Editing video essay

Editing is one of the most important parts of filmmaking. Ironically, when this integral element of quality filmmaking is working, you won’t even notice it. An editor should be cutting the movie without intruding on the audience, and it should be guided by the story, calling attention to exactly what you want the audience to see, when you want them to see it.

Now a video essay called Editing: Creating the Oh F**k Moment brings our attention to an editing technique that effectively walks the audience through the film without intruding on what they’re looking at, or rather, what the director wants them to be looking at. Read More »


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Non-traditional aspect ratios - Lucifer

The aspect ratio of any given movie literally frames our experience of the entire work. Whereas real-life exists in 360 degrees in all directions, filmmakers must make very conscious decisions about what to put inside that box, what to exclude from it, and how to present it all to the audience.

For the most part, movies stick to a few standard widescreen aspect ratios, or, if the filmmaker is feeling a bit daring, the less common 4:3 aspect ratio. (For example, Fish Tank and Ida.) But one video essay argues there’s been a rise in experimentation with non-traditional aspect ratios, including films that change proportions mid-scene (i.e., Tom at the Farm or Life of Pi) or reject the idea of a rectangular frame altogether (Gust Van den Berghe’s Lucifer). Watch and learn after the jump.  Read More »

History of Color Movies

Though traditionally motion pictures are presented in color, the art of filmmaking didn’t always have the advantage of telling stories with the same visual spectrum that the human eye sees the world. Early films were only available in black and white, and even after color started being used in Hollywood, it took quite awhile before black and white wasn’t the norm.

A new video essay dives into the history of color movies and also illustrates how important it is to storytelling by conveying feelings, describing characters, influencing tone and much more. Because we see color everyday, we might just take for granted how it can be used to do more than just make something look pretty. Read More »

Escape from New York visual symmetry

Recently we highlighted a couple of videos that dove into the visual symmetry between the original Star Wars trilogy and the more recent prequel trilogy and also the original Indiana Jones trilogy and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

Now the editor of those videos is taking a look at some darker and grittier fare by showing the Escape from New York visual symmetry compared the 1996 sequel Escape from LA, both films from legendary director John Carpenter. Read More »

Michael Bay

A couple video essays hit the web today that I wanted to share, one having to do with why a lot of action scenes “suck” and the other making the argument that you should respect Transformers series director Michael Bay.

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Dolly Zoom Shot

Though you may not know it by name, you’ve undoubtedly seen the dolly zoom (or push pull) shot used in countless movies. It’s the shot that looks like it’s zooming in on something while everything else in the background seems to be getting farther away.

Don’t worry if you can’t picture what this shot looks like on screen, because a new video essay from Vashi Visuals takes a look at 23 versions of the shot throughout the history of cinema. And thankfully, he begins with Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, the film that made the dolly zoom shot famous. Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

Everything is a Remix Remastered

A few years ago, we featured some segments from a little video series called Everything is a Remix, a video essay of sorts that showed movie lovers that Quentin Tarantino isn’t the only filmmaker who steals stuff from other movies to make new films. In fact, every single artist, whether they’re authors, musicians or filmmakers, have borrowed something old to make something new.

It’s actually been five years since Kirby Ferguson began this video series examining how the entertainment world has been remixing and repurposing familiar stories, characters, images and more for years. So for the fifth anniversary of his insightful endeavor, Ferguson has delivered Everything is a Remix Remastered, assembling all four parts of his exploration of the repetitive nature of entertainment into one high-definition video. Read More »

The Visit trailer

I was skeptical but hopeful when I first heard about M. Night Shyamalan’s new low-budget found-footage film, The Visit. With The Happening, After Earth, and The Last Airbender, Shyamalan has demonstrated not only a decline in his ability to draw big box office, but also an inability to write or direct basic scenes competently.

But with The Visit, Shyamalan not only proves he still he has the skills to thrill us — he also knows how to mine absurd and horrifying situations for humor and humanity. Watch my full video review of the film after the break.
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Star Wars Poetry

In the months leading up to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, there’s been some renewed bashing of the prequels, mostly because they feel so far removed from the original trilogy. From the visual effects to the storytelling, there’s just something about the prequels that feels off.

However, by using clips from the original trilogy and the prequels compared to each other and played simultaneously, a new video called Star Wars Poetry shows how the prequels share more similarities with the original trilogy than you might think. Specifically, between the two trilogies, visual symmetry becomes apparent and even impressive. Read More »