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Using Visual Vectors When Editing

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 3/10/2010

Vectors are important for maintaining visuals continuity from shot to shot. In this article we will discuss graphical vectors, motion vectors, continuing vectors, and diverging vectors.

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    In The Editing Bay

    Once you have finished your digital video recording you are ready to get to your computer and begin editing. Cutting together what you have just captured with your camera can seem like an insurmountable task, especially when you are trying to maintain continuity both for your story and the visuals. Video, as a visual medium, relies on visual ques to communicate the tone and progression of the project. One aspect that is important to use for this editing are Visual Vectors, which are inherent both in the environment and the action you have recorded. There are four types of visual vectors - graphical, motion, diverging, and continuity.

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    Graphical Vectors

    Graphical Vectors are vectors that are inherent in the inanimate objects of the scene. These include the lines and shapes of all the buildings and things in an environment. These are visual signals to the audience that define the nature and feeling of an environment and how it relates to the action occurring there. One important way to maintain continuity between video clips is to maintain the Graphic Vectors by making sure that lines and angles remain the same, or similar in nature, to the ones before it if they are the same scene. This will allow the audience to always feel that they are in the same place.

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    Motion Vectors

    The most important Visual Vector to look for in continuity is Motion Vectors. These vectors are generated from movement on the screen, like someone walking from one side of the screen to another. You have to use Continuing Vectors in relation to these, which means that each clip cut together should maintain the same direction of motion. Do not change the direction of motion or cut to a clip where the motion has suddenly stopped because then the Motion Vectors will have been broken and the audience will feel lost. The same goes for Diverging Vectors, which is when the motion of two objects is the opposite of each other. If this is established in the scene it will break continuity if this is suddenly reversed.

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    Special Attention

    As long as you take a special attention to what will keep the visuals consistent then you can trust that the audience will be able to connect with the visual and plot-flow throughout your video. Keep an eye on maintaining Graphical, Motion, and Diverging Vectors, just as much as you keep continuity with dialogue and action. These elements are just as important to this medium.