Die Hard Editing Concepts - OFFICIAL DISCUSSION


One of the first run-ins Joey had with film editing was through a special feature on the Die Hard 5 Star Collection DVD. It was an interactive “Editing Workshop” which allowed you to choose different takes and angles from two scenes from the movie, and edit each scene together yourself.

By comparing the difference options available to you against the final film, we get a unique look into the editors’ decision-making process. Joey walks us through the workshop to demonstrate these “die-hard” concepts that are essential to film editing, as well as examples of how other films have used them to great effect.

Have questions for @JoeyScoma? Ask 'em below!




You mentioned that cutting from a moving shot to a still shot typically doesn’t work, but can be broken in some cases, especially in scene transitions where you want a cut to be sharper. But are there moments inside of scene where cutting from a moving to still would make sense?


@JoeyScoma has the more encyclopedic memory and can probably talk about this more but in an early version of this essay, he had an example from THERE WILL BE BLOOD during Daniel Plainview’s baptism scene. The camera starts as a slow push-in and cuts to a medium close-up of Daniel. It’s interesting because it breaks the rule but isn’t distracting at all, perhaps because it fits the tone and perspective of that scene. I also think it works because it’s cutting from movement of camera to movement within the frame (Daniel’s head and expression). I bet that movie is ripe with examples.


Chase scenes, adrenaline rush cross-cutting, & montages are all common places to ignore this principle. Within a scene is a little harder to find but Here’s an example from Enemy of the State that break the continuation of camera movement.

If you’re interested in editing camera movement, I’d recommend Jerry Bruckheimer and/or Tony Scott movies, I’m sure there are plenty of cuts like this throughout their films because the coverage is all over the place. Moving/ static/ dolly/ crane/ pan/ tilt/ handheld/ etc… this works because the inconsistency creates it’s own style and tone. If you’re intention is to disrupt the flow and create unease then go for it! If the stakes are high enough, it’s exciting not knowing where the stories going to go. Cutting between everything can certainly get the heart pounding.