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Cutting from the heart

July 7, 2011

Maybe it’s the circles I mix in – which means I’m drawn towards people who like the same things, but this week I’ve had random discussions with design and social media experts about why human beings like to feel connected. It began with a conversation about things you can touch versus online digital products – the new Harry ‘Pottermore’ interactive site and the implications for the publishing industry being a case in point.

It led onto coffee cup rings on second hand books, the everyday jottings in Samuel Pepy’s diary and touching grooves in ancient monuments where thousands of other hands have gone before. It all adds up to an emotional attachment to people, places and objects which is part of our DNA – the ‘Humans Utd’ factor.

For me, clever design like Jonathan Ive’s Apple products, builds in the touch factor but how do you do that with films you can’t touch?

The Godfather of film editing Walter Murch suggests an ideal cut is one that is instinctively true to the emotion of the moment. All the other ‘functional’ factors, such as eye-trace and continuity are only significant if they serve the emotion of the story. If you have to sacrifice, always serve emotion first.

I’ve often watched films where there’s an emotional flatness about them which makes the audience less involved. We don’t care about the subject or the people. Not an easy thing to balance but for us, our mission is to ‘find the heart and tell the story’ in a way that is authentic and truthful to each subject. Our sign in the edit now reads ‘Humans Utd’.

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