EDiting an essential Directing Skill

April 15, 2010 by  

Editing The Essential Skill
Over the years I have learnt several different Film Making Skills. Many Film Makers are compelled to learn different skills so as to earn a consistant living from Film Making. Five years ago, I was earning most of my living from shooting other peoples films. In other words DOP work. I also had  gigs booming as sometimes it is difficult to find a Boom Swinger. And of course I spent years editing other peoples films. I believe of all the Film Making Skills, this is the essential for good strong Direction
When I first learnt to edit, we used Steenbacks. A Steenback use to be a very cumberson table where you placed your work print and physically cut the film on spools.  You then  spliced it back together with tape. Then after a painstaking cut, the Negative Matchers cut your negative and created prints either from the original or alternatively from  a Dupe Neg. You hoped that the Negative Matcher would get it right and cut your precious negative perfectly........... Scary. So much has changed in the technology and today we have the two most common  editing  professional  applications, Avid and Final Cut Pro.  I know there is a myriad of other editing software but the above two are favoured by professional editors.  Having worked on both old and new, I much prefer today's technology. Before we used to have numerous bins with different Work Prints hanging with labels. Today all my scenes are in Bin Folders on my computer. In the end no matter what the technology is, Editing is a skill that is as old as Motion Picture. It is one of the most important parts of Film Making. The only way to get good at it is to do lots of it. It is separate from knowing how to use a computer as it is in its essence Story Telling. The whole aim is to pull your audience into a scene. That is why I spent six months editing "The Makeover" and about four months on  "A Day in the Life".
As the budget was low on "The Makeover", I did all my own editing.  On a Day in the Life where we had a substantial budget, I had an editor.  When you have a good editor, you can really get the intensity of two people working on the cut. The Director can have a break and come back with a Fresh Eye and the editor can keep working on getting the next cut. In the end editing is very much a collaboration between and Editor and a Director and therefore it pays to learn to be an Editor initially so that you can work with and Editor as a Director later.
It also develops an eye for shots and coverage that is essential to strong Film Direction.
I recommend every emerging director learns how to edit as it will develop your shot choices for your Shot List and Storyboard. If you want to be a Film Maker, Make Films NOW. One of the quickest best ways to achieve this goal is to enroll on one of our Film Schools listed above.
Hope to see you there soon and in the meantime Have a Great Week.
Colm O'Murchu  Director

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