Editing Different Genres

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The key issues an editor faces when moving between editing the different types of production

I will need to understand the key issues of editing music video, documentary and drama, learning the skills and techniques each edit type requires. By learning what each type of edit needs individually I will be able to compare the different types of editing to find out the key differences in them. These differences will help me to find what the key issues an editor faces are, when moving between editing different types of production. I will also need to look at the relationship the editor has with their director in each, to find out how much free creativity an editor has over the production.

The modern editor, especially in the small New Zealand film and television industry, I feel must be versatile over multiple modes of editing. This research study looks at the key issues an editor faces when moving between editing the modes of documentary, music video and drama. Looking at the creative boundaries, skill’s, techniques and relationships an editor needs to successfully be able to edit each mode.

To find out what I need for this study I have Interviewed Michael, J Horton editor (Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers [2002], Goodbye Pork Pie [1981].) I also read various texts including, ‘Editing and post production’ a book of interviews with some of the worlds most elite editors, Walter Murch, Michael Kahn and Anne Coates to name a few. As well as watching the documentary The Cutting Edge: the magic of movie editing (2004) and reading online interviews.

To understand the role of an editor across the different modes, I first of all must explain generally what an editor’s role is and why it is an important role of every production.
The editors’ main role starts at the post-production phase. The editor is the one who collects all the pieces of raw footage and captures it onto the editing system. The Editor then goes through all the footage, usually with the director or producer, making notes on the useable footage or shots which the director likes/dislikes. If more footage is needed, depending of the mode of film it will be recognized at this stage and pick ups will be shot. The editor then takes out the unusable shots and arranges the good material in a unique and creative way that tells a particular story in a coherent manor. Editors are responsible for clarifying the story from all of the footage that the director has shot p3 TFV. Sound and music are added during the edit phase, as are any special effects. The editor must then shorten down all the material while adding a pace and rhythm to the film. "One frame off or two frames added is the difference between a sour note and a sweet note, its the difference between clunky clumsy crap, and orgasmic rhythm" (Apple, 2004) Editing has the ability to draw certain emotions from the audience, helping the audience to forget they are watching a screen but rather feel a part of the experience of the film. "An Editor is successful when the audience enjoys the story and forgets about the juxtaposition of the shots." pXX TFV


"Film dates from 1895. When the first motion pictures were created, editing did not exist." p3 TFV This is because "The first film makers simply photographed what interested or amused them, they held a shot until they got bored or the film ran out." (Apple, 2004). Editing did not exist because it could not exist. There was only an interest in showing moving pictures on screen, not telling a story. Because of this there was only one constant shot with no cutting. The idea of splicing two shots together creating the simple principle of editing came from Edwin S Porter, an employee of Thomas Edison. Porter discovered that you could have "two Shots filmed in...
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