Movie Editing: Alternating & Parallel


The storytelling in a movie can be done with different kind of stylistic languages. From a technical point of view it is interesting to investigate the appearance of scenes editing. Specifically we are writing here about two editing typologies that are used to give strength to the story, that are alternating and parallel.

Alternating editing is the temporal arrangement of alternating shots. The different shots tell of two or more events taking place simultaneously and in different places that are destined to converge. Imagine the scene of a chase between two cars: the first car will have an advantage of “position” on the scene a few meters. Closeups of two cars take turns until they reach a unique space at a given time.

Griffith in movie “Birth of a Nation” used this method.


15060013601_c44df80626_o Schermata 2016-03-01 alle 16.09.56  Birth_of_a_nation,_1915,_raccordo_di_azione

The parallel editing instead, is useful to bring out a meaning from a comparison of different actions. At the same time here, it is not necessary and the individuals continue on their way out of parallel lines that never meet. The combination of events is so symbolic. The contrast between goodness and evil, between poverty and wealth is excited through this way of editing.

The movie reference here is “Battleship Potemkin, Strike” of Eisenstein.



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