Essay about Complexity Editing

Essay about Complexity Editing

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Complexity editing is the process by which images are pieced together with an increased focus on dramatic or thematic elements of an event. With marked contrast to continuity editing, complexity editing seeks to remove the confines of time in terms of the horizontal parameter, and thus opens the event to a more introspective interpretation along the vertical axis.
The primary application of complexity editing is the use of montage. Montage is the art of construction; the systematic selections of images that can be organized in either sequential or non-sequential manner in order clarify and intensify an event. When these images are viewed in a designated sequence, they call upon a particular translational response that does not rely on the viewer having been provided all relevant details, but rather on their ability to draw conclusions based solely on the selected segments of information. In this respect, montage can provide a unique opportunity to utilize what we know and understand about a viewer’s thought process and allow us to manipulate that process to invoke an acute response. (If this sounds a bit like the primary basis of all film theory, you’re not far off base by any stretch, in fact it can be argued that all films rely on some form of montage or another to tell a story).
Montage relies heavily, if not entirely on the theory of gestalt, the psychological process of closure or filling in information. This effectively makes montage a study of relationships, one cannot close an event with a single image; thus, each image in a sequence is only as meaningful as the image before and after it. Traditional continuity editing is much more forgiving and forthcoming, more likely to spoon-feed the message of the event, whereas ...

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...ut there are still those spaces---where questions remain. Who is Andy? Why is he in prison? Who is the man in the yard? When does Andy reach freedom again and how does his friend manage to join him? Those are the pieces our minds cannot fill in, but through the emotional gestalts formed through the information provided, we are left with a longing to fill in the blanks of the rest of the event. This is sequential analytical montage at its best.
Sectional analytical montage relies on many of the same principles in terms of dramatic and thematic emphasis, but in this case the motion along the horizontal time line is often suspended, so that we may examine this event in greater detail as it happens in one or a few select moments in time. In addition, multiple view points are often portrayed using this method. One very good example of this

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