Movie Mistakes: When does Film Continuity REALLY Matter?

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Feb 21, 2017


Movie Mistakes: When does Film Continuity REALLY Matter?
Movie Mistakes: When does Film Continuity REALLY Matter? thumb Movie Mistakes: When does Film Continuity REALLY Matter? thumb Movie Mistakes: When does Film Continuity REALLY Matter? thumb


  • Take a look at this scene...
  • ( Oh my... )
  • ( Oh my... god! ) Notice anything? If you did, good for you.
  • You have a very keen eye. I cut that
  • scene and I probably watched it more
  • than a hundred times, often sitting with
  • the director together, and I never
  • noticed the mistake.
  • And then one day, I happened to stop
  • right at this frame and it hit me.
  • I asked mark: Did you notice anything? But
  • he didn't. Mark is wearing no jacket and
  • now he's wearing a jacket.
  • This is a failure of continuity editing.
  • ( Thank you. )
  • Continuity editing is the process of
  • combining more or less related shots so
  • as to direct the viewers attention to a
  • pre-existing consistency of story across
  • both time and physical location. And here,
  • we're breaking that rule. Clearly when
  • you make a mistake like this it can
  • really hurt the success of a film.
  • Did you see it? How about this one?
  • It seems that continuity gaffes are rampant
  • in film. ( If you watch closely during the
  • scene with the Velociraptor you may
  • notice an out-of-place hand. ) ( In the first
  • Pirates of the Caribbean you can
  • clearly see a crewmember over jack
  • sparrow's shoulder. ) ( Predictable damage ensues.
  • But seconds later that same
  • windshield is seen in perfect condition. )
  • And many are not shy to make fun of the
  • filmmakers. ( And how this floating broom
  • pantomime made it into the finished film
  • is anyone's guess. ) ( Let's just enjoy that special
  • star wars moments again. ) ( We're just saying that
  • some script supervisors or editors could
  • have done their jobs just a teeny bit
  • better. )
  • Should we put the blame on the script
  • supervisor onset or later, the editor who
  • for some reason or another did not cut it
  • correctly,
  • like I did? And then how do some of the
  • greats feel about continuity errors.
  • Thelma Schoonmaker,the iconic editor who
  • worked on many of Scorsese's films says in an
  • interview:
  • Martin Hunter, the editor for Stanley
  • Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket says: There's
  • a cut when the drill sergeant punches
  • Mathew Motley in the stomach and in one
  • shot he pulls back with his left hand
  • and in the cut he punches with his
  • right...
  • Walter Murch is so uninterested in
  • continuity editing he actually give it the
  • least priority in terms of when to
  • make a cut. He writes an ideal cut for me
  • is the one that satisfies the following
  • six criteria at once...
  • Emotion if the thing that you should try
  • to preserve at all costs. If you find you
  • have to sacrifice certain of those six
  • elements to make a cut, sacrifice your
  • way up from the bottom.
  • So three legendary editors, all don't
  • really care all that much about
  • continuity. Are they just full of it or is there
  • actually some science behind it?
  • Tim J Smith is a lecturer of
  • physiological sciences, Birkbeck
  • University of London, and he studies all
  • kinds of visual cognition. He did some
  • extensive tests with eye tracking, where he
  • traces the eye movement to find out
  • where audiences look and what they pay
  • attention to. Attentional Synchrony is where
  • the majority of viewers will have their
  • eyes focused in on the same element of
  • the screen. The number one predictor of
  • where most people are going to look in a
  • frame - or rather what they will pay
  • attention to - is whether there's a human
  • face in the shot. If it is science tells
  • us that all the attention is geared
  • towards that. And that's why so many
  • continuity problems go unnoticed.
  • It actually turns out that Hitchcock who,
  • is a master at composing shots, really understood this concept.
  • ( I'm not required to answer this question? This is scary me. )
  • Humans study other human faces. When it
  • comes to still images we tend to look
  • at the eyes. When it comes to moving
  • images we tend to look around the nose
  • and move up and down between the mouth
  • and eyes, as we're trying to understand
  • what somebody is saying or the emotions
  • that their express. ( One question, short and sweet? )
  • ( Where's my bed, what's better than that? )
  • I have to say, first-time filmmakers tend to
  • point out continuity errors and they're
  • very concerned about fixing these
  • problems - to the point where they're
  • willing to sacrifice the performance or
  • a moment.
  • So for example, in this scene Mark has to
  • wake his three-year-old son and move out
  • of the house because he can't afford the
  • rent anymore. And as he's walking down
  • the stairs a continuity error happens
  • ( Baby Crying ) See it? You can see the camera. And we
  • could have decided to cut around it but
  • it would have broken this moment that
  • really played most powerful in real time.
  • So when does continuity matter? Pretty
  • much never. And if it does then maybe
  • there's something else wrong with the
  • scene. I asked you if you thought that
  • continuity is important and in a poll, the
  • majority pretty much better said that they
  • don't care as long as the scene works. But
  • Larry writes, i often noticed them.
  • Especially now that i'm studying
  • filmmaking. Burt says, I don't look for
  • them so if i end up noticing them they tend
  • to bother me. Steve says I have an error
  • that I actually find more interesting than an
  • actual flaw. In martin scorsese's
  • Shutter Island there's what i believe to
  • be an implied continuity error during the
  • interrogation scene. For me personally, I
  • think it was both Scoreses and Schoonmaker decision
  • to use it as a device to throw
  • the audience into a "nothing is as it seems"
  • state of mind. I hope you got a kick
  • out of this episode. Check out the video
  • description for more research on the
  • topic and hopefully, I'll see you see soon.
  • Thanks for watching.

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Film continuity editing errors and movie mistakes happen in big and small films. But do they matter?

Find the Perfect Sound. Improve your Story by 50%: http://thisguyedits.com/soundsnap_continuity

Continuity editing is the process, in film and video creation, of combining more-or-less related shots, or different components cut from a single shot, into a sequence so as to direct the viewer's attention to a pre-existing consistency of story across both time and physical location.

Still think continuity matters? Test your awareness here: /watch?v=ubNF9QNEQLA

Thank you to Dr. Karen Pearlman for pointing me to the research of Timothy J. Smith: /watch?v=0t-ShsJmALA


My favorite Film Editing Book is...
"In the Blink of an Eye" by Walter Murch: http://amzn.to/20ujg6B

Find out about Walter Murch's theory on the relationship of eye blinking and editing: /watch?v=0_rHsWleVmw&list=PLNEhn13QqMlY2wIkzX4tq4FDJrN0UUSee


THIS GUY EDITS (TGE) is a youtube channel by film editor Sven Pape, an A.C.E. award nominee, whose credits include work for directors James Cameron, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and James Franco.

TGE is about how to tell stories creatively.
Weekly video uploads can be found on THIS GUY EDITS:
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