In the entrepreneurial world, amateur video making lacks post-production. Most entrepreneurs shoot and post. Even Facebook lives allow limited editing for videos over 5 minutes. Unfortunately, that is so limited that it doesn’t allow for crafting a story through the sculpture of editing. Walter Murch, Academy Award-winning film editor, and sound design theorized how films should be edited to craft a compelling, engaging, and entertaining film, The Rule of Six.
Post-production is essential because we will craft the shots into a story and the narrative arch comes to life. In this article, we will focus on his Rule of Six and how it guides us in deciding what to cut in film editing, and you will learn how to make the decisions on what to keep and what to left of the cutting room floor. So yes, some of your precious shots will not and should not make it into the final product.
In his book, In The Blink Of An Eye, he describes his editing process. Walter Murch’s Rule of
Six outlines the six elements in which a film needs to be cut in order for it to be compelling and entertaining. The six elements for the ideal cut are Emotion, Story, Rhythm, Eye Trace, 2D Plane of the Frame, and the 3D space of the action.
Throughout his career, he drew a correlation between the cuts he was making and how his eyes blinked, and how his brain edited the images he was taking into his physical body. “Our daily lives are filled with cuts. When we blink our eyes, that is equivalent to a cut in a film. From when we wake until we go to sleep at the end of the day, our visual reality is a continuous stream of linked images. For all of the existence of human’s we have experienced this, and at the beginning of the 20th century, we are confronted with the edited film.” (Murch)
It is the blink of the eye that is an indication of the rhythm of the sequence. The blinking of the character’s eye indicates his emotional state and is a point of the film’s rhythm. When you are thinking a series of thoughts related to the message you are conveying, the blink of your eye reveals the emotional state and will naturally move in the rhythm of your emotions. These are “blink points” and will show you the natural placement of the cut points.
There are three problems wrapping up together:
- Identifying a series of potential cut points
(and comparisons with the blink can help you do this),
- Determining what effect each cut point will have on the audience, and
- Choosing which of those effects is the correct one for the film.
Walter Murch’s thoughts on film editing. “It is frequently at the edges of things that we learn most about the middle: ice and steam can reveal more about the nature of water that water
René Estes, The Video Mentor® Reneestes.com Team@videomentor.org