‘Star Wars’ and the Power of Editing

By  · Published on April 24th, 2017

Subtle and impactful techniques from a galaxy far, far away.

We’ve talked before in these virtual pages about how important editing is to powerful filmic storytelling, how it is just as vital as cinematography at conveying unspoken emotions and progressions of plot. Good editing can make a film as surely as poor editing can break it, and if you don’t believe me, check this out:

Notice how clunky and confusing the scene is, each cut blink-and-you-miss-it and seemingly coming unattached to anything before or after it. The result is a blur of action with no real coherence to it, the scene is just a melee of grunts and clanging metal. If only the filmmakers of Doomsday had seen the following handy and brief video from StudioBinder that reveals three simple editing tricks as used in The Empire Strikes Back: character eye contact, shot length, and shot pacing.

Each of these basically boils down to their ability to convey emotion, the former through expression, the second by how long the camera holds on a reaction, and the latter by how the progression of shots establishes a scene’s rhythm. They are simple techniques to be sure, but as the video reveals, they are also impactful and essential to resonant storytelling.

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