Sometime in 1918 Russian director Lev Kuleshov took the headshot of an actor looking into the camera and intercut it with another shot of a bowl of soup, then with a child in a casket and lastly with a woman lounging on a couch. Each intercut was a different edit and each was shown independently of the other and in each edit the actor was praised for his performance. Weather it was the longing in his face to stave his hunger or the introspection of a child lost or the admiration of beauty. Kuleshov discovered the power of the cut from image to image could create a relationship between the images and elicit an emotional response.
After nearly a hundred years the art of editing motion pictures has gone from literally 'cutting' film and pasting it together, to a few strokes of a keyboard. As editing has evolved so has the method of editing and for most, learning the software or principles of editing requires some sort of formal education. With Jared Polin's "Fro Knows Photo Guide To Editing" that is no longer necessary.
I was surprised and elated that Todd Wolfe from cheesesteakmedia.com and co-host of the RAWTalk Podcast was informative, comprehensive and focused. Jared is a great performer of sorts as far as grabbing your attention but I often find that his thoughts outrun his mouth and he looses track of his message. Todd as co-host and instructor really keeps Jared's large personality in check. I was worried at first that I would see Todd get drowned out with Jared needing to over-explain something that was just plainly said. Instead I saw Jared checking his ego and playing the roll of the student, establishing that the Fro only knows as much as he does because he's willing to listen and learn from someone with experience.
The guide starts with what would essentially be any film students first lecture. Learning what a 'cut' is; a transition from one shot to another using a variety of techniques: dissolves, wipes, jump cuts. This brief intro to editing is vital to establishing fundamentals that otherwise without, could disorientate the viewer as they try to learn the principles of storytelling through editing. Principles like the "180 degree rule" may be missed by the novice editor that has no experience with the production of the footage. For these principles to be briefly reviewed establishes that the editor must at least have a basic understanding of eye=lines, continuity and emotional distance. When I was in film school most of us wouldn't really understand the value of these principles until in the editing process.
The guide then proceeds to take you through the editing process on several projects and this is truly the most important part of this guide. In film school an instructor may spend an hour walking you through the process of importing footage, cataloging it and starting the cutting process. Then they'll say "now it's your turn" and you'll spend the remaining time just mashing shots together. With Fro Knows Photo Guide To Editing, you have an editor selecting shots and telling you why. Anyone can take a headshot and cut to a bowl of soup, but why? What is the emotion I'm trying to evoke? Do I need to have a master shot of the kitchen to establish the location first? Having Todd explain his process and having Jared punctuate the principles behind Todds thinking is a great combo.
This guide is a comprehensive and entertaining educational tool. Although Todd's professionalism is turned up a notch, He and Jared still bring some humor keeping the viewer from picking up their cellphone or browsing the internet. If you're a filmmaker, youtuber, or simply just want to cut some footage you shot on vacation together, this guide is for you. It even provides footage for you to practice with. I was fortunate to attend a film school, many out there do not have that luxury, but they can have The Fro Knows Photo Guide To Editing for a fraction of what I am still paying for.
Thank you Jared Polin, Todd Wolfe, and the Fro Knows Photo Crew for your work on creating this guide.