Remember that film where Obi-Wan Kenobi, Austin Powers and Tony Montana had the shootout in a nightclub?
Nope, me neither.
Master editor Antonio Maria Da Silva's mashup film is so convincing you'd be forgiven for thinking you did.
The film (which you can watch below) is amazing. There's plenty to say about it, but I want to highlight one small (yet huge) aspect of its editing.
The editing is probably a films most under-appreciated element. It's typically employed to preserve continuity within a scene, meaning that the better an editor has done their job, the less likely you are to notice their hard work.
But an editor's role isn't easy, and Da Silva has done his so well that he's paradoxically made his achievement look much simpler than it is.
When watching the film myself, there was one thing in particular that made it believable: the use of eye line.
The purpose of continuity editing is make things that are discontinuous look like they're not: e.g. someone walks through a door and we cut to them coming out the other side. These two shots may have been filmed many miles and many months apart, yet when placed one after the other we perceive it as continuous action.
There are lots of different elements which help trick us into thinking this is the case, but eye line is primary amongst them.
We're naturally drawn to character's eyes on screen, and so construct our understanding of the space they're in based on where they're looking.
Making this consistent (or at least seem consistent) is vital - and even more so when multiple characters are involved.
'Hell's Club' is a masterclass in (dis)continuity editing and eye line matching. Give it a watch...
The editor’s function is to create continuity between shots in such a manner as to render their work invisible. If the dialogue is in the proper sequence, the eye-lines match, the mise-en-scène remains consistent, and the 180-degree rule isn’t violated, the editor’s thankless job is done.