Inivitation scroll


In most films, editing serves to tell a story. This means that it determines the sequence and duration of the events told. The same story can thus give rise to very different plots , depending on the editing choices made.

8.1 – Editing and the order of the plot

There are three types of possible relationships between the story order and the order of the plot:
1) The plot is chronological,
2) It includes flashbacks,
3) It includes flash-forwards.

Crosscutting signals that several events are happening simultaneously.

N.B.: Simultaneity can also be expressed using a split screen, which involves dividing the frame into separate smaller frames. Each of these smaller frames shows a different narrative event, and all of the events shown are understood to be taking place simultaneously. Brian de Palma often used the split screen notably the films he made in the 1970s and 1980s.

8.2 – Editing and plot duration 1

The duration of the plot is generally shorter than that of the story, owing to time ellipses. The length of an ellipsis can be explicit (title cards, dialogue) or implicit. The ellipsis may or may not be signalled by an optical effect.

In a fast-motion sequence, the plot is also shorter than the story.

8.3 – Editing and plot duration 2

Plot duration is longer that story duration when the editing shows the same event several times, or when slow-motion or freeze framing is used.

We refer to a "real-time" film when the plot duration and story duration coincide from the beginning to the end of the film.

Most often, the two coincide at the level of a sequence, especially the sequence shot.