Slow & Steady: How One Can Improve Their Editing Skills

Means of improvement

How does one improve on their editing skills?

In my opinion, an experienced editor is a craftsman. A wise editor should be able to decipher the rhythm of a scene while appeasing to both their self, the director, and the audience. Many times, an editor is judged by their intuition. So how can you improve on your “intuition”?

Think of yourself as a teacher giving a lecture to a classroom. The classroom being the viewers, the lecture being the film. It is your job to display the information (ironically usually the same duration of the average classroom lecture) in an easy, effortless, and enjoyable fashion.  

Tempo

Imagine the structure of a film like the syllabus of the day. You have all the information, but you need to ensure that you start off strong while still sticking to the curriculum. So what do you do? Dazzle the audience… I mean, classroom.

Do you remember the days when physics teachers would put a student’s hand onto a contraption that came straight out of Dr. Frankensteins? The student’s hair would stand up, and their peers soon began giggling and cheering, some hands would even come up to ask to join in. Then after the fun and games ended, the class would wonder why static electricity related to F=kxQ1xQ2/D2.

I’m not in any way pushing you to go off with a bang and into the dumps. What I am telling you is to use your gut feeling to decide when a clip has overstayed its welcome.

 

So here are some examples of powerful editing that can really make a scene (in any genre) dynamic.

Mother:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qX2YWJeHoCs

Jackie Chan Famous Ladder Fight Scene:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DrRFzwPE0d4

Breaking Bad:

https://vimeo.com/91688801

 

Beware…

Each day is a new day, and the people are here to experience new things. So it is more than okay to edit. That being said, understand that with any craft, fundamentals are a MUST. It is detrimental to know your fundamentals and rules before you break it. Know when to go beyond the boundaries, and know when to stick to the rules. And through all of the contradicting suggestions, know what’s right for the project and for the viewers.

 

Emmanuel Rodriguez

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