Friday, February 18, 2011

Clair on editing




René Clair wrote in his book Cinema Yesterday and Today:
- Editing is in fact a procedure peculiar to the cinema which has no equivalent in any other medium of expression or art form.

One day I was in a projection room with a five-year-old child who had never seen a film of any kind. On the screen, a lady was singing in a drawing room, and the succession of images was as follows:

Long Shot: The drawing room; the singer is standing near a piano. A greyhound is lying in front of the fireplace.
Close-up: The singer
Close-up: The dog watching her.
At this last image, the child uttered a cry of surprise: "Oh! Look! The lady has turned into a dog."
For a new eye, one image replacing another in a flash does in fact give the impression of a magical substitution or a lightening-like metamorphosis.

4 comments:

Persona said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Persona said...

The result of an image being replaced by another image might be peculir to cinema and have no equlivalent, because cinema is sight and editing is trickery of the eye. But the editing process is nearly identical in other forms of art, particularly music recorded in a studio, which also suffers from the digital revolution; in the old days there was two inch tape, and yes, there were times you would actually cut the tape in the process of editing a recording.

Matt said...

Yes, I did think that part he wrote was a bit too definitive. But I liked the idea of someone reacting to their first movie experience. I don't think there are many kids anywhere today who go there first five years without seeing TV or movies so it would be tough to do this test today.

Persona said...

Agreed.