Zee Russians are always handy scapegoats for any number of things, da?
In this case, I’m talking about one particular Russian’s film editing brainstorm from the early 1900’s that has a direct effect on YOUR editing today, no matter the project or your editing experience or software.
Keep reading for the drunk baby part.
A certain Soviet filmmaker conducted a film editing experiment in the early 20th century where he showed a shot of an expressionless man, then a shot of a bowl of soup. Back to the man, same expression.
Then a shot of a body in a casket. Back to the man, same expression.
Then to a shot of a woman in a bikini. Back to the same man, same expression.
Audiences at the time remarked at the remarkable breadth of emotion portrayed by the actor – hunger for the soup, sadness at the body in the casket, lust for the scantily clad woman.
But it was the exact same shot of the actor every single time. The differences in the actor’s “reactions” only existed in the mind of the audience by virtue of how the shots were edited together.
This is what is known to generations of film students as The Kuleshov Effect, named for its founder, Soviet filmmaker Lev Kuleshov.
Behold! Through the modern miracle of YouTube, here is the original sequence.
And here’s a cool alternate explanation of the Kuleshov Effect by none other than Alfred Hitchcock. He doesn’t call it the Kuleshov Effect, but it’s the exact same idea: Continue reading