Our subject this week is Timing. Many people confuse this with Pacing.
So what is Timing? Timing is the time span between action and reaction. Trust me, you do not want to ruin your scene by a reaction coming in at the wrong time. Bad timing is like watching a bad dancer trying to find the beat of the music.
The man fires the gun at the unsuspecting Jimmy B. The gunshot is explosive in the small lab of Dr. Evilguy. Jimmy B. flinches and ducks.
For the sake of argument, (not that you’d ever do this) imagine Jimmy B. ducks, before the gunshot? BAD TIMING.
More likely you would see this: imagine the gunshot, and we don’t see Jimmy B.’s reaction for a delayed half second. BAD TIMING.
So how do you fix the timing issue, when you want to show the gunshot, and you want to show Jimmy’s reaction? PACING. Imagine the sound of the gunshot overlapping onto the video of Jimmy flinching. Audio can aid timing and pacing.
Bad Timing will setup a cognitive dissidence with your audience. You will jerk them out of the fantasy you are creating for them, and ruin their experience. So tighten up those shots. You may need to go down into frame by frame in order to get the timing just right. If you can watch the scene without noticing the cut, just noticing the action, then you probably have it right. Action. Reaction.