I don’t have a background in film direction and editing and I found Walter Murch’s readings and Jessicca Brillhart’s insights really fascinating and informative.
“A good film that is well-edited seems like an exciting extension and elaboration of the audience’s own feelings and thoughts, and they will therefore give themselves to it, as it gives itself to them.” This resonates with a virtual reality experience.
In the Blink of an Eye, Walter Murch, 1995, Jessica Brillart’s article goes beyond the fundamentals of editing and defines the frame as a relative window of experience derived from the visitor’s field of vision. This makes everything a potential frame, but also makes a premeditated frame based on my one’s interests presumptuous and, well, wrong most of the time.
This made me think of the fact that VR is not a not linear experience but a circular , a never ending experience which can be multi sensory.
Put [yourself] in place of the audience. What is the audience going to be thinking at any particular moment? Where are they going to be looking? What do you want them to think about? What do they need to think about? And of course, what do you want them to feel?
I think that the question is how to prioritize on things when all you are given is ambiguity. The biggest factor is empathy — the art of placing yourself in other people’s shoes. An empathy map is a tool that I have used a lot during my under graduate college days but its relevance was understood completely in this scenario. The more you empathize with the user, the design solution aligns better in the scenario and this results in a long-term engagement. How long you are focussed on a particular part or frame is also great and a very important component. That is how one can attract a viewer’s attention.
You should know when and how to respond to the user’s expectation. When you create a particular scene then you need to meet the expectations. Crossfading has been talked about to be a good technique and I would like to apply it while editing a 360 film next time.
I got great insights on cutting a 360 film in VR. It is like pieces of film joined together to form a mosaic. Editing in VR is all about rotating worlds and guide the user from one point to another.
There is also an important take away which said that – the longer the take, the greater the chances of a mistake.
Cutting explained in these excerpts is more than a technique but a complete experience. Cutting is more than just the convenient means by which discontinuity is rendered continuous. It is in and for itself- by the very force of its paradoxical suddenness- a positive influence in the creation.
So for the cut to be successful instead of focussing on the technicalities , I found a new set of rules like – 1) it is true to the emotion of the moment; 2) it advances the story 3) it occurs at the right moment that is rhythmically interesting and right 4) acknowledges eye trace5) 2 dim plane of screen 6) 3 dim space of action.
I also read about the rule of six which is also known as three dimensional continuity. This also helped me connect to the technique of offset points and how the user’s attention can be grabbed. But it also goes hand in hand with how you want the audience to feel like. Because at the end no-one remembers the camera take, editing but remembers how it made you feel.