As most of my roles in creating films involve editing and the more technical side of producing a film I decide to do some research into what editing techniques are used in the horror genre and other horror films. This would help me get some ideas and help find out what techniques I should be using in my piece to make it as compelling and suspenseful as other horror films.
Editing horror pieces involves three things:
Colour for film is essential for creating and changing the atmosphere of shot and allows the director’s vision to come more alive. For example, dark blue and green colours can make a scene seem creepy and suspenseful (on the right) whereas warm yellow and orange colours (on the left) can help create a calm relaxing scene as seen in the picture below.
There are two terminologies for changing the colour of a film:
Colour Grading – this is where the colours of a film are enhanced so the colour black, red and green can be made darker or lighter. Colour grading is said to provide more of an atmosphere than colour correction which is why many horror movies use colour grading more than colour correction.
Colour Correction – this is where only a specific colour in a film is changed to make it look more clean and appealing. Colour correction is done by using curves which change the colour spectrum of the film. Curves can make a colour look brighter or darker and change the saturation of the piece.
Sound is probably the most important factor of making a horror piece suspenseful and engaging. It provides a film with atmosphere and is the key ingredient to making tension. Even if the image of violence is there, it is more engaging to the audience if detailed sound is used as it heightens their senses and immerses them more into the film. For example during post production sound can be made to be played in one ear. This is great for making a sound seem faint and far away. This can be done in software such as Premiere Pro with the audio mixer (see picture below) where you can set the sound to play in the left stereo or right stereo to immerse the the audience into the film and make sound effects seem more realistic.
This can be mainly done by the director of photography and the director them selves but can also be done in post production. For example changing the angle of a shot can change the atmosphere and inflict different emotions onto the audience. For example in the title sequence of Insidious the perspective is changed as the image twists 180 degrees to reveal that the circular light is actually a hanging light in a child’s bedroom. This twisting motion of the camera suggests that the world is out of kilter and all is not that good within the house.
My research were conducted from these sites: