Whiplash: The Art of Editing and Its Role in Cinematic Intensity

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Whiplash Movie and the Editing Process

Whiplash is an American movie that was released in 2014. It tells a story about the relationship between a jazz student (Andrew) who is aggressive and an instructor (Fletcher) who uses non-conventional teaching methods. Once the process of filming a movie has been completed, the process of film editing can then begin. A film editor will work with the raw footage comprising several hours and multiple scenes. The editor will then proceed to choose the relevant shots, merge them into sequences that form the complete movie. When the editing process is done so well, the person watching the movie might not notice the work that was done by the film editor. The director of the movie wanted to have a thriller effect that could be achieved through proper editing.

Editorial Techniques Used in Whiplash

There were several editorial techniques that were used in the movie Whiplash to make it one of the greatest movies. The movie uses a linear narrative structure where the story is organized around various events and other key defining moments. It begins when Andrew is invited by Fletcher join is studio band as a substitute drummer. Their relationship is well told in the entire movie with a surprise ending. The pacing is also done well with the focus being placed on scenes where Andrew is beating the drums and the wounds on his hands. Although the film starts slow, it picks up along the way and ends in an expected climax. The thrilling concept in the movie is brought out through the way the drumming shots are assembled. The transitions in the movie are also seamless with the scenes flowing from one to the other.

Grabbing Viewers' Attention through Editing Choices

The attention of the viewers was grabbed through the decision to cut some of the scenes very fast. Jump cuts are used in the movie to match beats of the drums and the music in the background, especially the intense scenes, and to align the drum beats to the pre-recorded music that was used. The movie begins with a black fill with drum beats being heard in the background, slowly the drummer's rhythm increases and with the buildup, the camera cuts to a long shot where the drummer is sitting at the end of the hall.

Effective Use of Montage and Continuity

The editor also used montage to depict various locations like the city of New York to show as much of the city in the movie in the shortest time possible. In so doing, the editor was able to compress time and give the viewer a chance to see the city. The aspect of continuity has not been used effectively in the movie, for example, Andrew is shown with bleeding hands that are full of band-aids and the next day, his hands are perfect. In another scene, Fletcher is throwing a chair at Andrew and the guitarist is standing behind Andrew, in the next shot, the guitarist is not there.

Creating Brutal and Memorable Music Scenes

The director of the movie wanted the music scenes to be brutal, ferocious, and violent. That was achieved through the clever editing techniques that were used by the film editor. Scenes where Fletcher is shouting at Andrew are cut abruptly, while those showing Andrew and his girlfriend are relaxed and romantic to show the other side of Andrew. The relationship with his father is also shown with the slow scenes between them. The editing harmonized the scenes throughout the entire movie with the performances being elevated to make the movie memorable.

September 25, 2023




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Film Analysis

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