Video Picks: Stranger Things- The power of the edit

Season 2 of ‘Stranger Things’ is just round the corner.

Created and directed by the Duffer Brothers, this ground-breaking series has all the ingredients to keep you on the edge of your seat and encourage you to keep watching. But how do they do that? Some say it’s all in the hidden art of editing.

Kevin Ross and Dean Zimmerman have worked as editors on the two seasons together with their assistants Kat Naranjo and Nat Fuller. Their job is to take the raw footage, select scenes and edit these together to advance the storylines of the show. A key technique in this process is the ‘cut’. Take a look at Rishi Kaniera’s short film, which picks out some examples produced by this talented team.


Credit: A video essay showcasing the 28 best cuts from ‘Stranger Things’. Edited by Rishi Kaneria (@rishikaneria). Music by Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein. Rishi makes fantastic film essays that show us how film-makers use key themes and techniques to drive plotlines and make films that captivate audiences. In this case, it’s the ‘cut’ – the process of going from one shot to another to change perspective and advance the story.

Want to see more? Take a look at Rishi’s other film essays on YouTube or Vimeo

Kaniera has picked up some great examples of how this technique is used to build tension in what’s to come, or dig up memories from the character’s past to explain more about a character’s situation.

From the match cut, contrast or smash cut; the jump cut to the cross cut; the dissolve to the cutting in on action, there’s lots of different names for using this technique in different ways.

Contrast and smash cuts usually take you from one extreme to another. No.5 takes you from Nancy in the Upside Down alternative world to Jonathan laying out his sleeping bag in Nancy’s bedroom as he prepares to spend the night and protect her.

Match cuts swap between scenes that have similar composition or visual or sound based references that link them. No. 22’s two pairs of characters hugging and the toy tiger in no.23 that introduces us to Chief Hopper’s back story are great examples. Also see no.27 where it cuts between Will and Jonathan, his brother listening to ‘Should I stay or should I go’ to Jonathan driving out of Hawkins to look for Will.
So your challenge now is to find more of these cuts in Rishi’s video essay or share your favourites from other clips on YouTube. Post them via @ual_insights using the hashtag #strangerthingscuts.

Interested in making films? Find out more about these different courses.

BA (Hons) Film Practice
BA (Hons) Production Arts for Screen

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