Video Essay Action Movies

In a strange way, the art of editing is the art of going unnoticed. Of course, it’s much, much more than just that, but the primary objective of film editing is to piece together hundreds of shots and scenes into a cohesive and compelling whole. To do this, cuts and transitions between scenes can’t call too much attention to themselves, lest the suspension of disbelief shatter under the weight of the present artifice. Even with its own Oscar category (Margaret Sixel took home the trophy this year for her work on “Mad Max: Fury Road”) it’s a shamefully overlooked art.

READ MORE: Watch: 8-Minute Video Essay Explains How “Oh F*ck” Film Moments Are Created Through Editing

To break down some of the finer points of cuts and transitions RocketJump Film School (via A.V. Club) has put together a great new video essay. The video starts with the basics, like cutting on action, the cut away, and the cross cut; the things that make up the bulk of most films, the majority of which go completely unnoticed and help to make scenes, actions, and conversations seamless. From there, it dives into more stylistic cuts, techniques that help to build tension, pass time, shift focus, and move the plot. Of course, no single cut or transition can carry a film, and the best scenes and movies use a variety of them in tandem.

For budding filmmakers, “Cuts & Transitions 101” is a necessary breakdown of the essentials of editing. For cinephiles, it serves as a great reminder of just how much time, thought, and effort goes into every aspect of a film — even the ones we’re not even meant to notice.

Check out “Cuts & Transitions 101” below and weigh in with your favorite editing work in the comments below.

From shaky cam to unimaginative reboots to endless sequels and just plain bad movies, there are no shortage of culprits when it comes to the pretty woeful state of contemporary action movies. Sure, there are recent exceptions — “The Raid” flicks, “John Wick” — but for the most part, template-driven blockbuster entertainment has resulted in spectacles that are increasingly familiar and far less exciting. But the issues with these movies go much further.

In an extensive, well-thought-out, twenty-minute video essay, Chris Stuckmann explores the various problems facing the action movie genre today. From heroes that are so invincible we never fear for their peril, storylines that don’t spark immediate tension, and sequences poorly shot and edited to the point of incomprehensibility, it would appear Hollywood has lost its way when it comes to original, exciting thrill rides. 

So check it out below, and be sure to share your thoughts on how the action movie genre can be refreshed. [via Reddit]

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