04 Oct Editing – The Unsung Magic Of The Film-making Business
Aspiring film-makers and home movie enthusiasts get most excited about the filming side of the business – fancy high definition cameras, bright lights, dollies, cranes and lots of glamour – but fewer understand the value of editing.
Hunched over a computer with a couple of screens in a darkened room going back and forth over a few vital seconds of film – editing is not glamorous. But I reckon it’s the most creative of the film making crafts. Deciding which bit of which shot to use, how to juxtapose shots for maximum effect, using music – above all boiling your material down to the bare essentials needed to tell the story and evoke emotions – that’s how great movies are made.
Or at least, how your holiday movies can be turned from a boring marathon to a fun highlights package.
Editing is all about making the sum worth more than the parts. It can pull together disparate bits of content into a seamless, magical story by subtle use of shot selection, imaginative audio, and careful pacing.
Take a look here – a 4 minute film about Karen Darke, an extraordinary Paralympian. Hopefully the first time you see it you’ll get drawn in and not notice the technicalities – so take a second look and think about the use of music, the relationship between Karen’s interview audio and the pictures, the use of hard cuts for impact and soft dissolves for seamless transition, for instance.
Clearly the power of the film is mainly down to Karen’s story and personality – but the editing helps to draw that out.
There are lots of cheap editing software packages out there – Adobe Premiere Elements is pretty good – so if you’ve shot a pile of video that you never watch, get busy!