June 8, 2017

Watch: Should You Be Cutting to Drum Beats?

Feel the rhythm! Feel the rhyme! Get on up, it's editing time! 

Let's face it: editing can sometimes be a trying task. So if you're ever suffering from the NLE malaise, you might want to try injecting some rhythm into your work. Although this is a pretty elementary exercise, it is certainly worth experimenting with; if nothing else, it will make things more lively for your own sake. 

Nicholas Caesar makes his case for the practice in the video below. "Humans are pretty adept at keeping a beat," he says. "We subconsciously do it all the time when we’re bopping along to our favorite music. When it comes to film and video, why should it be any different?"

Prior to experimenting with this technique, Caesar was experiencing some difficulty on an edit. The jokes weren't landing. The flow of a scene just wasn't feeling natural.

Then, one day, he found a video of Seinfeld composer Jonathan Wolff explaining his process for scoring the famed sitcom. In the video, Wolff revealed that Seinfeld dropped jokes in a time signature that somewhat resembles 110 beats per minute. For this reason, Wolff programmed a drum beat to run at 110 BPM and filled in the gaps with various takes of the iconic bass strums we all know and love.

Inspired by Wolff’s method, Caesar created a simple drum loop at 100 BPM and started cutting the footage for his film around the track. He would edit to the beat so that certain cuts would hit at snares, or shots would get replaced to emphasize specific words at the hit of a kick. When it came time to export, Caesar got rid of the drum track—and found a vastly improved version of the short.

The lesson here? Rhythm is vital. In order to be impactful, dialogue needs to be paced and articulated in a certain way. So if you're hung up on the pacing of a scene, try cutting to a simple beat. It just might do the trick.     

Your Comment

7 Comments

June 8, 2017 at 11:28AM

32
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Jordan Paley
Producer / Director / Writer / AD
102

Haha nice!

June 8, 2017 at 2:33PM

0
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Michiel Eskens
Director & Editor
216

Thank you.
This video was cool.

June 8, 2017 at 12:32PM, Edited June 8, 12:32PM

22
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Sameir Ali
Director of Photography
1378

Great vid! Thx for sharing.

June 8, 2017 at 2:35PM

3
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Michiel Eskens
Director & Editor
216

Yass this is one of those Gem articles that shows a new perspective (not a new bit of kit) More like this please:)

June 8, 2017 at 10:02PM

13
Reply

Hi! I'm the guy who made the video this article links out to and I just wanted to say that I'm glad that you enjoyed the video! I'm actually thinking of making more videos in this vein in the future so feel free to check up on my channel periodically for some more stuff like this :)

June 9, 2017 at 11:17AM

1
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Nicholas Caesar
Director, Writer
74

interesting approach, I agree with the below commenters, subjects like this with new approaches rather than new tech and shortcuts to programs are way more interesting

June 9, 2017 at 7:55AM

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Greg
Editor / Assistant Editor
225