RMIT Editing Assignment – Critical Reflection


As soon as we edit something we are making a choice about the story we are telling. What do we want the viewer to see or not to see? What type of ‘truth’, ‘reality’ or fiction are we attempting to convey? In film there are two key methods or approaches to editing, continuity editing and montage editing. Continuity editing is the dominant editing mode for mainstream films and television. Here the editing is made as non-intrusive as possible to create a logical coherence of time and place. Montage editing does not seek to hide the edit transitions rather it makes apparent the juxtaposition of shots often to create an association of ideas rather than attempt to recreate reality.

Montage editing was a driving force in the development of filmmaking techniques arising out of the work of Soviet filmmakers in the 1920s. These politically driven innovators were looking for a way of communication not based on the narratives of traditional theatre, grounded as it was on a sequential narrative that maintained a temporal and spatial logic. Eisenstein shot this to pieces with his use of montage, which he described as ‘an idea that arises from the collision of independent shots’ (S Eisenstein, A Dialectic Approach to Film Form, essay from Film Form, 1949, New York). Eisenstein’s film Battleship Potemkin (1925) is seen as a great example of montage. Another extremely graphic and powerful example is his film Strike (1925) where the violent assault on striking workers is intercut with the slaughter of cattle.

For this assignment I have used montage editing. My previous experience with editing has been working on my documentary ‘I’d Rather be Surfing’ which was shot in an expository style. I have used montage for this piece to extend my editing experience but also to respond to the challenge of incorporating somewhat random content based on different topics collected over the semester. The title of this short video is Play Ball.

The initial single take group video showed a young woman eventually succeeding at shooting a basketball through a hoop. I have also used a sourced video of a young boy focusing with great concentration on shooting a basket. I repeat this shot in slow motion segments throughout the clip to create a sense of anticipation as he and the others take aim and shoot at the basket.

I have collided sounds of basketball, of children at play, of men playing basketball and of urban travel together with images of a young boy, a young man and a young woman attempting to shoot a basket.I incorporated my images of workers in an office whose memories of and longing for play are evoked when they are offered to pose with a basketball. I chose a fast paced, hip-hop sound track to pull this all together.

The montage editing brings together random elements around the focused intensity of the young boy shooting the basket. Its layered sounds bring together the world of work and play and the penultimate slow motion shot contrasts well with the fast pace of the rest of the piece.

Credits for Play Ball

As part of this assignment I have used my own content as well as content provided with permission. The content I have sourced online can be found below.


Dublin Forever, by Dan-O at

Additional Audio

Indoor Basketball by Tomlija

Basketball Bounce, Freesfx as per End User License Agreement

Basketball swishing through hoop, Freesfx as per End User License Agreement

Additional Stills

A Tram in Downtown Melbourne, by,  Creative Commons Attribution 3.0

Basketball hoop by Washington and Jefferson College, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike

Basketball shot, US Navy,  Public Domain


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