Chapter 8

Editing Practice 2


According to a well-established definition in the German dictionary ‘Duden’, the term ‘rhythm’ is of Greek origin and describes a periodic recurrence, a regulated change; a measurement of time, regularity and harmony, a structure in time.

Whenever people talk about the way a film is edited, there is a remark about its rhythm. So, what is rhythm of editing? The rhythm of music we all know, but what is meant by ‘rhythm of editing’?

To help describing rhythm of editing, a comparison to the human organism is often used. People say that breath, heartbeat or eyes' blinking is reflected by a sequence edited with a certain rhythm. These time units are very basic and physical, and in harmony with nature. The use of these terms signifies the importance of the rhythm of editing.

When applying this idea to moving pictures, we could say that similar shots should be of similar length in order to create an even rhythm. For instance, Close Ups in our example of a dialogue scene have a length of about 2.5 seconds each. If the storyline does not demand it, it can be irritating and certainly disrupt the feeling of rhythm, if the shot length suddenly changes to four, five or just one second. This is just as obvious when editing landscapes. Similar shot sizes have similar lengths...