Contracting time – Long version
Running time: 1′ 50″
Contracting time – Short version
Running time: 0′ 44″
Brief: Make a short film of a story about the longing for freedom. Edit two versions of this film: one short using only the essential information and one longer.
A woman is weeding the flower bed in her garden. She hears birdsong. Looking to see where the sound came from, she sees small bird perched on a chair. The bird flies away and the woman looks up, trying to follow it. The woman arrives at the bottom of a large hill. She walks up the hill, eventually emerging over the top of the hill with the landscape behind her. She turns to look at the landscape. The woman is standing in her garden, on a chair, looking over the fences and into other gardens, her arms spread out like wings. Her husband sees her and reacts.
- Cutting to a different scene/location.
- Character enters an empty frame.
- Use of cutaways to another subject.
- Use of a dissolve.
How long do you think this sequence will last on screen?
What will be the consequence of cutting each shot/scene very short or alternatively longer?
When planning this project film I knew I would be capturing several shots, many of which would be quite long in duration. As the script was over a page long, I expected this sequence would last between one and two minutes on screen.
I used a range of conventions when editing the long version, such as cutting to a different scene/location between the garden and the foot of the hill near the beginning of the film and between the hilltop and the garden at the end of the film. I used shots of the character entering an empty frame and cutaways of birds and trees to indicate the passage of time between scenes. I also added a dissolve between the character’s POV of the landscape and her in the garden to indicate a longer passage of time at the end of the film. The result is a sequence that is quite slow and lasts for almost two minutes.
The effect of the short version is quite different. Cutting the shots very short and allowing only the most essential information required to tell the story to appear on screen has resulted in a much quicker sequence. I still used several conventions appropriate to contracting time within a moving image, such as cutting to a different scene/location, the character entering an empty frame and using cutaways to another subject, all to indicate the passage of time within the sequence. I did not add a dissolve between the character’s POV of the landscape and her back in the garden at the end of the film as I did not feel it needed this. Although we still see the story moving from garden to hill and back to garden again, in this version time has contracted even more. Using a much more concise sequence of shots has resulted in a more condensed moving image.