Technical Research – Editing Effects (Flashback Transitions.)  

My short film will include flashback scenes that cut in and out of the main narrative, this needs to be obvious to the audience and in order to achieve this I will need to research how it is in done in other films and how I can create similar effects using Premier Pro or After Effects, the software I will be using for post production. 

Transition Techniques.

I looked at different techniques used to distinguish a flashback scenes in a film on[1]. 

The first technique is to use a wipe pan, which will make the scene move rapidly, creating blurred edges which makes the transition from narrative to flashback obvious to the audience. This is an interesting technique that I will try when editing as the blurred effect with work well with some of the shot types I will use and will add to the ‘distorted’ atmosphere of my film. This effect can also be achieved by using a slow shutter speed when filming. 

Another technique used is a colour change, for example if the main narrative is in colour flashback scenes may be shown in black and white. This is a technique I will experiment with during editing however I would prefer the flashback scenes to be in colour. 

A common technique is to use a dissolve transition to make the scene appear ‘wavy’ however this is often used in comedy films and as mine is a serious drama I will not be using it. 

Another technique is to use sound in conjunction with the visual aspect of the scene by using a sound from the previous scene in the new scene, creating a sound bridge. For example if a character is remembering an accident, they will hear sounds from the accident in the present before transitioning into the flashback where they reflect on the visual of the accident. An example of this technique being used in film is a scene in the film Ordinary People (1980) directed by Robert Redford[2]. The scene shows the main character flashback to a boating accident he and his brother were involved in, it is triggered by the sound of running water and the sound transitions into the flashback before becoming the sound of the waves against the boat. The scene mentioned is at 1:38 and plays till 1:54 as it is in a compilation[3] of flashback scenes from the film. 

The first shot is a close up of the sink, this then becomes a tracking shot which follows the water down into the sink which starts to fill. 

A sound bridge is then used as the scene turns into the character, Conrad’s, flashback of the accident. The sound of running water is first used in the shot of the accident before it turns into the sound of waves crashing against the boat. A wide shot is used to show the location and what is happening.

The scene then cuts back to the main character Conrad, who is looking at himself in the mirror, remembering and reflecting the accident. This scene use a medium close up of the character to show that he is still in the same location (the bathroom) and to show his facial expression to convey his emotions to the audience. As he is experiencing a flashback of an accident I think that he looks upset and appears haunted by what has happened. 

Conrad then dips his hands into the sink to splash his face with water and we see a close up of scars from self inflicted wounds, the result of his grief over the accident. The scene then goes back to the flashback of the accident and starts by focusing on the characters hands as he attempts to keep the boat upright. This may have been done to compare the characters hands and arms then and in the present which represents the effect the accident has had on him as the self inflicted wounds are a result of his survivors guilt.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s