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Still Pictures and QuickTime Movies > Still Pictures and QuickTime Movies - Pg. 269

In action sequences, you might prefer quick cutting, where each clip in your Movie Track is only a second or two long. In softer, more peaceful scenes, longer shots may set the mood more effectively. Establishing shots As noted in Chapter 2, almost every scene of every movie and every TV show--even the nightly news--begins with an establishing shot: a long-range, zoomed-out shot that shows the audience where the action is about to take place. Now that you know something about flm theory, you'll begin to notice how often TV and movie scenes begin with an establishing shot. It gives the audience a feel- ing of being there, and helps them understand the context for the medium shots or closeups that follow. Furthermore, after a long series of closeups, consider showing another wide shot, to remind the audience of where the characters are and what the world around them looks like. As with every flm editing guideline, this one is occasionally worth violating in special circumstances. For example, in comedies, a new scene may begin with a closeup instead of an establishing shot, so that the camera can then pull back to make the establish- ing shot the joke. (For example, closeup on main character looking uncomfortable; camera pulls back and fips over to reveal that we were looking at him upside down as he hangs, tied by his feet, over a pit of alligators.) In general, however, setting up any new scene with an establishing shot is the smart, and polite, thing to do for your audience's beneft. Cutaways and Cut-ins Also as described in Chapter 2, cutaways and cut-ins are extremely common and ef- fective editing techniques. Not only do they add some variety to the movie, but they let you conceal enormous editing shenanigans. By the time your movie resumes after the cutaway shot, you can have deleted enormous amounts of material, switched to a different take of the same scene, and so on. Figure 10-1 shows the idea. The cut-in is similar, but instead of showing a different person or a reaction shot, it usually features a closeup of what the speaker is holding or talking about--a very common technique in training tapes and cooking shows. Reaction shots One of the most common sequences in Hollywood history is a three-shot sequence that goes like this (Figure 10-1 again): First, we see the character looking off screen; then we see what he's looking at (a cutaway shot); then we see him again so that we can read his reaction. This sequence is repeated so frequently in commercial movies that you can feel it coming the moment the performer looks off the screen. From the editor's standpoint, of course, the beauty of the three-shot reaction shot is that the middle shot can be anything from anywhere. That is, it can be footage shot on another day in another part of the world, or even from a different movie entirely. The ritual of character/action/reaction is so ingrained in our brains that the audience believes the actor was looking at the action, no matter what. chapter10:professionaleditingtechniques Popular Editing Techniques 269