162MC Edit; The Man Inside, French New Wave

This is my final edit of our short film The Man Inside, in the style of French New Wave;

The Man Inside French new wave, Natasha Harmer from Natasha Harmer on Vimeo.


Screen Shot 2013-02-19 at 17.08.36I watched ‘Breathless’ and researched editing styles of French New Wave before editing my version of the film, through doing this and documenting the research I was able to make a note of the types of editing that were used and when/how they were used. In ‘Breathless’ I identified three main transitions that I incorporated in my final edit; fade, jump cut and iris wipe. I managed to include all three, taking into account when in the film they would be used and to what effect. There’s a definite difference between my final edit and my initial rough cut, and watching ‘Breathless’ instead of just reading up on French new wave and watching clips helped me to better understand the editing style.

I downloaded a font reminiscent of 60’s France for my titles, similar to titles in other French new wave films. In doing this I think Screen Shot 2013-02-19 at 17.09.03the piece feels more like a French new wave film, I also thought about the music and chose tracks again reminiscent of the time period in which French new wave films were made. Some of the music is from ‘Breathless’, the opening track I found while searching online. The use of music and titles is important and I think I’ve successfully given it a French new wave feel.

Jump cuts are used quite regularly in French new wave, both to cut from scene to scene but also to break up long takes of dialogue. I tried to use both, but keep them subtle and only use them when they work. My rough cut had a lot more jump cuts in than my final edit, after watching ‘Breathless’ I found that the cuts to break up long takes weren’t used that often. Unlike my rough cut, for the final I put together a full edit, watched it through and made cuts where it felt right. I also included fade transitions to show that time had passed instead of using titles, and I used an iris wipe to indicate a new ‘chapter’ or part of the film like ‘Breathless’ did.

Screen Shot 2013-02-19 at 17.09.31I like the use of music and titles the most in my final edit, I think they give the piece an authentic new wave feel. Luckily our film and footage allowed for quite a few long takes which are common in French new wave films so the piece lent itself to the editing style nicely. It would look perhaps slightly better if it was more grainy and ‘old’ looking, as French new wave films were made in the 60’s.

The hardest part about this task was learning about a whole new style of film. I hadn’t even heard of French new wave before this module let alone watched one, so it was challenging. They aren’t the sorts of films I would choose to watch for entertainment so sitting through a whole French new wave film was also quite difficult, although because I was focusing on the editing and using it as research it was quite interesting.

I’m happy with the final edit, I think it looks quite ‘new wave’ and I used editing techniques that I saw in ‘Breathless’ pretty successfully. I think my research was thorough and it definitely helped me to make an informed final edit. Learning a new style of film, and then learning how to edit in that style was challenging, and it took a long time to get the edit right but I think the final thing looks good. I’d like to edit it to look older, and more reminiscent of 60’s new wave films but then again that’s not an editing technique of French new wave it’s just because they were filmed in the 60’s and technology’s moved on since then! The subject and footage does look quite out of place with the old fashioned music and editing style though, and it looks a bit weird but I think I did a reasonable job of Screen Shot 2013-02-19 at 17.09.47making it look and feel like French new wave.

The iris wipe isn’t a technique I would usually use, I find transitions other than jump cuts or fades in films to look tacky. I’m not convinced that it works, because the edge of the circle is too crisp. I think it would look better if it was slightly blurred instead. It’s a bit jarring and also moves too fast, so if I was to edit it again I would try and change that particular transition. Fades might be used too often as well in my edit, they felt right where I put them because I wanted to use them to show that time had passed but there seems to be quite a lot of them, while ‘Breathless’ a 90 minute film only used fades about six times. I like the jump cuts that break up long takes, originally Godard used them in ‘Breathless’ because he was told the film was too long, so he cut chunks out to shorten the duration, so I found I could be quite abstract and also quite ruthless when it came to cutting parts of takes out, it’s also a good technique for manipulating dialogue, and I cut out a few of the bits of dialogue that didn’t make complete sense.

Screen Shot 2013-02-19 at 17.09.54It seemed a shame to edit the film in an editing style like French new wave because as a group we were really happy with the film and wanted to edit it normally, and having toiled over it for hours researching editing styles and watching old films that I would usually avoid I’m pretty sick of it now! Overall though I think it went well, the film itself is pretty good and we’re all proud of it, and I feel quite confident with the edit and I think it feels and looks like French new wave.

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