aaaaannnnddd…. ACTION!

But…what happens after “Action”?

The film starts rolling when the producer shouts these famous words. But shouting action doesn’t make a good video. Hours of preparation must be undergone before and after production to create a cohesive piece of work that portrays an effective message. Collaboration and creativity are the two necessities of a decent production and both happen during all stages of creating.

This post will focus on the post-production aspect of video creation. Arguably the most important part of any creation process, the refining, and manipulation of content can be time-consuming and stressful. However, it can make or break your end product. Editing should make a subtle impact on your message. It is used to refine your video to a sharp point so that the viewer would never guess it was stick before.

“if a program is created during the preproduction phase and developed into a solid story during production, then post production defines the story and brings it to life.”

The Aesthetic of Editing// Osgood and Hinshaw

Always keep the viewer in mind while editing (I always like to have an uninvolved third person party to review the footage). What do you want the viewer to notice? What do you want them to be critical of? Music, animation, graphics, camera angles, frame lengths, and sound effects tie together concepts in a neat package for the viewer to unwrap and discover. Watch this video for some awesome examples of effective editing.

“One of the reasons that I love editing so much is because it’s where everything comes together- the footage, the graphics, the music, the sound design, and ultimately, the story”

-Craig Lewandowski

Editing is a fine balance between the manipulation and continuity of time. There are two different kinds of continuity, physical and technical. Both are just ways to relate shots and to be consistent so that the viewer is not confused or misses an important part of the narrative. Jump cuts can also be used to interrupt continuity. However, common sense is an editor’s best friend! Use jump cuts when necessary or when you think they are beneficial for the viewer’s experience. Otherwise, you will end up looking like a Youtube Vlogger with distracting jump cuts that make no sense… like this guy points out.

“Editing is a dance of eyes”- Walter Murch

As an editor or director, you are leading the audience through the narrative. This means smoothing out any bumps along the road so that the viewer can appreciate the scenery. Keep your work consistent unless inconsistency is part of the narrative. In that case, keep it inconsistently inconsistent (don’t think about it too much). Montague and sequencing are other powerful tools used to compress or extend time and guide the viewer through the story. The word montage calls to mind the classic romantic montage where the couple is skipping through fields of wildflowers, then sharing a banana split at a local ice cream store, and then watching the sunset at the end of a perfect montage day. If that’s the kind of jelly you like with your peanut butter here are the six best romantic comedy montages. However, montage can be a powerful tool. A famous example that will be in any film studies class is the Odessa Step Sequence in Battleship Potemkin. The important part of the montage is that the shots are better together. Each feeds and gives meanings to the other shots creating a cohesive message over a variety of images.

A montage sequence usually uses the jumps cuts that we discussed earlier but if, for example, you have a dialogue between two people multiple options are at the editors’ disposal. Here is CineFix’s list of Best Dialogues of All Time if you want some examples. Okay now go back, watch it again, and pay attention to the editing. Without even recognizing it you, the viewer was manipulated. Imagine if those sequences were just one person talking the whole time. What the terrified faces of the boys in Pulp Fiction weren’t shown while Samuel L Jackson was talking about breakfast and hamburgers? Without those subtle edits, the whole meaning of the dialogue would be lost.

Okay now go back, watch it again, and pay attention to the editing. Without even recognizing it you, the viewer was manipulated. Imagine if those sequences were just one person talking the whole time. What the terrified faces of the boys in Pulp Fiction weren’t shown while Samuel L Jackson was talking about breakfast and hamburgers? Without those subtle edits, the whole meaning of the dialogue would be lost.

Without even recognizing it you were manipulated. Imagine if those sequences were just one person talking the whole time. What if the terrified faces of the boys in Pulp Fiction weren’t shown while Samuel L Jackson was talking about breakfast and hamburgers? Without those subtle edits, the whole meaning of the dialogue would be lost. The editing in that scene is able to convey in five seconds what would take a writer a whole page.

And that my friends, is the power of editing.

 

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