Post-Production : Editing - video essay by Geoff Hall

Geoff Hall

Editing - video essay

Every Frame a Painting has some great video essays and I think this is one of the best, or maybe I should say this one has resonated with me the most. How does and Editor think and feel? Really teaches me as a Director to consider both the shots I want to take to make the scene, but also about instructing the actors that before I call 'cut' I'll wait for an emotional response. The eyes have it, as they say. What is the big takeaway from this essay. For me it is Timing = rhythm + emotion. Enjoy. https://youtu.be/3Q3eITC01Fg

Jonas Cox

Cool that they took time to demonstrate those concepts. Not to nitpick (well, I'm an editor, we all do!), but they wonder "If editing is instinctive, how do you learn it?". I would invert that: If you can learn it, it's not instinctive.

Geoff Hall

Hi Jonas, indeed. But I suppose you have to learn the tools of your trade. Maybe that's as far as training can go? The writer in me wants to play with the meaning of that question and change the accent. "If editing is instinctive, HOW do you learn it?" Best, Geoff

Jonas Cox

Hi Geoff. My thinking exactly. You can learn something that is instinctive to others, but for you, it would not be an instinct, in the strict sense of the word (i.e., innate). But I don't think that editing is instinctive. Yes, there is something ineffable in that some people "know" what works and what doesn't (though, if you show two different cuts to a non-editor, they can usually pick the "optimal" one). But editors aren't born knowing that you should establish with a wide shot, go tight for emotion, and end on a wide, receding shot. Rather (in my opinion), they bring their own life experiences, empathy, and powers of observation to an established art form/human construct. From there, if they absorb themselves in the material and expose themselves to a variety of situational "challenges" (e.g., too little b-roll, subpar acting performances, etc.), they can become great editors. (it also helps to be fast, to keep the clients coming back!)

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