A lot of people might have already heard about the film editor but have really know idea what a person with such kind of jobs does. Though a film editors are linked the movie industry, they are not like most celebrities who are very popular to most people. However, like the actors seen in the big screen, film editor work closely with the directors when making a film. Editors are basically in charge of the effects added to each scene of the move, rendering of the script in a linear fashion, and measuring the frames used in creating the movie.
On the other hand, the job of an editor does not stop with the tasks mentioned above. When editing a movie, the editor ensures that the all the minute details are included accordingly, subtle things/moments are noticeable, the emotions emanate beyond the screen, and all the necessary images and sounds are combined perfectly in a movie. A lot of people do not have an idea of what film editors do since they are not accustomed to giving interviews or explaining to people their jobs.
The work of an editor can be appreciated based on the kind of work that he did to combine different elements of the movie, such as dialogue, music, and sound effects. In addition, the editor ensures that the dialogues of the actor are delivered smoothly. The volume, other kinds of sounds, silence, and action-reaction shots are other factors that an editor should take note of when editing a movie.
THE FIELD OF FILM EDITING
In their line of work, one of the most important relationships that film editors must forge is the one with the directors. The film editors should have a deep understanding of a director’s visions for the film and they must be able to convey such message through the edited film.
At present, editors now sometimes experience not having any projects since the use of studio systems started to decline. Nevertheless, when editors are hired, they are burdened with a number of tasks. The work of an editor may increase depending on the number of camera positions that a director used when filming a movie.
Rhythm and musicality are some of the most important factors that can be used in assessing the quality of an editor’s work. Another important matter is that audience should usually do not notice the kind of editing done a filmed work until they see each frame of the movie.
On the other hand, editing of a movie comes usually unnoticed since it is more focused on the manipulation of the frames. In addition, most movie goers are not into scrutinizing every aspect of the film as they more interested on how the story that they are watching will unfold.
Editors would be much more appreciated if people could just see the primitive films of the old days. Back then, people noticed every bit of cutting and editing that had been made on the film. At present, there are more modern editing techniques that editors can use. When editing a movie, the editor’s primary focus are the moving pieces of film and the moving images on the film. That kind of focus can be hard to manage especially since multiple frames pass by the eye every second.
For most editors, they think that they have done their work when they are able to establish visual and emotional connections among the characters, relationships, and the environment of a movie.
Editors mostly work alone. However, they must still possess some work ethics, like organization, discipline, self-reliance, attention to details, and persistence. On the other hand, editors are sometimes required to work with other people, and thus, they should be capable of working and collaborating with other people, especially the director. Editors should be able to discern what the director wants to see in the movie but also know when to tell the director if what he wants to do with the movie can compromise it.
As soon as they start working with the film, editors should practice objectivity and do their best to avoid being immersed in the film that they are watching. Moreover, they should be able to point out right away if there’s anything wrong with the frames that they are seeing.
THE EDITING PROCESS
A number of editors begin their work by looking at script first. Editors usually analyze the script and assess the things that they can do in editing a movie. They should understand that they must restructure the film to some extent when they commence editing.
When editors have decided that to accept the job, they start working right away which may usually coincide with the duration of film production. Editors are also present during rehearsals, and they use this opportunity to understand the film better and note the possible issues that may arise with the actors. Editors are known to take notes, which they can use in refreshing their memories while in the midst of editing a movie.
An editor receives a raw footage everyday, which he shows to the director at the earliest opportunity. Then, the editor discusses with the director his visions for the film, and they assess the footage and decide which details should be included or the unnecessary ones that can be removed. With these important points in mind, an editor can start working with aims of making his editing as invisible as possible.
Usually, editors come up with an initial cut of the film as soon as the production process has been concluded. With the first edit, editors commonly stick to what was indicated in the script and see if what they have done would work. Afterward, editors decide if they should do some additional editing to the movie.
Oftentimes, editors are the one who possess the more objective views in editing, and they try to share these perspectives with the directors who sometimes become emotionally attached to their movies. Thus, in their working relationship, the editor should understand what goes inside the mind and the heart of the director and discuss with him the issues that they face in editing the film. They share ideas on the possible solutions that they can try and see which of them can help in achieving their common goal.
Obviously, editors are not emotionally invested with their work unlike some directors. As soon as they are done with editing a movie, they can already start on doing another project.
In some instances, editors have to collaborate with other editors, and this is usually a good thing. For one, they can delegate some of their work to the other editors and see the kind of editing that they can do. At present, collaboration of editors is becoming more common as studios are usually antsy to get the profits of their investments.
It is not uncommon for editors and directors to form long lasting working relationships. An editor and a director become long term partners when they are able to understand each other’s goals in creating a movie and the kind of things that they should expect when working together. Both should be able to understand his partner’s needs and try their best in meeting those to the best of their abilities. Basically, what an editor expects from a director is being provided with enough material that he can work on. When editors possess good coverage of the movie, which may include shots from different angles, various lighting positions and focus, and multiple takes, an editor can do his work much better.
The work of an editor is not perfect, and problems also commonly arise during the editing process. One common problem that editor usually encounters include an overwritten scene. However, a good editor should be able to address such problems. When doing any cuts, the editor must raise the issue to the director, they must agree regarding the scenes that will be produced after the editor has done his job.
Though editors shadow the director during the whole movie production process, there are instances when they should make decisions that are entirely their own. In addition, they should still see to it that they are following the director’s orders for the movie.
An editor’s vision for a movie can also be deemed important. In fact, a good editor is capable of turning a bad written story into a better one by just using their editing skills.
KINDS OF EDITING AND EDITING ISSUES
Editing work may vary depending on format and location of work. For example, in LA, editors are hired to edit commercials, documentaries, series, mini-series, TV movies, features, and many others.
With the various formats of visual entertainment that they see on the screen, viewers should be able to understand the story and have no idea what has been cut from what they are watching. Thus, in this aspect, the editor serves as a storyteller who ensures that a story is truthfully told through a motion picture.
Depending on location, the work of an editor may vary to some degree. There are editors who can’t join state-based organizational because they work in multiple locations. However, editors who work in various states should realize that it is possible to work with other people living in different areas as long as they remain professionals and leave out their emotions when it comes to work.
The kind of commitment that an editor possess can also vary based on is location. For example, in New York, there is competition among editors because of job availability, whereas in LA, editors are not that committed even though they think of their work very highly. Moreover, in LA, editors can choose to edit various media, like commercials, documentaries, TV series, mini-series, TV films, and others. On the other hand, work is more limited in New York because less people live there and thus, the knowledge of people in networking is not as broad as that in LA.
Another element that an editor must focus on is the performance of the actors in a movie. A scene is shot in multiple takes and an editor must view all of them before he decides to do any kind of editing. The same goes for the looping sessions, where actors re-record their dialogues for their scenes.
Though the editor wants to convey as much emotions as possible through the film, it is necessary that he also ensures that the film is technically accurate. And in this aspect, there are who think that editors are inconsiderate of their performance and would not think twice in cutting off their scenes from their movies. Thus, in the part of the actors, they should understand that the editor is only doing their job. In fact, it is the aim of the editors to show the best of their performances to the best of their abilities. The only thing that prevent editors from showing everything that an actor did in the movie are the technicalities that the movie must follow.
Another sign that the editor is truly on the side of their actors is their persistence in showing the talent in acting of the actors. Some movie performances may be bad but the editor can improve them to some extent by properly editing their scenes and their dialogues in the movie. In addition, editors are the first to see the quality of the performance of an actor, especially when the editor needs not to edit much of the scenes.
Editors can be considered as the first audience of a film. And as they do their best to edit a movie and relay its story to the audience in the most effective way possible, editors are currently facing the problem of accomplishing their jobs at a faster rate.
At least two weeks after the whole production process has been completed, the editor engages on his work in assembling the film. For the next two to three months, the editor and director will busy themselves in structuring and determining the final form of the movie. The final output may come out as a bit different from the original depending on how much the director will allow his creation to be edited.
During each phase of the editing process, the editor keeps in mind his task of transmitting a clear story to the audience, which he does by ensuring the proper use of visual language in the film. Thus, as what the audience perceive in the film are all images and sounds, the work of an editor usually goes unnoticed even though it is one of the major factors that determine a film’s success.
And when it comes to editing a movie, the editor achieves success due in part to his timing. This aspect covers the timing when a music or language enters in a scene, as well as their transitions throughout the movie. In order to accomplish this task, the editor should be disciplined, and sensitive and selective when it comes to his vision for the movie.
Depending on the theme of the film, the editor may employ a variety of editing styles. However, some issues may arise concerning the style that an editor uses in editing a movie. For example, an editor may be required to salvage some scenes which are vital in successfully producing a movie. This situation can lead to additional problems regarding the decisions made by the film crew in postproduction.
STAGES OF EDITING
In relation to the issue mentioned above, the postproduction process can be summarized in several stages. These stages are preliminary editing, rough cutting, and conforming.
In preliminary editing, the originally recorded images, called the work print, are viewed. Rough cutting involves the selection and organization of certain shots and scenes from the movie, whereas in conforming, the movie undergoes final editing.
Editors have the option of editing films electronically or mechanically as long as they which method fits the movie that they are working on.
Before editing, the editor is provided with a copy of the originally recorded film called the work print. Using the work print, the editor and the director discuss which of the takes must be included in the production. Usually, the editor, the director, and the producer assess the work they have done so far with the film to mark their progress.
As soon as the editor finishes viewing the footage, he proceeds with creating a catalogue before starting a rough cut of the film. The editor usually reviews what are called dailies to refresh his mind about the feel of the production and to have some ideas on who the movie should be edited.
Afterward, the editor sets on collating and organizing individual shots. Though the shots in the same location may indicate different times, the editors assemble just as they appear on the script.
During the collation and arrangement of the shots, the editor also begins refining the cuts and removing unwanted material like the outtakes.
Trims are the cut pieces from the shots which are used in the film. Trims are commonly secured on the pegs of a trim bin and are usually added again to the film when a specific cut fails to work for the movie.
In cutting or trimming shots, the editor must exercise proper care regarding the images and sounds that he removes. Basically, the number of frames removed with a picture should match the number of frames removed with a sound.
Preliminary editing can be summed up as the cutting and tape splicing of the work print. After making final decisions on film editing, the editor begin conforming the original film to the edited work print.
In digital editing, conforming involves the process of assembling the work print and encoding the sequence in the digital system. Only when the movie is ready for the screening does the conforming commence.
The editor gains access to each frame of the movie with digital editing. in this type of editing, the editors use film cut lists to conform the work picture, splice the negative, and arrange the opticals. Digital editing is beneficial because it allows for the sharing of a material in various workstations.
In digital editing, editors should still ensure that film dailies are synced and screened on a daily basis and the footages are properly processed. After printing, the dailies are segregated into 1000-foot roles and the takes are recorded in a codebook. The next step involves digitizing and organizing the film dailies using a digital editing program.
After syncing of the images and soundtracks and when the codebook has been included in the digital database, the telecine department uses the film dailies to transfer the film to video. After processing, the daily is rendered for screening.
Upon viewing the film, the members of the film crew realize their effort and greatly appreciate how they and their colleagues have worked hard in creating a film. And in this moment, the hard work of an editor would not go unnoticed.
Some people say that an editor’s work main revolved in bringing out the truth from a film and using it to tell a good story to the audience. However, it is a fact that they must be provided with a good material in order to achieve this.
Like in music, an editor must identify the rhythm of a story and play them accordingly for the audience. As they edit the movie and view the film repeatedly, the editor will notice some nuances that they address right away and keep working on until they are satisfied with interpretation and the emotional tone of the film that they are editing. And since a movie begins with a written script, the editor ensures that the message of the script is very clear in the final output.
And for those who are just starting their work as editors, they should keep in mind that simplicity is the best way by which a story of a movie can be told. It is like rewriting the script but by interpreting and editing the film with special consideration for the vision of the director.