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Week 5 Video Diaries & Moving Images

Five Methods of Montage

“Editing feels almost like sculpting or a form of continuing the writing process.”
(Sydney Pollack)

As Sydney Pollack, an American film director, producer and actor, said that perfecting a movie through editing is just like completing the writing. On many films, there are certain less optimal footage taking in production phase, thus editing used to make a better on it. Editing as the selection and arrangement of shots is pointed as a cut takes place. Deep knowledge about editing delivered in theory of Montage – derived from the French and means to ‘put together’ or ‘edit’. There are five methods of Montage, they are: metric, rhythmic, tonal, overtonal, and intellectual.

First method of Montage is Metric editing, based on the length of a shot. Metric defined as the process of the editing follows a specific number of frames (based purely on the physical nature of time), cutting to the next shot no matter what is happening within the image. This montage is used to elicit the most basal and emotional of reactions in the audience.

The second editing method is rhythmic montage, based on both the length of a shot and the dynamics of the scenes. In other words, it also considers the rhythm of the action depicted. Rhythmic includes cutting based on continuity, creating visual continuity from edit to edit.

Next is the tonal editing method, which focuses on the lighting, shadows, and colors of the edited scenes. A tonal montage uses the emotional meaning of the shots—not just manipulating the temporal length of the cuts or its rhythmical characteristics—to elicit a reaction from the audience even more complex than from the metric or rhythmic montage.

The over-tonal method combines the first three methods in a holistic approach. It is the accumulation of metric, rhythmic, and tonal montage to synthesize its effect on the audience for an even more abstract and complicated effect.

The last and most complex editing method, and Eisenstein’s favorite, is the intellectual method. It creates new meaning through editing by combining shots on the basis of a conceptual connection between them. it uses shots which, combined, elicit an intellectual meaning


Siegler, R. (1968). Masquage: an extrapolation of eisenstein’s theory of montage as a conflict to the multi image film. University of California Press, Film Quarterly. Retrieved from


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