Crafting the Scene

Taught by Liz Tate

Course Number:
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Original Run Date:
April 2010 
6 hours 28 minutes 
This course examines the editing techniques and theories utilized to create different types of scenes. The course will break down editing structure by both studying excerpts from films, as well as cutting together examples in class. The course will center on theory as well as technique, and students will be offered two projects to complete. While we will focus more on commercial production, the theories learned will apply to editing in all mediums, be it long format, short format, or interactive pieces.

Leading the course is Liz Tate, returning to fxphd after requests from members who took her first offering. A veteran commercial editor, Tate has worked on accounts such as American Express, Philip Morris, Southwest Airlines, Bally, and Crate&Barrel. Tate began her career at Avenue Edit in Chicago, where she worked for 20 years. She now is a co-owner of Hootenanny editorial, which was founded in 2008 with partner Jim Annerino.
Crafting the Scene
Watch our overview of the course

Class Listing

Class 1

We focus on the conventions of editing: continuity, assembly,intercutting, jump cuts, match cuts, and mise-en-scene.

Class 2

The comedy scene is dissected, as shown through movie examples and the cutting of two comedy spots. Pacing, performance, setting up the joke, and reaction shots are discussed.

Class 3

The drama scene has many challenges: pacing, character development, and story telling. We give you concrete pointers on how to address each of these elements. The work of editor Dede Allen is discussed. Project 1 for students is handed out.

Class 4

The problem scene. We discuss the problem solving involved when your footage is lacking the shots you need. We interview an editor of an independent film to find out what problems he had, and what his solutions were to fix them. Dialogue replacement, creating alternate focal lengths, and sound problems are discussed, as well as when a reshoot is warranted.

Class 5

We look at how to build suspense up to a pivotal moment. How does the order, content and composition of shots create tension? The use of music, pov shots, and setup scenes are examined.

Class 6

Project 1 review: Students’ first project is critiqued. Project 2 is handed out.

Class 7

The compositing scene: What is an editor’s role when you are cutting a visual effects scene? We edit a vfx scene together, including compositing the rough scene in After Effects. Discussion of the pre-production process, as well as how to prep for the final compositing.

Class 8

The action scene: We examine what goes in to creating an arresting action sequence. We edit a fast-paced scene, complete with sound design, and discuss the role of sound in the editorial process.

Class 9

The lyrical scene: The lyrical scene shows up in many mediums: music video, brand commercials, a montage in a film. It can be simply eye-candy, or tell a story. We center in on creating scenes that have a structure through thematic themes, composition, or pacing. Music editing is also discussed, with some tips on how to edit a track to specific length.

Class 10

Assignment 2 submissions are reviewed.