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  • Top 5 Magical Moments in a Harry Potter Film

    Top 5 Magical Moments in a Harry Potter Film

    September 8, 2010, 4:26 pm
    One of my colleagues is off helping to turn Harry Potter 7 (Part 1) into 3D, and needless to say it made me want to have a Harry Potter marathon. So, thanks to this blog I’m able to find a better excuse to indulge my movie watching cravings... At the same time, we can look at the popular movies to see if we can learn reasons why they are so popular, and why the craft of editing helps to make viewers escape from reality and believe in magic (among other things). For the Harry Potter series in particular, I find that a certain kind of pacing is a strong theme that is used successfully.

    Top 5 Magical Moments in a Harry Potter Film

    Criteria:
    -Magical moments includes: Duels, battles fought with wands, and involves humans (or human-like creatures)
    -Maximum wand involvement encouraged
    -Tension and action are both explored through pace and rhythm
    Top 5 Magical Moments in a Harry Potter Film
    5. Harry Potter 3: The Prisoner of Azkaban, Full out Dementor attack 1
    The scene to which I’m referring is when Harry is facing a plethora of Dementors trying to save Sirius at the waters edge (the first time). Here the pacing is almost dreamlike, as Harry is trying to figure out how on earth he’s going to get out of this one but losing energy fast. The movements of the shots are fluid and the cutting rhythm fits both the time and the movement very smoothly.
    Top 5 Magical Moments in a Harry Potter Film
    4. Harry Potter 2: The Chamber of Secrets A Lesson in Dueling
    Here Harry and Draco are about to duel, under the supervision of two professors and the rest of the class as an audience. The pace switches from quick action cuts suddenly to slow and suspenseful as the snake appears and Harry begins to speak a foreign snake-tongue. Contrary to what one might think, the sudden change to a slow pace actually makes the scene tenser and creepier than it would have been had the original cutting pace been different. Along with this clever use of rhythm, is an almost picture-perfect shape montage— I could literally draw out the eye movement onscreen.
    Top 5 Magical Moments in a Harry Potter Film
    3. Harry Potter 4: The Goblet of Fire Harry vs. Voldemort
    The rhythm in this scene is awesome, almost to the point of epic. And even though I’m not thrilled with the take choices of Harry before the duel (in my opinion his screams of pain feel a little contrived), during the duel we are drawn in and find ourselves connecting with not only Harry but also the dead characters coming out from his wand. The pacing suddenly has a quick burst of action as he breaks free, runs to Cedric’s dead body, and calls the portkey to him, bringing us viewers to a tight place. Our release comes in the form of probably one of the most powerful moments in the whole series, probably because for once the drama is downplayed and not about Harry. Without fail, this pacing release also evokes a strong emotional release (for me it’s tears... yeah I know, but I lose it every time someone loses a child in a movie, even if we weren’t particularly connected to the character. Must be my inner motherly instinct). In any case, this scene is a great example of using pacing to draw us in slowly, amp it up with a quick burst of tension and a powerful release.
    Top 5 Magical Moments in a Harry Potter Film
    2. Harry Potter 6: The Half Blood Prince Sectumsempura
    When Harry confronts Draco in the washroom, a small but bloody battle ensues. The way it was shot and edited is unique for the series, and probably the darkest and most realistic scene so far. There the pacing is slow and suspenseful, but goes into a sudden quick burst as someone commands a spell. As the spell hits, all is quiet and slow again. Conceptually this kind of rhythm works for the scene because Harry doesn’t realize just how horrible the spell he casts at the end is, and without the pacing as it is we the viewers might not have absorbed the full impact of that ...horrible-ness. This one was a close 1st for my list.
    Top 5 Magical Moments in a Harry Potter Film
    1. Harry Potter 5: The Order of the Phoenix Dumbledore vs. Voldemort
    As much as I would’ve liked to put the last scene first, I have to admit that this scene really is, technically speaking, more impressive due to the heavy visual effects. The pacing is smooth and ominous in the right places, as well as quick and exciting during moments of action/destruction/spell casting. Really, the best way to describe the scene is epic. And no, it’s not just because of the awesome casting choices for Dumbledore and Voldemort (though that is definitely a factor)— it’s thanks more to a particular and great use of cutting rhythm.

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  • Other Postings By Member
    • Light Sabre Battles! (v)
      EDITING

      Light Sabre Battles! (v)

      January 18, 2012, 3:00 pm
      As an interesting note, it was conveniently blocked by FOX just as the internet is on blackout strike today in solidarity against SOPA. American friends, please be aware that if SOPA passes, videos like this where I attempt to teach about film editing in a fun way will not be available anymore, even if I am in compliance with the Fair Use clause— in fact, I could be shut down, fined, and/or jailed without due process. If you like the internet and the ability to find information freely and easily, please educate yourself about this bill, and do whatever you can to stop it from passing!

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    • Top 5 Marx Brothers Films
      EDITING

      Top 5 Marx Brothers Films

      January 4, 2012, 1:19 pm
      First EDL of the new year up! Marx brothers, see? nyaah!

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    • Top 5 Moment of Despair Scenes in a Xmas film (v)
      EDITING

      Top 5 Moment of Despair Scenes in a Xmas film (v)

      December 14, 2011, 4:44 pm
      Have a video version of my very first Christmas blog, the best edited Moments of Despair in a Christmas film!

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    • Top 5 Scenes With a Steam Engine
      EDITING

      Top 5 Scenes With a Steam Engine

      November 30, 2011, 11:29 am
      Check out this week's EDL, featuring the top 5 edited scenes with steam engines!

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    • Top 5 Edited Dinosaur Attack Scenes!
      EDITING

      Top 5 Edited Dinosaur Attack Scenes!

      November 16, 2011, 1:28 pm
      I know I've covered this one in the past, but with the new video format I feel like I can really do some of previous written blogs justice. This one especially!

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    • Top 5 Scenes on a Mountaintop
      EDITING

      Top 5 Scenes on a Mountaintop

      November 3, 2011, 1:54 pm
      Vlog number 3! Scenes on a mountain. See my epic climbing skills (not)...

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    • Top five scenes in a Mad Max film!
      EDITING

      Top five scenes in a Mad Max film!

      October 19, 2011, 1:19 pm
      In Vlog number 2 of the Edit Decision List, I look at the best edited scenes in a Mad Max Movie, as well as manage to completely butcher an Australian accent.

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    • Top 5 Edited Die Hard Scenes
      EDITING

      Top 5 Edited Die Hard Scenes

      October 5, 2011, 12:07 pm
      My very first vlog covers the top 5 scenes in a Die Hard movie!

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    • Top 5 edited scenes in Metropolis
      EDITING

      Top 5 edited scenes in Metropolis

      September 21, 2011, 4:25 pm
      Metropolis is one of the most influential science fiction films of all time, and it's obvious that the editing has a lot to do with it. The expressive nature of the acting is superbly juxtaposed with epically framed shots in such a way that story isn't only easy to follow, but really fun to watch!

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    • Top 5 Back to the Future Scenes
      EDITING

      Top 5 Back to the Future Scenes

      September 7, 2011, 12:16 pm
      Great scott! I must've blown a hole in the space-time continuum with my 1.21 "Jiggawatt" blog entry…

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