The process of making a film is one of many stages: pre-production, production, post-production, and everything in between. During post-production, many different sets of eyes watch the film numerous times while editing is underway. But, of course, editors aren’t perfect and are still only human, so most of the time continuity errors aren’t detected and later found in the already finished product.
When watching your favorite film, or going to the theaters to go see the latest release, as audience members we get so invested in the story that most of the time we don’t notice these mistakes made by editors. But if you’re a major movie buff, you may take the time to find these mistakes and point them out in a YouTube video.
Film editor, Sven Pape, has sat staring at Final Cut Pro for hours editing films like Mark Webber’s The End of Love, Good Time Max starring James Franco and L.A. Twister. In a recent YouTube video, Pape evaluates some of Hollywood’s most iconic films, and points out some of the mistakes missed. He even looks at his own film, The End of Love, and points out continuity errors he never noticed before.
When it comes to continuity errors, depending on how bad they are, they can either be distracting to the viewer, or just blend in with a scene and go unnoticed. In Pape’s video, he includes scenes from Shutter Island, Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Wars, and more, all of which are guilty of goofs. He said notable film editor, Thelma Schoonmaker, worked on many Martin Scorcese films, including the Wolf of Wall Street. This film has won awards, been recognized as a must-see movie, however it also has its share of movie mistakes.
According to Pape, Schoonmaker said in an interview continuity errors in films should not be so focused on, and audience members should refrain from getting fussy over them.
“The priority is is absolutely on the best take for performance, and frankly I don’t understand why people get so hung up on these issues. It doesn’t matter, you know why? Because you’re being carried along by the power of the film,” said Schoonmaker in the interview.
Schoonmaker does have a point. When the story and performance of the actors in the film is strong, any errors an editor might cringe over may not even be realized by the viewer. The concentration is on Leonardo DiCaprio, after all.
However, there are some viewers in the audience who may have went to film school, and can’t help pointing out the errors they pick up on. Nonetheless, that is only a small majority, and if they are spending time looking for these mistakes, they probably aren’t taking in the film in its entirety.
Walter Murch, film editor for Apocalypse Now, created a six-point guide editors should refer to before considering making a cut. When looking at a particular scene and deciding what to trash, editors should consider: emotion, story, rhythm, eye-trace, 2D plane on the screen and 3D space of action. If the scene meets any of these criteria, the editor should probably reconsider trying to cut out the mistake, and just let it happen. Most likely, no one is going to notice it.
What do you think of continuity errors? Do you find them distracting, or hardly ever notice them?
[Featured image via Flickr]