lucas j harger
On Micro and Macro Pacing

How a film is paced tends to be discussed on a seemingly singular and macro level. But there is much to dissect from the micro pace changes within a film. The pace between 3 shots, between a moment, between a scene act and film. As we pull out we see the dominate pace, but the successfully paces films take us on a journey of pace. If then put on a linear timeline, we can see the structure of the film in a sort of roller coast shape. All of these pace changes are of course deliberate. Weather through control or lack there of, films have pace. Its matching the pace to the story where craft can be discerned.

If we are to cut interesting and therefore meaningful films, we should consider pace throughout. Im not sure at the moment weather pace should be planned, as too many happy accidents happen throughout, but pace should be on the forefront of the editors mind. Pace should, along with emotion, be a driving factor in any cut. More than continuity. Continuity is a red herring in the search for pace and emotion. The mind fills in blanks and mis-steps constantly and is a trick we should employ when in search for pace and emotion. This then is truth concerning pace, it is paramount to all other factors, except its equal counter part, emotion.

Now a quick note about average shot lengths. They should be considered not on an entire film level, but on a scene level at their widest. Considered, through the lens of intrigue and a desire to see how a film is shaped. Not what it ends up being. A lot is out there which attempts to show ASL’s of this film vs. that film. This is worthless information. Show me the ASL of scene 1 vs. scene 4. Much more interesting.