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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
    • Top 5 Books Every Editor Should Read About Editing
      EDITING

      Top 5 Books Every Editor Should Read About Editing

      May 6, 2010, 12:16 pm
      The number one thing that I get asked by my readers is "do you have any suggestions for newbie editors?" Well, yes I have many, but my most important suggestion is to read up on your theory. In my relatively short experience in the professional industry I’ve encountered many students and other indie filmmakers who know how to use the tools, but can’t figure out why their films don’t compete well with the same types of films out there using the same tools. I’ve found that most of what those generic film schools/polytechnics lack is a solid theory foundation in its curriculum. It’s one thing to know the tools (Final Cut, Avid, etc); anyone can learn to use the blade tool to cut a scene. But it’s a whole other (much more important) thing to know what to do with them. What will help to make you stand out among the thousands of other "editors" who just bought/downloaded software and learned how to use it? Knowing why you make the cuts you make.

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    • Harvey Keitel’s Editing Method
      EDITING

      Harvey Keitel’s Editing Method

      April 21, 2010, 10:58 am
      Just as there are many different forms of editing, there are also many different forms of acting. Along the same lines, certain forms of editing compliment certain kinds of acting. Harvey Keitel is a good example of someone who uses a particular form of acting (Method Acting, to be exact) where an editing style involving long takes is the most effective way to cut. He immerses himself in his character in order to actually become that character for a long period of time. Likewise, the editing has to allow the viewer to immerse his or herself into the character as well.

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    • Top 5 Edited Jesus Crucifixion Scenes
      EDITING

      Top 5 Edited Jesus Crucifixion Scenes

      April 7, 2010, 10:48 am
      Easter 2010 has come and gone. Christians all over the world spent last weekend celebrating Jesus dying on the cross and coming back three days later by hunting for Easter eggs (and hopefully not forgetting to go to church in the meantime). But Christian or not, movies about Jesus appeal to many, and regardless of whether you believe in him as a man or the son of God (or even if you don’t believe he existed at all) his story is still a great story to adapt to film.

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    • Top 5 Edited Chuck Norris Ass Kicking Scenes
      EDITING

      Top 5 Edited Chuck Norris Ass Kicking Scenes

      March 24, 2010, 10:16 am
      Periodically my husband and I find things pinned to our door by our nieces who live down the hall from us. The objects they pin up range in content from holiday decorations to 10 year old marker drawings, but some of my favourite are from what appears to be a Chuck Norris day to day tear off calendar with meditative Chuck Norris thoughts or concepts. Some of them have migrated to our fridge for the permanent collection. My personal favourite: "Before Chuck Norris was born, there were no rainbows."

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    • Top 5 Scenes Involving the Golden Gate Bridge
      EDITING

      Top 5 Scenes Involving the Golden Gate Bridge

      March 10, 2010, 10:08 am
      I grew up in San Francisco, and I still consider it my true home. Whenever I see a movie that features the city I feel my heart well up and a wave of longing hits me. Thankfully, most of my family is still there and I can go visit them when I have some extra funds. Now I live in Vancouver, which is basically the San Francisco of Canada, and it is very similar— but when I see that Golden Gate I know I’m not home unless I’m there.

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    • Top 5 Edited Zombie Feeding Frenzy Scenes
      EDITING

      Top 5 Edited Zombie Feeding Frenzy Scenes

      February 24, 2010, 8:40 am
      George A. Romero is the man responsible for truly putting a philosophical twist on the motivations behind the "Zombie" by asking the question: just <em>why</em> are they eating people? As everyone [now] knows, they don’t process nutrients or really need to feed, but instead their actions are based on pure instinct. After some deep thinking on existential zombie issues, I came to the conclusion that really, it’s all just an excuse to show the effects of the "mob mentality" by way of the undead tearing someone apart.

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    • Top 5 Edited Shakespeare Film Adaptations
      EDITING

      Top 5 Edited Shakespeare Film Adaptations

      February 10, 2010, 8:33 am
      Really, any play written for theatre is extremely hard to translate to film and make it filmic. This is especially true for particularly wordy plays, such as anything written by Shakespeare. The number one rule "show not tell" has to be creatively re-thought to make it work in order to translate to screen, and to do that is more easily said than done.

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    • Top 5 Edited Dinosaur Attacks
      EDITING

      Top 5 Edited Dinosaur Attacks

      January 27, 2010, 5:58 pm
      Every little kid goes through a dinosaur phase, and I was no exception. In fact, when Jurassic Park came out on VHS I bought that over a gameboy (I was 8 years old). In any case, meeting prehistoric creatures always gets movie crowds going, even from the very beginning of film (the first animation that could be considered a movie was Gertie the dinosaur in 1914). Special effects have come a long way since 1914 (or even 1925 when The Lost World featured stop motion dinosaur action), and consequently have brought them back from a kind of extinction. Even if only to make humans a thing of the past...

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    • Top 5 Edited Hangover Scenes in a Feature
      EDITING

      Top 5 Edited Hangover Scenes in a Feature

      January 13, 2010, 5:52 pm
      <strong>Wow.</strong> New Years, as usual, was quite a party. Unfortunately, some people ended up partying too hard, and woke up not feeling too hot the next morning. Whoops. Well, it seems fitting to showcase some exceptionally bad hangovers (from not only New Years but all other types of parties as well) as a follow up from last episode, so here we go.

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    • Top 5 (Edited) Most Awkward New Year’s Eve Patie
      EDITING

      Top 5 (Edited) Most Awkward New Year’s Eve Patie

      December 30, 2009, 12:32 pm
      New Year’s is the time to make resolutions, change your ways, and cleanse your spirit for the better. Unfortunately, everybody’s definition of "better" is different, and I’ve taken the time to outline a few examples here. The commonality is that each character decides to execute these resolutions at a New Year’s party— and what’s New Year’s without a party?

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