Too many notes
Niko Brinkmann lives as a freelance film and video editor in Hamburg. With his passion for the essential he edits suspense, emotion, and stories for ambitious brands. For us, he did no editing. But writing. About Mozart and the magical moments. A guest contribution.
There is a wonderful scene in Milos Forman’s movie “Amadeus”, telling an anecdote of Mozart’s life. The first performance of “The Abduction from the Seraglio” took place in the presence of Emperor Joseph II. There is something about the work the monarch dislikes. And after a short verbal exchange with his counselor, he explains to Mozart that there are simply too many notes in this musical piece. Mozart reacts with surprise and replies: “There are just as many notes, Majesty, as are required. Not more, not less.”
In my work as a film editor, I often remember these words. With every new project I question myself: “When does the film I am editing right now have the right number of frames? When does the rhythm of the images match perfectly with the rhythm of the music, the dialogues of the actors or the narrator’s voice from the off?”
Even after 25 years I sit at the cutting desk with the same fascination. Waiting for the magical moment that comes by when a film you’ve been working on for days or even weeks, suddenly becomes alive and makes me – his first spectator – laugh, cry or think.
Then I find myself sitting on my chair, touched, relieved, and with a certain complacency – until the door to the editing room opens. Though it is not Emperor Joseph II entering, but maybe the director, camera man or the client. Often, they explain to me that the film – especially the product shot – contains far too little images. But that’s a different story.