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The Matrix Essay

The Matrix Essay

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Published by Yotam Cohen

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Published by: Yotam Cohen on Dec 13, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Yotam Cohen12/13/12Film Appreciation Essay #4Editing is an integral part of the filmmaking process; in fact, the editor hasalmost as much influence on the final product as the director. Some would evenargue that the editor has more influence. The director gives the editor the rawfootage – sometimes up to hundreds of hours of film – so that he can cut it, paceit, and piece it together. The editor and director must work hand in hand andhave the same vision in order for this process to work. Editing consists of managing the transitions, controlling the time of the film (pacing), and puttingtogether the shots.Editing is also used to manipulate space and time, among other things.The editor can edit shots in a way that can completely alter our perception of space and/or time at that moment, which can have many uses in film. For instance, imagine a shot where a man is walking towards the camera, the editor can cut to a close up of the man’s face or hands, thus slowing down the pacingand making the audience pay more attention to the man. This is a clue to theviewers that the man is an important character. By splicing short, quick shotstogether, the editor can compress time drastically. On the other hand, differenttypes of slow motion techniques are also used to slow down time in films. TheMatrix makes extensive use of time-altering techniques to do things like intensifyemotion, exaggerate fatigue, suggest superhuman strength, and emphasizegrace of physical action. The Matrix is a 1999 American action/science-fiction filmdirected and written by Andy and Lana Wachowski. The editing of The Matrix
trilogy was done by Zach Staenberg. In my opinion, The Matrix is a once-rare-but-increasingly-common type of movie in which not the actors, but the visualeffects and editing are the true stars!Probably the most notable editing technique The Matrix is known for pioneering is “bullet-time,” which is a variant of standard slow-motion techniques.Bullet-time allows the viewer to explore a moment progressing in slow-motion asthe camera seems to navigate the scene at normal speed. Staenberg uses thistechnique to emphasize the exceptional speed and agility of the main characters.The effect is introduced in the opening scene, when the camera orbits Trinity whois moving at near-normal speeds while everything else seems to be sloweddown. Later in the film, in the scene where Neo and Trinity take on the entiresquad of cops in that lobby, bullet-time is heavily used in all of Neo’sconfrontations with the cops/agents to showcase his superhuman powers withinthe matrix. Bullet-time enables the viewer to see certain other shots in exquisitedetail; such as the shot where Agent Smith is looking down at the path of bulletsin the split second before it kills him, or the shot where you see the shower of empty casings raining down from Neo’s mini-gun fire.It’s hard to deny that the extensive usage of bullet-time, well chosenvisuals, and advanced editing techniques make The Matrix one of the mostspectacular action movies of all time. The way Mr. Staenberg, along with manyother assistant editors, created these effects was by modifying an existingphotography technique known as time-slice photography. Briefly described, time-

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