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What is Editing?
Lucy Harris
What is Editing?

Although it is most often seen as a solitary process, editing can be as much about working with other people as working on your own. This can be through choosing to work with an editor, (the director/artist/editor relationship), sound designer, graphics and effects editor, a producer, or through your relationship with the film laboratory. Working with other people may be for purely technical reasons, e.g. the lab has the equipment to process the film, or it maybe a creative decision - to get other perspectives, skills and creative input on the project. Specialists can respond to projects in unexpected ways and see aspects to be expanded, that you may not have considered because of being so close to the project. I recently met a very experienced sound designer whose approach to a project offered a fresh perspective. As we were viewing the film it was clear from his questions that he saw the film primarily through the sound. He wanted to understand how the sound in a cold quiet dead space had ‘felt’ around the directors ears when she was filming. He went on to explain that sound travels slowly if it’s very cold, faster when hot. It was a pleasure to witness someone’s excitement over aspects of the film which he could see come alive.

In my own experience as an editor and artist filmmaker, the best partnerships are where a level of trust has been developed. The ‘director’/filmmaker has to feel comfortable not being in direct ‘hands on’ control anymore, but still actively engaged in the process through dialogue/direction and discussion. In fact it can be a liberating experience to sit back from any ‘controls’, and be able to just concentrate on the film itself.

Part of an edit, even if you are working on your own is to have some sort of schedule – however loose, and stretched over however many months. This is imperative when working with other people. The edit can have a nasty domino effect if deadlines start to be missed. So keeping track of yours and other people delivery deadlines is crucial.

Schedules are often optimistic so it’s not unusual for edits to overrun. It’s best to try and recognise early on if things are not on schedule, and re-assess the project.

see Collaboration

Logging notes for ‘Sideways’ (16mm film Lucy Harris)
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