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5 Essential Film Editing Tips - Carol Evenson - Blog

5 Essential Film Editing Tips

If you love both the technical and creative parts of filmmaking, you should consider becoming a movie editor. Editing is an essential part of the movie making process, and it can be the difference between a bad film and a good one.

While not all films are edited the same way, every good movie editor should follow the same basic principles. Here are five tips that should help you edit any type of film.

1. Ask Others for Help

The longer you look at something, the less sharp your eye and mind become. You should thus invite someone to watch the rough cut with you. It could be a trusted person in the industry who will give you honest yet supportive feedback when necessary. Thanks to video collaboration software, asking others for assistance is easier than ever.

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Even if you do not have any friends who are movie experts, you can still show the footage to an editing novice. He or she can at least tell you if parts of the film are jarring or confusing. You can also use this screening to determine if certain scenes are producing the desired emotional effect for your audience.

2. Think About the Characters

The development of the characters is an important part of any movie. Your editing should not make the main character appear happy at the start of the film when he is supposed to be miserable. To make sure the editing properly complements the story arc of each character, take all the edited scenes with that character and watch them in chronological order. This way, you can see if the character's development makes sense without having to watch the entire film.

You should also try looking at each scene from a character's point of view. Decide which character you want reflected in the edit and then adjust the scene accordingly. 

3. Stay Organized 

Organization is particularly crucial when you edit. Group the images, music, sound effects, graphics and narration together based on the scenes in which they will appear. While this may sound time-consuming, it will make the editing process much easier and more efficient. Organizing everything will also prevent you from becoming overwhelmed and making poor decisions.

4. Do Not Forget About the Audio

Film editing is not just cutting and cropping footage. The audio is as important as the images are.

Without proper audio fades or dissolves, you could end up with a popping effect that distracts viewers. Luckily, most editing software lets you easily apply these techniques.

As you edit, use the audio to transition between different scenes. For instance, if a character in a movie is about to get on a plane to Rome, add audio of a plane landing before you cut to the next scene of the character in Italy.

Music and sound are also great for building tension and emotion. Just make sure any narration or dialogue is easy to hear over the background noise.

5. Focus on the Audio and Video Separately

While the audio and the video need to complement each other, you should also try watching the film without sound and listening to it without images. This can help you focus on one aspect of the movie at a time.

When viewing the footage without sound, determine if there are any unnecessary conversations that you can remove. You should specifically focus on the pacing of the film. See if there are ways to make the footage more lively.

Once you turn off the images and solely listen to the audio, you can more clearly hear and address any stumbles in the dialogue. This strategy should also help you notice moments when the background music is too loud or soft.

Film editing is a difficult job. When you first load the footage into your computer and open up your editing software, it can be hard to know where to begin. If you find yourself stuck, just remember the above basic editing tips.


Publish Date: September 10, 2021 12:57 AM

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