Info on how to let music trigger the cuts?

ritsmer wrote on 5/24/2009, 1:51 AM
This is probably just basic knowledge of professional editors – but my question is where to find more knowledge about it:

If you let the beat of the music trigger the cut from media to media (stills and/or videos) you can play with the resulting mood if you cut on 1, on 2 or even on 3 (signalling continuity).

You may also draw the cut up to some 0.7 seconds after the beat (signalling a relaxed mood)

With ”cut” I mean i.e. a simple crossfade lasting anything from 0.1 to 1 second.

I use such things in my videos – but think there is more to it - so where to look for more knowledge on this?


Grazie wrote on 5/24/2009, 2:03 AM
Within Vegas? Been there . . done it . . got the T shirt . .

I tried the BlackCat(?), and Edward and I played around with it. Tried to get some kind of Envelope that gave points to make markers and THEN use that as the trigger for cuts/dissolves/FXs . . . of nada use really.

Perhaps somebody else would like to update us on this?

I've resorted to tapping the "M"arker key.

farss wrote on 5/24/2009, 2:08 AM
I think the question is not how to make a cut on the beat but rather what is the effect on the viewer of cutting right on the beat or slightly after (or before??) the beat.

It's a very good question and although I've 'felt' the difference I'm way out of my depth on this subject. I can offer the results of someone else's research that found that if you cut at random most people will think you have cut to the beat. Explaination is we notice the cuts that do land on the beat and ignore the ones that don't.

Grazie wrote on 5/24/2009, 2:37 AM
Ah! Yes . . got it.

What we expect HAPPENS what we DON'T expect doesn't happen. When I am doing editing I let the LOOP go and alter in real time. But the fundamentals of the psychology behind what we/I respond to will be enormous - and that for a first time viewer is even more so.

Good post!

musicvid10 wrote on 5/24/2009, 10:30 AM
I've resorted to tapping the "M"arker key.

That's the way to do it.
As to the timing, putting the visual cut on the beat or (usually) 1-2 frames early creates the kinds of effects I am after, which are admittedly pretty tame . . .
ritsmer wrote on 5/24/2009, 1:40 PM
Obviously I did not explain myself well enough. Sorry.

Of course we all use the markers to make the beats visible. My videos have several hundreds of markers set to mark the peak of the beats.

The question is where to look for knowledge about the psycology in making the cut not just always on beat 1 but also on 2 or on 3 (indicating continuity) or draw the cut some 5-7 tenths of a second after the peak of the beat (which clearly indicates a relaxed mood).

One of my last videos uses several parts of versions of Albinonis adagio - and in the last couple of minutes the cuts are drawn longer and longer after the peak of the beat giving an intense mood/feeling of the approching sad end of the story.

I have used such things for a long time and would like to learn more about it - and I am sure that there are several professional editors here who use this also?
rmack350 wrote on 5/24/2009, 2:07 PM
Jay Rose's Audio Postproduction book probably addresses this a little.

There are a lot of things to consider with this. It's good to know what you're feeling and why you're feeling it as you edit but I suspect that you don't want to end up with a robotic edit.

People do look for meaning and create it when they can, so they'll notice if a cut happens to fall on a beat. I'd see this all the time in film classes in the early 80s where we'd show a super-8 film accompanied by totally unsynched cassette tapes. You'd get some great accidental moments but when the moments weren't there nobody noticed. (The phenomena kind of shines a light on superstitions, I think).

I imagine that the danger of making every cut to a beat is you'd desensitize your audience. Not that you're talking about doing exactly that...

Rob Mack
farss wrote on 5/24/2009, 2:19 PM
I doubt I can help much and I'd not call myself a professional editor.
One thing I did learn working with a professional is that vision can have it's own rhythm. So you can create a mood using just the way the visual elements dance, then you add the music ... or not. The way this gent works is to start without the music, as it makes it hard to feel the visual rhythm.
I said "...or not" above because natural sound itself can add dramatically to a mood as well.
Only other comment I could add is that music is mostly composed or arranged to suit the vision and not every great composer is a good composer for a cinematic work.

JackW wrote on 5/24/2009, 5:43 PM
There's an interesting bit in Tom Wolsky's book on editing that sheds some light on this. The reference here is to only a couple of pages excerpted from the book.

PeterWright wrote on 5/24/2009, 6:21 PM
The thing is that any given guidelines will not apply to every piece of music, or every piece of video.

Listening to the music carefully and let it suggest points of change. And, as Bob says, the action/vision can also play a part in helping your decision

The joy of editing is that we have so many variations to play with - transitions, cuts, motion of and within the frame, visual effects etc. If you are musical, which is desirable if you are making music videos, let the music guide you. If there were hard and fast "rules", they'd all look the same, which would be boring .... and there are many examples of this.
musicvid10 wrote on 5/24/2009, 8:17 PM
If you can't feel the cuts, aurally and visually, you won't succeed no matter what the "method" or tutelage.

I imagine myself in a giant theater, watching the next LOTR, and wondering "what" would affect me, "when," and "why."

The instinct dictates the outcome. Without that, there is mediocrity.

(Yet to win my first award for editing, but hopeful!)
albert_kes wrote on 5/24/2009, 9:38 PM
"The question is where to look for knowledge about the psycology in making the cut..."

The answer at you in a head. You are an artist, here and draw as it seems to you beautifully. As you will draw, so the spectator and will apprehend your film (a clip, a roller, etc.) And if you do only how someone has told... It will be any more your film, and someone...

Grazie wrote on 5/24/2009, 11:59 PM
Albert! Spot-on! - g
albert_kes wrote on 5/25/2009, 5:20 AM
I have not understood you.
farss wrote on 5/25/2009, 6:05 AM
I'm surprised no one has mentioned the magic number three.

ritsmer wrote on 5/25/2009, 6:15 AM
My warmest thanks for all your good suggestions on this topic.
TorS wrote on 5/25/2009, 7:23 AM
Albert, Grazie means you wrote something good!

I think (!) that the rhythm of the cuts play an important part. If you cut to the first beat (of 4/4 music) for a while, the viewer will subconsciously adjust to that. Then you can make him "jump" by suddenly cutting to another beat. And you can make him experience an increased tempo by suddenly cutting at a different pace - slowing down or speeding up. But I think (!) that where you put the cut in terms of how many frames before or after the beat has very little psychological impact, because the brain adjusts to patterns so easily and willingly. It is the breaking of patterns that creates psychological impacts. But you must establish them first, before you can achieve anything by breaking them.

Earl_J wrote on 5/25/2009, 9:21 AM
I totally agree with what you say - the person creating the video is the artist; the artist should have the vision for what the video conveys; once that is determined, the artist weaves the video to present that vision and music to accompany . . . if we select the music first, we're making a music video, no?
"Spot on" is like hitting the nail right on the head.
_ _ _
If we're using the video to create the message, then the music should support that message ... not the other way around.
_ _ _
Wow... I just solved one of my own problems with my comments above... lol.
_ _ _
I also understand the question as not one of techniques, but one of research. Do people react differently (or similarly) to cuts on the beat, ahead of the beat, or behind the beat? Can the mood be altered by the differences between the music and the video? Those sorts of things.
I don't think the objective is a strict recipe, but more like a list of possible ingredients.
_ _ _

Until that time... Earl J.
albert_kes wrote on 5/25/2009, 5:37 PM
Problems happen different.
At cinema music sometimes sounds simply a background, and sometimes plays very important role. I saw as establish a soundtrack to a film. The composer looks a film and "draws" music that that occurs in a shot. The another matter - a videoclip, here already is ready music and it is necessary to establish video...
And people really react differently. It depends on many conditions: mood looking, what dimension of the screen (the house and at a cinema perception a miscellaneous), what àêêóñòèêà indoors, what illumination, even what weather behind a window...

P.S. And one more. Music is not only the rhythm, is musical phrases which have the beginning and the end. Even if you use music as a background all the same it is necessary to consider it.
Rory Cooper wrote on 5/26/2009, 12:47 AM
Very interesting discussion

I hope more folks give some feedback

I found that people react differently to the same cut
For example I was working on a golf clip with some animated golf ball shots and I changed it about 10 times to keep everybody else happy
This way ..that way….back to this….then that…
It became a nightmare ..i hated the clip and working on it…in the end I just did what I felt was right..

So you only have two options cut to your own perception or cut your wrists

Its your vision that you are sharing and that’s that…or…………………..??????????

Get the point……your options are endless….so don’t limit yourself