As we saw in the discussion of the camera's mediation, the duration
of a shot starts to indicate one of many roles that editing performs.
Example from Do the Right Thing:
Camera Pan in a confrontation between Mookie and Sal vs. editing later
on in the confrontation between Sal and Radio Raheem/Buggin Out.
What these points demonstrate is that more is at stake in editing than
simply "joining together shots". That editing functions so closely
with other elements of cinematic expression (camera's mediation and mise-en-scene,
for example) that making distinctions between elements can be difficult.
As a result, editing needs to be conceived of in a broader manner.
This is the value of Bordwell and Thompson's discussion of editing.
Analysis of the dream sequence in STNG demonstrates that the same kind
of problems of distinguishing between elements can occur in the relationship
between editing and mise-en-scene: at what point is it a matter of
placing and setting and at what point is it editing.
Examples: The bird wing turning into
the crow, Data finding himself on the deck, Data finding himself on a bed
on the deck.
DEFINITION: Bordwell and Thompson
define editing as the coordination of one shot with the next.
This definition expands the concept of editing beyond the joining of the
two shots to encompass all the dimensions at stake there.
It looks beyond the transition between shots--fade, dissolve, wipe,
or cut--to look at their total relationship. Transitions are conceived
only as time cues.
The problem with Bordwell & Thompson's discussion of editing, however,
is that they (again) skew a conceptual discussion in terms of the film-maker's
control. The result is that they sacrifice the richness and
scope of the issues here, as well as distorting the accuracy of their arguments.
B&T argue that graphic and rythmic relations are present in every shot,
but that temporal and spatial dimensions may be irrelevant.
This discussion will show that it is far more conceptually accurate to
argue that every dimension is present in every relation between shots,
but one dominates or regulates the relations--not unlike the relationship
between elements in mise-en-scene or camera framing.
THE FOUR DIMENSIONS OF EDITING
Spatial Editing: Definition: Spatial
editing is when the relations between shots function to construct film
establishes a whole and separates it into parts OR
establishes parts to create a whole.
Example: The opening to DTRT shows
radio studio, Da Mayor's apartment, Smiley on the street, and Mookie in
his room. Parts construct a whole neighborhood.
allows the film to relate any two points in space through similarity, difference,
Temporal Editing: Definition: Temporal
editing is when the relations between shots function to control time.
works to convey the order, duration, or frequency of events.
order: the temporal succession of events.
Example: DTRT starts at point
A then goes forward to B, C, D. No flash-backs or flash-forwards.
duration: the relationship between screen-time and story time--editing
can compress time through ellipsis, or expand time through overlapping.
Example: Mayor opening a
beer is an example of ellipsis. Expansion occurs during the choking of
Sal (the fight) but not through over-lapping editing. Rather it occurs
through cutting to different reactions to the action.
frequency: the amount of times an event occurs-- a singular take or repetition
of actions through multiple shots.
Example: Repetition of actions
occurs during the pizza delivery to Tina's apartment and of the garbage
can through the window.
Definition: Rythmic editing is when the relations between shots function
to control film pace.
a shot's physical length corresponds to a measurable duration.
rythmic function occurs when several shot lengths form a discernable pattern.
equal length will create a steady metrical beat
lengthening shots can generate a gradually slowing tempo
successively shorter shots can create an accelerated tempo.
The confrontation and fight scene in the pizzeria
does not follow some simple rhythmic pattern in terms of the lengths of
shots getting shorter the closer it gets to the eruption of violence.
Once violence commences, overall the length of shots is shorter, but even
here there are exceptions--most notably the long pause after Sal breaks
Definition: the comparison of purely pictorial qualities from shot to shot
independent of space and time.
compares patterns of light and dark, line and shape, volumes and depths,
movement and stasis.
graphic editing can achieve smooth continuity or abrupt contrast
The opening of the film with Rosie Perez dancing in different costumes
and in different settings, the cut to the boxers on the wall during the
pizzeria fight, and the scene of racial taunting.