The best movies create worlds with seemingly effortless magic. When a movie works, the audience doesn’t notice the elements that construct a coherent sense of time and space. They’re not thinking about lighting, camera movements, or the set, because they’re immersed in the onscreen world. Continuity is invisible. A character opens a door, and the next cut shows a continuous action as the door opens in the next space with the character’s hair and costume identical even if the two shots were filmed months apart. Good movies don’t draw attention to their production. In contrast, the hallmarks of truly terrible films include all the ways they make their seams visible and obvious. They conspicuously draw attention to their production, and especially all the mistakes, inconsistencies, and gaffes that get in the way of continuity. Continuity gaffes include obvious mistakes in editing. Drinks at a bar are full in one shot, in the next empty, then full again. Production equipment like boom mics, camera shadows, and safety wires appear on-screen. Obvious changes in wardrobe and makeup occur from shot-to-shot. Locations don’t match and weather changes. The worst movies draw attention to the fact that they’re movies—shots of staged scenes edited together,… Read full this story
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