Saturday, December 25, 2010

Politics and Video/Film Editing - Is Sarah Palin Going Anywhere?

Much of a candidate's narrative or "myth" is presented visually, and for that reason it's useful to become familiar with some basic film editing techniques. A Candidate's narrative is often constructed out of emotional associations. In Wikipedia's Film Editing entry, we're told:
... Editors can choose between emotional and storytelling aspects of any given film over continuity -- something that is much more abstract and harder to judge. (Which is why films often take much longer to edit than to shoot.) Emotional continuity, and the clarity of storytelling, can take precedence over "technicalities." In fact, very often something that is physically discontinuous will be completely unnoticeable if the emotional rhythm of the scene "feels" right. If you were to slow down scenes from many of your favorite movies, you could easily find many minuscule physical differences from one cut to the next, which are completely hidden by the course of the emotional events. ...
For a simple example, we're meant to believe that the Going Rogue tour bus is moving while Sarah Palin is being interviewed by Greta Van Susteren:

Is the bus moving during the interview? How do you know?
If you think the bus is moving, is it on the road actually going anywhere?
How many cuts were there? Where are the discontinuities?
Are there any sound cues? Does that bus sound like any you've ridden?
Is that a bumpy road or is someone wiggling the camera?

Wikipedia has some basic information about film editing. Some things can be learned there that may be of assistance in evaluating a candidate's narrative, even her "reality show," more effectively. The See Also section at the bottom of the Film Editing entry has links to some of the cuts commonly used by film editors. Film Editing: Great Cuts Every Filmmaker and Movie Lover Must Know is well written and illustrated with movie scenes.

But more than cuts can be used to fool people; compositing can be used to place someone where they're not. That's how the TV weather person appears to be standing in front of a weather map. And there are even more tricks available to Sarah Palin ... .

We can enjoy TV and movies, because we willingly suspend our disbelief. We shouldn't always do so.

1 comment:

Joie Vouet said...

I wasn't able to see "Sarah Palin's Alaska last night," so can't comment on the editing. More than likely, the TLC crew are pros, so doubt whatever you think you see!

Gryphen watched the show and you can see by reading his post that he wasn't fooled for a minute.