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Chapter Three. Editing Patterns > Editing Action Sequences

Editing Action Sequences

Any narrative sequence that is not a dialogue sequence is an action sequence. An action sequence can be as simple as a single person walking down a hallway—or as complex as a huge war scene, with people running in all directions and multiple events going on simultaneously. In either case, the basic rules are fairly simple.

At its simplest, action is movement, and in general, the more movement in a shot, the more exciting it is. This has been taken to an extreme in popular action films, where almost every shot is filled with moving objects; indeed, the basic premise of some films involves a fast-moving vehicle like a helicopter, bus, or train. To raise the excitement level even more, many action films employ shots where the camera seems to fly through the air with dizzying speed, moving along with a bullet, an arrow, or a falling bomb.


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