What is Kinetic Editing? Meaning and Examples from Movies.

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Definition: Kinetic editing is a video style emphasizing dynamic and energetic visual effects, transitions, and pacing. It uses fast cuts, quick camera movements, and rapid transitions between shots to create a sense of movement and excitement.

Kinetic editing is often employed in music videos, action sequences, and high-energy advertisements to enhance the overall impact and engage the viewer on a visceral level.

This editing style can help convey a sense of urgency, intensity, and rhythm in visual storytelling.

Example 1: “The Bourne Ultimatum” (2007)

Director: Paul Greengrass
Editor: Christopher Rouse

“The Bourne Ultimatum,” directed by Paul Greengrass and edited by Christopher Rouse, is a prime example of kinetic editing.

The film utilizes rapid cuts, shaky camera movements, and quick-paced editing to create a sense of urgency, intensity, and disorientation.

This style of editing is employed during action sequences and chase scenes, effectively immersing the audience in the high-stakes world of Jason Bourne.

The kinetic editing in “The Bourne Ultimatum” enhances the film’s narrative and intensifies the action.

This makes the audience feel like they are in the middle of the chaos, experiencing the adrenaline rush along with the character of Jason Bourne.

However, the rapid cuts and shaky camera movements sometimes make the Bourne movies hard to follow, especially in the fight scenes. I think it works great in car chases, though.

Example 2: “Pulp Fiction” (1994)

Director: Quentin Tarantino
Editor: Sally Menke

“Pulp Fiction,” directed by Quentin Tarantino and edited by Sally Menke, employs kinetic editing techniques to create a nonlinear narrative structure.

The film jumps back and forth in time, with scenes often intercutting to create a sense of parallel storytelling.

The kinetic editing in “Pulp Fiction” serves multiple purposes:

  • It adds an element of surprise and unpredictability, keeping the audience on their toes.
  • It keeps the audience engaged and constantly questioning the chronology of events.
  • It allows for simultaneously exploring different perspectives and storylines, creating interconnected characters and events.
  • The rapid editing pace heightens the film’s energy and style.

Conclusion

Kinetic editing is a dynamic and captivating style of video editing that utilizes movement, transitions, and visual effects to engage and immerse the viewer.

It adds energy and excitement to storytelling, making it an effective technique for creating impactful and memorable videos.

However, it may also be time-consuming and require specific technical skills. It can make it confusing for the audience to follow the action of a scene if not done appropriately.

Up Next: What Is Continuity Editing In Film?

Author

  • Jan Sørup

    Jan Sørup is a indie filmmaker, videographer and photographer from Denmark. He owns filmdaft.com and the Danish company Apertura, which produces video content for big companies in Denmark and Scandinavia. Jan has a background in music, has drawn webcomics, and is a former lecturer at the University of Copenhagen.

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