How to edit film.
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As a film editor, your fingerprints are all over the finished product, even if the average moviegoer doesn’t notice it. A movie wins an Academy Award and the visible crew and cast members get the accolades. The directors, stars, and writers get the acclaim. But without good editing, most films have little chance of seeing the podium.
In 2018, all five Best-Editing nominated films were nominated for Best Picture. In 2017, three of the five nominations were up for the Best Picture Oscar. And again in 2016, all five editing nominations were also on the Best Movie slate. In fact, the last best editing Oscar that wasn’t nominated for best picture was The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo in 2011.
Obviously, being a film editor for a feature-length movie is a lot more than splicing in a few jump cuts and layering in sound effects. While there are technical aspects to film editing, editing techniques also allow individuals to put their own particular spin on the story.
Take a look at two recent winners, Margaret Sixel (Mad Max: Fury Road) and Tom Cross (Whiplash). One film describes a maniacal despot that bends followers to his will until a new arrival finally deposes him. The other film was edited by Sixel. All jokes aside, both films emitted an air of despair despite the differences in times, settings, and genres.
Both Sides of the Editing Coin
The editing process can be a tedious one. After weeks of shooting and hours of film, it’s the editor’s job to put it all together. Movie making software like Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere Pro and digital film have replaced the old splicers and tape used on celluloid. The cutting room floor has been replaced by a little trashcan icon.
While that’s certainly an advantage when it comes to saving time, editors still need to know how to mark clips and set them in the timeline, adding sound to a sequence, and finding out exactly what R Ripples, Slides, and Slips are.
Movie making software makes that easier, and YouTube is jam-packed with tutorials to help you get past the rough spots when learning it on your own. The key here is to never stop learning how to use the software to your advantage. If this is just a hobby, filming and editing highlights of your friends at the skate park on the weekend is fine.
If you want to make a career out of film editing, you’ll need to spend a lot more time learning everything the software can do for you. And that’s just half the battle.
Telling a Story
Being a film editor is more than knowing the different types of cuts or making sure the audio and visual match up just right. A video editor has to have an editing style, a way of showing a story that makes it that much better. Whether it’s a short film, a music video, or two-hour epic, key edits can make that 120 minutes just fly by.
This is why editors have to be a student of suspense films, a coach of comedy, and a honcho of horror. If you’ve never seen a movie, you probably won’t make much of an editor. Of course, even if you’ve seen every Oscar winner for best editing over the past two decades, it doesn’t mean you’ll be a great editor, either. Especially if you don’t know why they won.
Just like with the technical side of editing, it makes sense to spend time learning how to tell a story. Why this angle works better than that angle. How to hold a beat before bringing in a thunderous clap of music. Or even when to remove all sound for a few seconds.
Practice is good. It’s great even. It’s the only way to get better. At some point, however, you’ll need guidance on how to edit a video or film. Online tutorials can be good for the technical side of things – searching for “how to use final cut pro” brings more than 900,000,000 results! Finding the same for the storytelling side of editing will require a lot more digging.
With Film Connection you can get both the training which will enable you to grow your technical and narrative chops at the same time.
We’ll Give You A Start
Our unique method places an extern into a real-word production company where they’ll work side-by-side with a mentor. In addition to editing, you’ll learn everything that goes into making a commercial, documentary, or even a feature film.
As we said before, if this is just a way for you to kill time with your buddies, then Film Connection for Film Production and Editing probably isn’t for you. However, if you truly want to know as much as you can about the industry, both the mechanical and narrative sides of editing, and are willing to work hard for it, apply today.
FIlm Connection programs and workshops cost less than a traditional 4-year university, trade school, or junior college and we have locations spread out over 43 states. Perhaps the greatest benefit of externing with us is the connections you’ll make. With us, you can be externing inside of a working, professional setting and meeting people working in the industry right now. Are you ready?
Show them how hard you work, how responsible you work, and just how much talent you have, that might be worth the price of admission alone. Prove yourself to your mentor, and their connections, and you’ll be on your way. If you have the drive, the passion, and the determination, all that’s left for you to do is apply.