Mastering Timing in Post-Production of a Horror Movie


Horror films are always on the top of the list, to watch movies during sleepovers and friend’s get-togethers. The suspense created will ensure people will come back for more. To create this kind of effect, the editor has a lot of work cut out for him. The editor, a video editor to be precise, has to plan the proceedings if he wishes to have a fantastic turnaround, meticulously. 

Timing Is Key

The more you build on anticipation, the more suspense is built up. The best way to create this anticipation is pacing the clips by timing them correctly. A video editor can use specific guidelines as a foundation to build the suspense by using the tools for timing and pacing the clips.  You will can get a response from the audience by working on the length of the clips. Short, fast-paced clips will create confusion, and the audience will not be able to obtain a clear understanding of the happenings on screen. A sense of urgency is felt when there is quick cutting along with clips that are fast paced. The audience perceives that things are happening at haste when that occurs. This method can be utilised when a lot of action is involved, and you need to show more than one perspective. Using handheld cameras and close-ups help with creating urgency when required.

Suspense is built by including uncut extended clips. Progression is anticipated when tension builds up on screen, regardless of if it is because of a character, a new element being introduced, or a new perspective given. A change is anticipated when a shot is held on-screen for an extended period. This increases discomfort and anticipation which gets pent up. The pent-up distress needs to be used to reveal a big surprise which will bring about success as it satisfies the expectation. It’s tricky to hold onto a shot without having to lose the attention of the audience. The obstacle can be overcome by including the extended shot after building up the tension; this way you know the audience is already on your side.

When it comes to eliciting a response from the audience, two different clips with extreme schools of thought on editing can give you similar results. The lesson you need to remember is that various shots work together when they are put together as a sequence, but alone they will become useless. This is precisely why an editor should always keep in check the pace and rhythm of the content they edited and connect it to the story told. They also need to consider the target audience in association with the content of the clip. The threshold of tension tolerance differs with the kind of audience. Knowing the positives of the audience helps the editor gauge their attention span.

The shot in itself has a huge role to play in a scene filled with suspense, and this is in addition to the timing and pacing of the shot. The editor receives footage that is created with much planning and hard work. However, that is not the end; in most cases, the journey would just have begun. A good horror movie has composed shots with subjects being blocked so that the audience is up for a grand revelation without having the protagonist understand the essence of the scene.