Pacing

Hi All,
Our subject today is pacing. Take your hands and clap them together. Clap slower….good…now faster….good. You’ve just adjusted your pace.
Think of each clap as a cut in your video.
What’s pacing got to do with anything?
The pace at which images come to us can directly affect how the scene flows.
Let’s set a couple of scenes, each of them 10 seconds long:
Scene One – :10
Imagine a romantic kiss at sunset. We hear the flowing music, the red sunset rims out their features in gold, the man leans toward the woman, the shape of their embrace creates a natural heart shape. They kiss pasionately.
Scene Two – :10
Secret Agent Jimmy B flees down the tight alley. A bullet zings by, knocking a chunk of brick from the wall. Jimmy B glances back briefly, rage tightens his features. He ducks into an empty doorway. Footsteps of threes men running towards him. He steps out and kicks them around until they stop moving. He adjusts his tie, smiles in satisfaction and walks cooly away.
Think about the content and mood of each scene. They both last for the same amount of time on-screen.
Scene One could probably be one long take. Imagine the camera pushing in on them, perhaps a cutaway shot to see the man’s face, a cutaway to see the woman’s face. This would be a very serene pace. Gentle, emotionally intense.
There is a lot more going on in Scene Two. Many different clips that need to be included. Thus, it should flow into a naturally faster pace. The faster the pacing, the higher the tension.
Now imagine switching the pacing of the two. How would that affect the mood of your scene? Now, I’m not saying never break the rules, but do it intelligently and in a way that enhances the story you are telling, and is transparent to your audience. If it creates dissidence with your audience, if they notice the cut and not the content, it is not effective.
 
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