I first heard the phrase, imitate the eye, from Lou Davis. Lou is a photojournalist in North Carolina. “Capture the world as your eye sees it,” he’d say. I’ve taken this and applied it to my everyday editing.
When you are at an event. What does your eye focus on? Put those same shots together on the timeline. You’re now basically editing via imitating the eye.
Please watch Run Fast, Shoot Slow. This is a natural sound video I edited several years ago.
Let’s start with the opening sequence. I’m trying to make edits as close to the action as possible. So, a gun is shot, and it recoils immediately. Like in the edit at [:12]
and the edit at [:15]
Notice I don’t sit on the shot for more than a few frames before the action happens. Once the action happens, I move on to another shot. I’m attempting to imitate the eye as best as I can. I still need the viewer to comprehend the shot. If you were there at the shooting range, your eye would probably move faster.
Would your eye capture everything from the beginning? You would catch several things in mid-action. Just like many of my edits. Go back and look at my edits from [:10] to [:16].
Notice some of the shots the action of the gun being fired has already begun. Imagine if you were there. Wouldn’t your eye ping-pong around the shooting range just like that? Q
Please watch the story again and notice just how often I take an edit right on an action of just after the action has started.
Here are a few examples;
at [:17], the car door is already opening.
At [:27] running onto the firing range.
At [:41] going over the obstacle course.
The shot at [:47] I start the edit well after the participants have started running. If you were on top of the hill, watching this is where you head my turn and pick up the action.
Not every edit in this story follows the imitate the eye concept. I still have to tell the story. I do back-time natural sound moments, and I’m going back and forth with the interview, and there are a lot of other elements to the edit. For this post, I just wanted you to pay attention to your eyes the next time you are out shooting. When you come back to edit, try thinking about this concept.
Thank you for reading.