A short student film trying to follow the 180 degree rule, shooting for
continuity, including cut-away shots.
Conversations, and for that matter any interaction between characters, will usually also require an eye-line match in order to maintain continuity between edits. It character A is in a chair looking up at character B who is standing, when we cut to a close up of character A she/he should still be looking up, even if character B is out of shot –and vice versa for a close up of character B. In other words, the direction of a character’s gaze needs to be matched to the position of the object they are looking at.
Match on Action
Another form of edit that provides additional information about an event is a match on action. Here the edit brings together two shots from different angles or shot sizes of the same action being completed. Again this gives us a slightly different perspective on an action and can often provide us with more detail through the use of a close up. We see a hand raise a gun –next we see an extreme close up of a finger pulling the trigger.
A cutaway shot may be edited into a scene. This type of shot is not directly related to the action taking place but it has an indirect link. We may see two people having a conversation in an apartment and, while we still hear their dialogue, for several seconds we may see a shot of the exterior of the apartment before returning to the conversation. The shot cuts away from the action but still retains some connection to the scene.
Cross – cutting
Cross-cutting is an invaluable editing technique and is commonly used for. It consists of editing together shots of events in different locations which are expected eventually to coincide with each other. At the end of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels ( 1998) we are that Tom is desperately trying to get rid of two shotguns which he believer are incriminating evidence. However, we then cut to a pub where his associates have just learned that the guns are worth a fortune. Suspense is built through editing between Tom trying dump the guns into the
The 180 Degree Rule
There are a couple of important ‘rules’ associated with editing. The 180 degree rule specifies that the camera should not have ‘crossed the line’ of action when two shots are edited together. This is particularly important during a scene where two care interacting with each other in some way. We will have subconsciously noted that one character is on one side of the screen while the other is on the opposite side. The line of action is an imaginary line passing through the two characters. If the camera were to be placed on the other side of the action in the next shot, then the position of the characters would be reversed. It could take the viewer a second or two to realize what had happened and this might interrupt involvement in the film. In reality audiences are fairly adept at quickly ascertaining what has happened in such an edit; indeed, it is increasingly common to see the line crossed. In the café scene when Jimmy and Harry meet towards the end of Goodfellas (1990), the camera crosses the line but our involvement is not dramatically disrupted. The two ways of safely crossing the line are to either track across the line in one continuous shot or have an intermediate shot on the line in between the two shots.
The 30 Degree Rule
The 30 degree rule indicates that if two shots of the same location or action are edited together, the camera should move position by at least 30 degree or the shot size should radically change. If this does not happen then the effect is a jump cut. The elements within the shot appear to jump slightly producing a disconcerting effect on the viewer.