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Editing exercise: clip 1

Here are some ideas, plans, and diagrams for potential editing exercises accessible from this clip.


  • options that allow students to experiment with foreground and background: implications for Griffith's ideological use of
historical romance
  • grafting romance onto historical tableau, panorama: using sentimental plot as an apologia for societal system
  • create technique whereby students can experiment with iris shots that emphasize the aspects of the scene taking place behind the genteel love plot: slaves, cotton fields
  • allow for the rearrangement of close-up shots to displace the ideological underpinnings of the scene: views of Elsie, the cotton bloom (i.e. cotton as a symbol of exploitation, set against scenes of slavery, rather than as a love token)
  • use of whites and blacks as foreground and background, respectively, implies hierarchy–use editing and masks to remove this hierarchy and focus on daily life of slaves (however sentimentalized in this depiction)
  • notice how iris shot serves to highlight romance between white characters