Looking Back at a Year of Craft

The Influencers 194 Add to collection
INFLUENCER: Ahead of Cannes Lions, Cut+Run’s Rebecca Luff considers some of her favourite work from last year’s awards
Looking Back at a Year of Craft

Midsummer tends to be when I start thinking back on my favourite edits of the past year. The first awards shows and festivals of the season bring much of the best work back into the light; wonderfully crafted work I’d hoped would get the attention it deserves, work I’d forgotten I loved, and great work I’d somehow missed out on completely. 

It seems that much of the latter category comes to my attention after the Cannes Lions winners are announced - work from around the globe that gets a well-deserved spotlight shone on it for the 'international festival of creativity'. Actually, looking at last year’s winners, one of the edits that really blew me away was from a piece of work I’d never seen before. 

Certainly, some of the big winners were the year’s biggest ads: I loved CBS Sports 'Teasing John Malkovich' for its humour and self-awareness, what a beautifully-crafted piece of storytelling; and iPhone 7 Plus 'Barbers', again what a witty piece - the transitions between people and photos on the wall are magical! This work picked up silver and gold for editing, respectively.

My personal favourite, however, was Madhya Pradesh Tourism 'World’s Most Honest Tourism Film', which went home with a bronze Lion in the category. I’d never seen this before and it’s so well-executed; the music track choice is so perfect, every edit effortlessly marries musicality and humour. By the end you feel so uplifted as a viewer, it makes you smile the whole way through and definitely does an effective job of enticing you to India. I wish I’d worked on all of the above, but this is the kind of film where you sit back after watching and say, 'I really wish I’d cut that'. Personally, I feel that editing humour and working with stills are among the most gratifying things to do as an editor. Both allow you to have fun and play with the craft, which it feels to me that this editor has done in bucketloads.

Interestingly, both 'Barbers' and 'World’s Most Honest Tourism Film' use photographs as a thematic and stylistic motif. Social media, the selfie and the advent of the perfect holiday snap for your Instagram feed probably had something to do with this, but it also prefigures a big trend I’ve noticed in editing over the past year - a trend towards breaking the fourth wall, and specifically, the use of portraits within that.

I’m not sure when this trend started exactly, it’s obviously been present and used beautifully as a tool in the past; while at a recent industry panel event, I was reminded of how this portrait motif is used powerfully at the end of the C4 Paralympics 'Meet the Superhumans' edit, way back in 2012. This also reminded me that it’s a motif that I used across the 2015 'Made in the Royal Navy' series, directed by Max Fisher. 

This year however, I’ve noticed this technique is more present than ever - reflected in a lot of the work that has seen success, deservedly so, in the year’s UK awards ceremonies. Nike 'Stop at Nothing', H&M 'Take the Lead', Apple 'Unlock', Nike Football 'The Ball Makes us More' and 'Every Lesson Shapes a Life' for Department of Education - incredibly crafted work, all of which features at least one worldless, direct gaze at the camera.

I’m curious as to why this technique has become so prominent. I wonder if we are craving more face time in this digital world? We’re so used to seeing selfies and being addressed directly through Instagram stories that perhaps it’s a natural progression that this should creep over unnoticed. Or maybe I’m over-thinking it and this technique is a simple call to action - having direct eye contact with someone certainly invites you to be a part of their world and/or take a look at yourself, and in doing so contributes to great advertising. Many of this year’s shortlisted edits share a common theme of social activism or awareness, so this kind of prominent call to action makes sense.

Regardless of the reasoning, the above edits that have used this technique have done so effortlessly and to great effect. Beyond that, they all deserve a chance at taking home a Lion. I wish everyone that gets shortlisted this year my congratulations and the best of luck. I look forward to catching up on some of the international work I missed throughout the year, and seeing whether this 'fourth wall' trend in editing is just a UK thing...

I’ll finish by noting one of my favourite edits from this year, Beats 'Unleashed' - clever idea, brilliantly executed, definitely worth checking out if you haven’t seen this yet. Hats off to the editor on this one, very jealous! 

Sign up to our newsletters and stay up to date with the best work and breaking ad news from around the world.

Genres: People

Cut+Run UK, 11 months ago