Cutting to Continuity

This iMovie exercise teaches:

• How to assemble shots for a rough cut
• How to cut a film to continuity
• How editors say more with less

(Instructions for Windows Movie Maker are here).
  1. Download these shots to your computer.  
  2. In iMovie, create a new project. Select Standard (4:3) aspect ratio for your movie. Title your new movie, “Cutting to Continuity.”
  3. In the tool bar, choose File->Import->Movies. Navigate to the folder “Location
Shots.” Within “Location Shots,” select all files. Click import. Navigate to the folder “Studio Shots.” Within “Studio Shots,” select all files. Click import.
  4. Starting with and proceeding until you reach, drag each location shot into the project area. (You can identify a shot by mousing over its initial frames). Repeat with the studio shot sequence. iMovie creates a four second preview in the project window for each shot.
  5. Click each shot. In the Inspector, revise the “Duration” of each shot to match “Source Duration.” Click “Done.”
  6. View your “rushes,” the generally unedited and un-sequenced shots you created on location or in the studio. (“Location 2” already includes a stop-action effect. “Studio 1” and “Studio 5” already include matte shot effects. Six shots in this print were post production hand painted).
  7. Assemble the shots into a rough cut by dragging (or cutting and pasting) each shot to its proper place in the shot sequence.  
  8. Trim away the leader on each shot using the Clip Trimmer. (In the Clip Trimmer, drag to the first frame you wish to keep. Select return.)
  9. Navigate to GreatTrainTitleCard.jpg in the Great Train Shots folder. Drag the file to the first shot position in your movie. If necessary, click “Fit” in the still image tool. Cool! You have assembled The Great Train Robbery.
  Want to keep playing?
  10. Trim away footage to accelerate the action. Extract a minute from (where the bandit holds up the passengers) by trimming away what proceeds and follows the passenger’s escape, the gunshot, and the escape of the bandits. Use the clip trimmer. (You won’t mar the footage. Digital editing is non-destructive).
  Seeing the bandits bolt off in the “wrong” direction, many editors now would flip the shot to move the bandits towards screen left, where they continue to move in the following shot. (Select the shot. Clip->Flipped->Done). The bandit’s escape now flows leftward through three shots.
  Trim the first few seconds of (where the bandits run back to the engine) and of (where the train stops and the bandits descend the hill). Trim anywhere else your eye suggests. Your ten-minute movie now runs about nine minutes. You just said more with less. You have just cut to continuity.
  11. Add a sound track, as Porter never could. Arthur Honegger’s "Pacific 231" works great. So does "Come Along" by Morphine. Try something. Try anything.
  12. In the tool bar, choose Share->Export Movie->Mobile. Title your movie “Cutting to Continuity.” Click “Export.”  
  13. Play your movie with a QuickTime Player (or any viewer that plays .m4v files).  
  10. Send out your movie to the world if you feel the urge. To burn a DVD, choose Share->iDVD in the tool bar. To post to iTunes, choose Share->iTunes. Or share to your account at YouTube, Facebook,Vimeo, CNN iReport, or Podcast Producer.