TV

This Fantastic Video Essay Celebrates The Creative Editing of Stranger Things

By  · Published on September 21st, 2016

An underrated element of Stranger Things’ success: its superb editing.

You may remember editor and video essayist Rishi Kaneria from his previous work, as featured on this site, including one exploring Why Props Matter. Kaneria has a keen eye for what I call the “craftsmanship of details” that often make our favorite movies and shows that much more memorable. From props to the masterful comedic pause to this new essay about Netflix’s Stranger Things, his perspective is one that deserves plenty of attention.

In this new essay, Kaneria focuses on the many creative transitional cuts employed by The Duffer Brothers and their editing duo of Kevin D. Ross (Californication, Southland) and Dean Zimmerman (Real Steel, Night at the Museum 2 & 3). As we whir around Hawkins, Indiana, we notice that not only are the using a number of interesting jump cuts, but there is also a great deal of tight shots – particular involving Millie Bobbie Brown’s Eleven – in which a character is reacting to something within their view, but it’s essentially behind the camera and audience. This is a classic way that horror films, particularly monster movies, use a simple camera placement to create a sense of dread. Before we ever see the threat, we see what it’s doing to the character in front of us.

The other thing you may notice is that a lot of the most creative transition work is built around the perspective of Eleven. And that there’s a great deal of narrative symmetry, especially as the show gets into its latter episodes and begins to unravel the backstory of Hopper. It’s brilliant work, further testament of the strength of Stranger Things being in the craftsmanship of details.

Watch Rishi’s video essay below.

If you made it this far, why not read more about Stranger Things?

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Neil Miller is the persistently-bearded Publisher of Film School Rejects, Nonfics, and One Perfect Shot. He's also the Executive Producer of the upcoming One Perfect Shot TV show (HBO Max, 2021) and the co-host of The Storm: A LOST Rewatch podcast. He can be found on Twitter here: @rejects (He/Him)