Deciding on Shots and Transitions

Deciding exactly when to make a transition in a shot is an important part of editing. Most directors usually transition during one of the following times:

  • At the end of a sentence or thought
  • When the actor or actress takes a breath
  • About a third of the way into any action

While it is the editor’s responsibility to make sure that there is no missing, duplicated, or overextended intervals in editing sequences together, there are instances when editors will deliberately “lose time” by skipping a part of the action. The time between a person parking their car and entering a house might be irrelevant, and therefore it is skipped.

This brings up the pace of the production, continues to hold the interest of the audience, and no critical plot information is lost.

Editors can also “extend time” in a scene to create a dramatic effect.  During the action, the editor might move from shot to shot, from faces to action and back again, actually extending the scene past the time it might have taken for the actual action to occur.