts: the first half will be an acting workshop, to help students understand the dynamics of scene construction from the other side of the lens. The second half of the class we will do scene breakdowns of a few different films, and Jason and his professional actors will show you live the options for shooting and for editing a scene.

Jason Tobin on “Are Actors Liars?”


We worked on interpreting a scene from  Kramer vs. Kramer and then watched the award-winning actors on screen as they played it.


Thelma Schoonmaker talks about editing improv in Raging Bull

Lisa Churgin on editing Tobey Maguire and Lasse Hallstrom — Directing actors

Anne V. Coates on editing “Lawrence of Arabia”

Considering Dede Allen: The Editor as Revolutionary 



Lecture #8: The Music Video & Class Critique

This week’s lecture is in two parts:

  1. The Music Video: Assignment #3
  2. In-Class Critique of Assignment #2

We will spend half of this week’s class looking at the work you created for Assignment #2. We have two scenes to watch: cutting a Dialogue Scene; and, the Bank Robbery. We’ll look at a selection of student work, and do an in-class critique.

Learning how to critique editing will be part of the focus this week. What are you looking for when critiquing the edit? How can we learn to spot errors in continuity, pace, rhythm and other elements we have learned about thus far? What is the difference between constructive criticism and non-constructive criticism?

To learn the art of criticism we will practice  on the Major Lazer music video which was shot in Jamaica by SoMe and produced by Iconoclast.

Major Lazer – Get Free ft. Amber of the Dirty Projectors


I will spend some time discussing the process for making a music video based on my own work on “The Lamb” for artist Little Scream.

Little Scream – The Lamb


Watch more Music Videos here.

We will also watch excerpts of Dreamworlds 3: Desire, Sex & Power in Music Videos

Lecture #7: Cutting Genre — Comedy, Thriller, Drama, Action

This week we discuss genre, what it is and how editing works with genre.

“Acategory of artistic composition, as in music or literature, characterized by similarities in form, style, or subject matter.”

Genre is a system of classification.

“Genre suffers from the same ills of any classification system. Genre is useful as long as it is remembered that it is a helpful tool, to be reassessed and scrutinised, and to weigh works on their unique merit as well as their place within the genre.”

We will watch specific sections looking at how genre influences editing, from “Jaws”, “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and “Psycho”.

We will also look at discussion from editors about cutting Action and Suspense from the DVD “The Cutting Edge”

“When Harry Met Sally” Katz’s Delicatessen scene
Jaws, building suspense

Lecture #6: Sound & Music

This week we focus on the use of Sound & Music in Editing. Sound editing, music and mixing are key components of the art of editing.

In this session we will learn about diegetic and non-diegetic sound; recording sound (mic placements, POV, room tone, thumbprint recording); mixing sound (what you can and can’t solve in the mix); elements of sound editing; stages of sound production and post production; working between picture and sound edit in advanced editing, and more.

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; Birth of Sound of Film. Scene on June 9, 1922, in lecture room 100 of the Physics laboratory, when Professor Joseph T. Tykociner gave the world’s first public demonstration of sound-on-film movies. His work caused the old system of “pictures on film, sound on phonograph discs,” to be discarded. Tykociner is behind the desk, looking at the horn microphone. Beside him is the first sound-picture camera. At far right of the table is the first sound-picture projector. Headphones hanging from the table or a loudspeaker were used to hear the sound. Credit: Department of Physics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, courtesy AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives.

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; Birth of Sound of Film. Scene on June 9, 1922, in lecture room 100 of the Physics laboratory, when Professor Joseph T. Tykociner gave the world’s first public demonstration of sound-on-film movies. His work caused the old system of “pictures on film, sound on phonograph discs,” to be discarded. Tykociner is behind the desk, looking at the horn microphone. Beside him is the first sound-picture camera. At far right of the table is the first sound-picture projector. Headphones hanging from the table or a loudspeaker were used to hear the sound. Credit: Department of Physics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, courtesy AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives.


We are also very lucky to have as a guest, the  film composer ROBERT ELLIS-GEIGER. He brings a wealth of experience in composing for feature films and documentaries as well as working with sound for film.

ROBERT ELLIS-GEIGER remains an active performer and composer of music for film, TV, multimedia and the concert hall. Robert had designed state-of-the-art audio and multimedia facilities for: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Leeds Metropolitan University (England), Singapore Polytechnic and Griffith University (Australia) before he joined CityU.

Robert has studied under the late Australian film composer, Brian May (Mad Max I & II, Gallipoli, Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, Nightmare on Elm street 6: Freddy’s Finale). His current research is on “Trends in Contemporary Hollywood Film Scoring: Language and Technology”. You can find out more about Robert from his website.


Chapter 2 “The Early Sound Film” The Technique of Film and Video Editing: History, Theory, and Practice.


This is a video discussing in depth the Sound Design in STAR WARS EPISODE II.

WALTER MURCH talking about Soundscapes with Composer Charles Amirkhanian and soundscape ecologist Bernie Krause.

If you ever question Walter Murch’s talent, listen to his incredible sound design in the opening sequence of Apocalypse Now

Lecture #5: Rhythm, Pace, Emotion

This week we focus on Rhythm, Pace and Emotion in editing.

We also focus on the work and teachings of editor Walter Murch.

Murch has worked on some incredible award winning films. He edited sound on American Graffiti (1973) and The Godfather: Part II (1974), won his first Academy Award nomination for The Conversation (1974), won his first Oscar for Apocalypse Now (1979), and won an unprecedented double Oscar for sound and film editing for his work on The English Patient (1996). Murch’s editing Oscar was the first to be awarded for an electronically edited film (using the Avid system), and he is the only person ever to win Oscars for both sound mixing and film editing.

Lecture #6 Slides


Chapter 29 “The Picture Edit and Pace” The Technique of Film and Video Editing: History, Theory, and Practice.

Walter Murch, 1995, In the Blink of an Eye: A perspective on Film Editing. Silman-James  Press.

Ondaatje, Michael, 2004, The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film, Knopf.


The Conversation, (1974)  Francis Ford Coppola

Excerpts from: The English Patient (2005)Anthony Minghella, Raising Arizona (1987) Coen Brothers, The  Conformist (1971) Bertolucci, In the Mood For Love (2000) Wong Kar-Wai, The Godfather II (1974) Francis Ford Coppola

Walter Much: The rule of 6

  1. Emotion: How will this cut affect the audience emotionally at this particular moment in the film?
  2. Story: Does the edit move the story forward in a meaningful way?
  3. Rhythm: Is the cut at a point that makes rhythmic sense?
  4. Eye Trace: How does the cut effect the location and movement of the audience’s focus in that particular film?
  5. Two-Dimensional Plane of Screen: Is the axis followed properly?
  6. Three-Dimensional Space: Is the cut true to established physical and spatial relationships?

Pace, Rhythm & Timing

Comic and action pacing in Raising Arizona (very low quality clip)

The complex and subtle pacing of the assassination sequence in The Conformist.

Mood and variation of pacing in Wong Kar-Wai’s In the Mood for Love (2000). This is a documentary on the film.

The Conversation (1974)

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Walter Murch on Rhythm

In Conversation with Walter Murch, Kiran Ganti

Much speaks about transitions and the role of transitions in editing.

“At the basic level, a transition is simply the process of changing from some state A to another state, B. What we should examine carefully is the degree of change, and our awareness of it. Change is happening all the time, though we are not always conscious of it. But without change there is no perception. This is somewhat of a paradox”

Walter Murch Articles

An incredible resource of articles, chapters, audio interviews and other material with Walter Murch.


This week we will look at a few different elements of editing that are a part of the tradition of storytelling. Editing devices convey meaning, as does time, rhythm and the construction of point of view.

“When to Cut” is as important as “When Not to Cut”. We will look at examples in class from a number of films.

We also review some of your work from Assignment #1.


Andrei Tarkovsky. Chapter III “Imprinted Time” in  Sculpting in Time: Tarkovsky the Great Russian Filmmaker Discusses his Art, 1989

Reshela DuPuis,  Power and Pleasure in Campion’s Piano, 1996

Christopher Llewellyn Reed,  2012, Chapter 2: “To Cut or Not To Cut” Film Editing Theory and Practice, Dulles, VA: David Pallai.

Laura Mulvey’s Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema, 1975


The Piano, 1993, Jane Campion

Excerpts from: Happiness (1999) Solondz, Rear Window (1954) Hitchcock, The Sacrifice (1989) Tarkovsky


We will go through the key terms of coverage. Know how to shoot well and cover a scene so you can edit well.

Intro to “Happiness” by Todd Solondz (1998) shows 6 shots in the scene (2shot, OTS on Joy, OTS on Andy, CU Joy, CU Andy, Insert ashtray)

POV, Eye-line Matching & The Gaze

“Cinematic codes create a gaze, a world and an object, thereby producing an illusion cut to the measure of desire.” (Laura Mulvey 1975:16)

Rear Window (1954) Hitchcock

Eyeline Matching in Rear Window

Eyeline Matching in Star Wars

Sculpting in Time

The Sacrifice (1989) Andrei Tarkovsky

Directed By, a documentary on Tarkovsky with excerpts from his book “Sculpting in Time”

A Message to Young People from Andrei Tarkovsky

A City of Sadness, 1989, Hsiao-hsien Hou


This week we look at how time is constructed through different kinds of editing: Parallel Editing, Temporal Ellipsis and Temporal Expansion.

We also watched Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind

Click below for a few links to films we watched & discussed this week.



In this way of storytelling through editing, two different pieces actions are presented in fragments cutting from one to another, implying simultaneous time.  Also sometimes called Cross-Cutting.

A few classic examples are below.

Strangers on a Train (1951), Hitchcock

The Godfather (1972)

Silence of the Lambs (1991)


Elliptical Editing refers to omitting or cutting  out part of an event to imply time has passed. This is an easy way to make an event take less screen time than it does in reality. Often dissolves are used to signify going forward in time, or flashbacks. Also Swish Pans and wipes are used to signify a series of events.

Sometimes flashbacks can be done in straight cuts. Look at this stunning example from Oldboy.


This is the opposite of Elliptical editing. In this case the editing stretches out time. This is often used in action sequences. Eisenstein used expansion in several films through overlapping editing. “In October Eisenstein overlaps several shots of rising bridges in order to stress the significance of the moment.” (Bordwell 260)

Taxi Driver (1976)

In the final scene of Taxi Driver there is a mix of slow motion, long takes and freeze frames to emphasise the drama of the situation.


What about holding onto a moment, without cutting?  TSAI Ming-Liang is one of the contemporary masters of holding shots for even upwards of 10 minutes. Many editors talk about how holding a shot can be as important as cutting, and the importance of using intuition or as Dede Allen says ‘cutting with the gut’.


TSAI comes from earlier approaches such as HOU and OZU who used formal fixed cameras and long takes to create atmosphere and time.

Stray Dogs (2013), Tsai Ming-Liang

Interview with Tsai Ming-Liang & Lee Kang-Sheng


The Birds (1963) Fire Scene