“Your Editing Lacks Continuity”… But Does It Matter ?
Jack Douglas shot ‘Your Editing Lacks Continuity‘ in 2010, and as you can guess from the self-explanatory title, he made his point visually and verbally during 2 and half minutes that are worth watching.
The text under the video says ‘Can you spot all the inconsistencies? Probably not. Yes this IS a challenge’ and the truth is, I haven’t seen many people throwing numbers.
So… can you?
Jokes aside, Jack has a point as continuity is a key element in storytelling, and I have often yelled at my screen for not having the “perfect” footage.
But part of the magic in editing lays in how and why a problem can/should be solved or ignored, because sometimes continuity is just not that important, or is less important than the point made in a scene.
If you have read Walter Murch‘s classic ‘In the Blink of an Eye: a perspective on editing‘ I am sure you are familiar with his way of prioritizing cuts:
- The Emotion
- The Story
- The Rhythm
Since I started editing and directing, it became a habit to look at the soft spots (usually the corners) in movies and TV shows, for continuity issues.
And there is almost always (at least) one.
What I came to realize is that if it bothered the “mainstream’ audience that was just there to watch a story, then it meant there was a problem with the scene in the first place.
One of the example that impacted me the most was probably the ‘You’re a funny guy‘ scene in Goodfellas.
Unfortunately the only clip I could embed has a terrible sound, so I will just have to hope you already know this scene and remember how grabbing it is.
If you watch it looking for continuity issues though, you are in for a treat: Ray Liotta and Joe Pesci were probably making a contest of who was going to grab a glass on one take and let it on the table during the next one, or maybe the script supervisor was sick and nobody paid attention to the ‘soft spots’, but it’s a festival of editing nightmares:
What I really love about this scene is that it proves how emotions and story will always prime, and having a perfectly edited movie without those two elements won’t make the cut in people’s mind either.
So if your editing lacks continuity but serves the story is solid and conveys emotions, chances are only you and the editor will be cringing during the screenings.
Your Editing Lacks Continuity via Rob The Editor