Video Essay: Editing And The "Oh F**k" Moment On Film

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.

Here's Editing: Creating the Oh F**k Moment from RocketJump Film School (via The Playlist):

Some of the examples of the "oh f**k" moment don't seem to line up with how bombastic of a name this technique has been given by the video creator, but that doesn't make the explanation of how good the editing is in some of these scenes any less educational.

Using examples from movies like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Reservoir Dogs, Jaws, Psycho and more, we see how effective the cut from a wide shot to a close-up can be, creating the "oh f**k" moment when the audience is thrown into some kind of intense or suspenseful moment.

Most importantly, this shows who how seamless directing, editing and cinematography must be in order to keep the audience involved in the movie. Just look at the way the camera moves and the film cuts in these examples. It's flawless and propelled by the story. That's what you call good filmmaking.

On a side note, this video essay makes me reflect on why movies like Birdman and Gravity are so mind-blowing and great without the constant use of dramatic cuts like this to drive the movie. They create their tension and suspense in other ways.

Anyway, one of the best skills you can develop that will help you become a good director is to be a good editor, and this is just one of the many techniques that some of the best filmmakers use masterfully.