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Tip #1294: 5 Secrets to Film Pacing

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Pacing is the sum of all the different parts of a movie.

(Image courtesy of Pexels.com)

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This article, written by Jourdan Aldredge, first appeared in PremiumBeat.com. This is a summary.

Pacing is something that can be hard to put your finger on. What makes one film feel fast and fun, and another slow and laborious? It’s more than simply the number of cuts or the time between them. Pacing is something practical, as well as something intangible, that informs how audiences view a film and keep up with the story on the screen.

The question is: How do you define pacing and control it in your projects? Let’s explore the five secrets to pacing and how you can keep your projects from getting stale.

  1. Script and Storyboard. Pacing really and truly starts well before you start to put together your edit. The pace of a project is defined in the earliest stages of your outline and script. You have the power to begin to define your pace in pre-production as you plan out your shoot and edit workflow. Different projects are meant to have different pacing.
  2. Shoot with Intentionality. Good filmmaking isn’t just about skills or composition. It’s really about intentionality. Just how much thought and focus can you bring to every scene and every shot? Pacing develops through an intricate balance of all the elements of filmmaking combined together.
  3. Create Momentum Through Movement. One of the best tools for defining the overall pace of a project is movement. Movement—either with your characters, subjects, or the camera itself—can create momentum from shot to shot and scene to scene.
  4. Don’t Just Edit Sequence by Sequence. Just because you have one well-paced action sequence that’s visually stunning and delivered in a satisfactory manner, doesn’t mean that it’ll always match up well with the emotional relationship sequence in the next scene. Pacing is all about consistency and finding the right balance between different styles and speeds.
  5. Add Graphics, Effects, and Motion. Finally, as a last step, one great way to tinker and tailor with your project’s pace comes in the final stages of your edit when you add graphics, effects, and digital motion.

EXTRA CREDIT

The article, linked above, has videos that illustrate each of these points.


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