Editing

I really wanted to do the dream sequence from Rosemary’s Baby but I could not find  a video clip, so I picked the “Feeding Machine” scene from Modern Times, found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssYgejIBH_g&list=PLE38B48A6B3062B55. It is full of different relations that work together to tell the story.

An important part of the scene is making the machine and Charlie Chaplin consistent with the people operating the machine, which is achieved through continuity editing. As the shots cut back and forth between Chaplin fed by the machine and the business men assessing the machine, spatial continuity connects the two ideas. This matches up the eye lines of the men looking and talking about the machine. At first, the machine seems to successfully feed Chaplin. This is characterized by longer shots which extend the time of the machine at work. The rhythmic relation between shots of Chaplin eating and the men gets shorter, however, as the machine malfunctions. The physical motion is sped up through editing, and shorter shots help speed up the scene, creating chaos.

When the men point and then the scene cuts the the machine, constructive editing assumes that they want to fix the issue with the machine. Two of the men rush over to the machine, which could serve as a reestablishing shot because it connects the two ideas of the machine and the men as part of the same setting. Then new eye lines are created, connecting the man standing next to Chaplin with the man trying to fix the machine. The scene is much sped up here as the cuts become more frequent. At one point there is a longer shots of Chaplin continually smacked in the face with the food. This lengthens the time of the trouble he has to go through while being the tester of the machine. Finally the scene ends with the man going back to the group to tell them that the machine is a failure, which reestablishes the spatial relation in the scene.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s