Q2 2023

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44 C I N E M O N T A G E T E C H By Jennifer Walden V isual effects are typically meant to be eye-catching, from making massive fireballs and glittering waves to creating hideous creatures, cy- bernetic lifeforms, aliens, and so on. But there's one common visual effect that editors use yet hope the audience doesn't notice: the morph. While morphing can be used for obvious effect — for ex- ample, to meld one face into another as in Michael Jackson's "Black or White" music video from 1991 — editors often use mor- phing in an invisible way, from tightening up a production performance to get the pacing to feel right or to remove a flub from an otherwise outstanding take, all the while keeping the actor's face on-screen. Morph- ing can be an invisible effect that adds so much to a show without being showy. On HBO's hit series "The Last of Us," editors Timothy Good, ACE, and Emily Mendez often used FluidMorph in Avid Media Composer to smooth out jump cuts that were created when closing up gaps in an actor's delivery. It allowed the editors to adjust the pacing of a performance without having to cut to a reverse shot which would Face the Changes ON 'THE LAST OF US,' EDITORS USE AVID'S FLUIDMORPH FOR EVERYTHING FROM FIXING FLUBS TO CHANGING EXPRESSIONS have taken the audience's eyes away from the actor's face, thereby diminishing the impact of an emotional moment. As Good (who edited series like Netflix's "The Umbrella Academy," Fox's "Fringe," and CBS's "Under the Dome") explained: "Showrunner Craig Mazin loves puzzles, and each piece of the show's puzzle has a specific purpose. Sometimes the pace at which things were recorded on set doesn't necessarily line up to the puzzle piece he would've liked to have in a specific section. For example, the pace of the dialogue in comedy is very important because it's all about timing. But to get the proper timing in comedy sequences, you often have to take a lot of the air out of a shot. That requires you to make internal edits to create that pace. Basically, you're creating a jump cut in the middle of the shot. We try to make the cuts at points where the suture will be the least noticeable, so when you stitch the cuts Avid's FluidMorph effect window. Editors often use morphing in an invisible way.

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