Cutting together an action sequence requires a vastly different set of techniques than other types of editing.
In these sequences, it's your job as an editor to maximize the impact (quite literally) of every single frame and every single cut, emphasizing the kinetic movements onscreen and creating a believable, visceral experience for the audience. So how exactly would an editor go about accomplishing all of this? In a cool new video, Ryan Connolly at Film Riot shares some simple, highly effective Premiere Pro editing tips that will help you take your action scenes to the next level. Check it:
Minus the fact that Ryan mentions his HP laptop like 15 times (which does look pretty great, if we're being honest), there are some really useful Premiere Pro editing tips here. Here's a quick rundown of the two most impactful ones: Subtle speed ramps: Instead of speeding up your action clips in their entirety, try keyframing and bumping up the speed at critical moments. The idea here is to make the clip feel like it's playing at regular speed, but make the high impact moments feel more energetic. To keep it from feeling unnatural, you'll probably want to take it easy with your speed ramps, maybe only increasing the speed by 10% or so. Strategically removing individual frames: This is one of the coolest techniques that I'd never thought of, but it's super effective for emphasizing impacts in a fight scene. Simply find the moment someone's fist or foot (or whatever implement of destruction they're using) makes contact with its target. Remove one frame and then close the gap in the timeline. This effectively creates a tiny jump cut and makes the impact feel more dramatic. Ryan does a few other things throughout this video having to do with audio and compositing (mostly for the purpose of showing off the laptop), but for all of you editors out there, those two tips above will definitely help you add some serious energy to your fight and action scenes. If you have any of your own editing tips for enhancing action, be sure to leave them down in the comments!