The Challenges of Editing Come and Get It
Guest article by EditStock customer Sofya Lifanova.
Working on a project Come and Get It was a very challenging and exciting process.
The film had no dialogue and the fighting sequence was one of the main highlights of the story, so I had to make sure the visuals deliver the story clearly. This is why reading the script and watching all the footage thoroughly before you start editing is essential.
Misha Adds: We include a "blocking" video in the download that lays out how the director planned the choreography.
Establishing the Characters
My main goal was to establish a relationship among the characters before the fight actually starts. If the audience does not feel any connection to any of the characters, the fight itself would have much less impact. There were a lot of little details in the material that could build up tension, support the story, and create a certain mood of the film.
- Sipping a drink
- Playing a video game
- Slapping her face
- Breaking hard drive
Misha Adds: Which of these actions tell the story best? Keep those, lose the others.
At the beginning of the film the guy in a suit is sipping on a drink and playing Tetris while the girl is nearly dying behind his back. He then slaps her face and carefully takes off his suit and folds it on a chair. These moments tell us a lot about his personality and also make us fear for the girl.
Once I have a certain chemistry established, I can introduce another character that later breaks into the room and tries to fight off the kidnapper.
The guy in a suit has been watching the building through several security cameras, so he knows what’s coming. He is hiding behind the girl and waiting for someone to open the door. I liked the subtle camera move on the shot of the door and I ended up using it a few times because it helped me slow down things a bit. I thought that a little moment of nothingness right before the fight starts would help create more confusion and suspense.
Misha Adds: Tension is built in the editing room because the editors adjusts how long actions to take to happen, or not to happen.
When I got to the fighting sequence, I wanted to make sure that it looked real and made sense to the viewers. Actors were moving very fast and constantly throwing punches at each other.
Some of the techniques that I liked to use were to speed up the punch swoosh or take out a few frames to make it look more aggressive. The choreography reference video helped me understand the positioning of the actors within the scene.
Speed Ramping Action Sequences:
- Slow motion shots can be sped up to regular speed.
- Slow motion can be ramped without a cut, start slow end fast.
- The middle of a shot can be speed ramped.
Usually I would pick my favourite take and use it as my master shot in order to have the right timing and continuity. Depending on what I wanted to show, I would change angles accordingly or use cutaways. I loved all the slow motion footage, but I had to restrict myself in using too much of it, otherwise it would lose its value. Saving the slow motion footage only for certain parts of the stunts helped me make the fighting sequence more powerful and surprising.
Lastly, at some point in a movie the girl is supposed to wake up and defeat the guy in a suit. It is up to the editor to decide when we will show this moment to the audience. With the help of the feedback from Editstock, I was able to add more surprise to that moment by “waking up” the girl a bit later than I originally intended.
Feedback was one of my favourite Editstock features. Although I have learnt a lot by assembling this film, most of the learning curve came from the notes that I was given after each upload. It also gave me the ability to be more flexible to tell a story in a different and a better way.