What is POST-CLASSICAL EDITING? What does POST-CLASSICAL EDITING mean? POST-CLASSICAL EDITING meaning – POST-CLASSICAL EDITING definition – POST-CLASSICAL EDITING explanation.
Source: Wikipedia.org article, adapted under license.
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Film editor Zach Staenberg states “what makes a movie is the editing”. It was not until the invention of editing that film and cinema was allowed to take off. Film is the product of editing, so it is not something that goes unnoticed. Editing has gone through different stages and has now reached a technique called post-classical editing. It is a style of editing characterized by shorter shot lengths, faster cuts between shots, and containing more jump shots and close-ups than classical editing characteristic of films prior to the 1960s.
Prior to “post-classical editing” came classical editing. The first filmmakers merely filmed anything of interest or anything that amused them, continuing the shot until they got tired of it, or the film ran out. Edwin Porter, an employee of Thomas Edison discovered that by cutting shots together he was able to create a story. Later, D.W. Griffith further advanced the story telling tools Porter had developed. Griffith invented and popularized techniques that went on to define the basic grammar and narrative format of film. One of the techniques Griffith used in film that went on to impact film editing style is the invisible cut. The point of the invisible cut is to mask every cut, so the audience could forget they were watching a movie, and fully immerse themselves in the film. Invisible cuts are accomplished by matching the motion and making the switch between shots so smooth, making it look like one fluid motion, even if there is a change of shot composition. The Russian revolution started a film editing revolution as well. Melodrama films were disappearing and films that better represented real life were emerging. Propaganda films began to emerge. Certain cuts were used to foster a specific psychological and emotional affect from the audience members. These films, unlike the films of D.W. Griffith and others that embraced the invisible edit ideology, were constantly reminding the audience that they are in fact watching a movie. It was not long before American cinema began to absorb this style of montage.
David Bordwell states, since 1960, US studio filmmaking has entered a “post classical” period, and that although it is argued this so-called “post-classical” period changed cinema to an incoherent narrative, films today still generally abide by the same principles as classical filmmaking. This post-classical style of editing, sometimes referred to as the “MTV Style” of video editing,which has become the visual language of American culture, is a way to edit using fast paced, very quick cuts between shots. Since the 1930s, the average shot length in feature films has decreased from 8–11 seconds to 4.3-4.9 seconds. In the 1970s, average shot length was between 5 and 8 seconds for feature films, dramas, musicals, romance while comedies often contained shorter ASLs. In the 1980s, average shot lengths (ASL) in the double digit range virtually disappeared from feature films. Movies such as Top Gun, and Pink Floyd: The Wall (which were influenced by music videos) demonstrated ASLs from 3–4 seconds. Prior to 2006, this fast cut editing was most prevalently seen in fast paced action movies such as Michael Bay’s Armageddon (1998 film) and Pearl Harbor (film) (2001), although they could be found (less often) in other genres of film as well. Editors who had once labored to preserve the illusion of continuous time and space were now fracturing time at space at will. These decreased shot lengths, and jump cuts led not only to a new visual style, but a new generation of narrative, a new style of storytelling.