Imaginative Leaps

Associative montage

A sequence of shots linked together by a point of visual interest, usually an object. Dick says that a sequence or montage can be associative if they are linked with an object or visual similarity(Dick 17). It is better explained with an example, but in associative montage the scenes would lose an important piece of context without the key visual similarity between them. Here is a scene from Mission Impossible.

                The knife is the important visual cue in these scenes. Without it, there would be no cause for alarm from any of the characters, and it ties the reactions of the scenes together. There would be no mental inference from the audience if there was no knife. In fact, the whole scene of the worker coming in to the office and picking up the knife would be irrelevant if it didn’t create the mental “that was close” moment in the audience.

Match cut

Dick says this is a cut that is so smoothly executed that, to the viewer, there is no break into continuity where space and time are concerned. You might recall a time where an editor zoomed in to a spot of darkness and then zoomed out to reveal a new scene. In 2001: A Space Odyssey, there is a famous match cut where a caveman throws a bone into the air and the shot cuts to a spaceship in the future. The cut connects the images to inform the viewer that the bone, an early form of technology, has evolved into this spaceship. The smoothness of execution does not leave the viewer wondering, but transitions them seamlessly from past to future. This minimal break in immersion is the essential trait of the match cut. My example is from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. Skip to 2:40 if you don’t want to watch all of it.

                The purpose for this particular match cut is to create suspense like many of Hitchcock’s other cuts. He rarely ever directly films the violence of a scene. Instead, he likes to film small portions of it and let the viewers’ mind do the rest. This cut goes from a struggling, bleeding girl to her lifeless eyes moments later; leaving a little room for mental leaps.

Rack focus

A shot in which the filmmaker alternates between having the foreground blurry and background clear, and vice versa. This is used with the intention of concealing a portion of the shot until a certain time.

                Transitioning between blurry and clear areas in view creates a feeling of isolation of what is in view. It makes a sort of tunnel vision that makes what is in view more immediate and powerful. In the case of this scene, you get an added sense of dread when the raptor comes into view.

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