Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Editing techniques: Penny Dreadful

Penny Dreadful

Editing Techniques and their effects:

Cross Cutting/Parallel editing

This editing technique is used mainly in the beginning of the clip where it shows the two characters, Ethan and Vanessa, in two separate locations at the same time, (Ethan is held captive on a boat taking him back to America whereas Vanessa is left in London, alone). This shows the audience how the characters are still emotionally connected even though they are physically apart. The use of the non-digetic spoken letter from Ethan to Vanessa along with the sad music emphasises the loss of their relationship through the loss of each other. This effect is supported by this editing technique as it shows the characters have been physically parted, though they are still emotionally connected at the same time, making the audience feel sympathetic towards them, echoing the words that are being spoken along with the sad tone of the music.

Continuity Editing

The chronological presentation of the narrative is used throughout the entire clip (showing Vanessa's perspective) as the series of events that are taking place are chronological and are there to represent the passing of time/the character moving on. Action matching is incorporated into the continuity sequences to give the impression of time passing along smoothly. These cuts follow Vanessa through her house, turning off all of the lights and leaving the dark rooms behind her, this shows her leaving the past behind and accepting her new life alone. As an audience, we also feel as though we are moving on/being left behind as the camera is left in the dark and Vanessa is shown to be walking away from the camera, involving the audience in her acceptance.


A cutaway shot is used at the beginning of the clip to briefly show where Ethan is before we are transported back to London to see the effect of his letter on Vanessa. I believe this is simply to give context to the scene so that we know they have been parted and he is in a worse place than she. This is effective as it shows Ethan is struggling just as much if not more than Vanessa, yet he is still trying to console and convince her that everything is going to be ok. This reinforces the heartbreak/desperation that the audience feel as we are temporarily given an omniscient viewpoint as we can see the situation that both of the characters are in whereas they don't know what's happening to the other.


This could be seen in this clip as we aren't shown how Ethan came to be on the boat and the camera doesn't stay with Vanessa constantly. This is representative of the fact that both characters are distraught and otherwise disorientated due to their stress and sadness. By not constantly updating the audience on both characters whereabouts and emotional stability, we are also disorientated as an audience, creating an uneasy atmosphere.

Linear Narrative

The whole clip is linear in terms of how events are timed. We know this as Vanessa moves continuously and chronologically throughout the house, turning off each light as she goes. This helps the audience to understand what is going on by giving them checkpoints in her narrative to go by and piece together where she is going and what she is doing. It shows her final developments as a character as she goes from being paranoid and terrified to becoming cold, unfeeling and accepting of her fate/doom.

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