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Editing

As the production phase draws to its conclusion and all scenes have been captured, the post-production crew begins the challenging task of cataloguing and assembling the raw footage. In practice, this often occurs simultaneously with the shoot.

An essential part of this process is the careful selection of shots by the film editor in consultation with the director, in preparation for the raw material to be edited together.

Primary role of the editor

To develop the narrative and tell the story, the editor coordinates, assembles and layers the footage to achieve a logical and meaningful relationship between shots, scenes, dialogue and music. The editor also eliminates unwanted footage to ensure that the final cut is coherent, engaging and – most importantly – seamless.

Purpose of editing

Editing is used in film production for the following purposes:

  • Developing the story 
  • Evoking emotion
  • Controlling time
  • Establishing point of view 

Considerations during the editing process

  • Logging and paper edits
  • Graphic relationship between shots
  • Shot duration and rhythmic relationship between shots
  • Transitions
  • Time relationship between shots
  • Spatial relationship between shots

Continuity editing

Often referred to as the invisible style, continuity editing – made popular during the classical Hollywood period of filmmaking – relies on techniques or guidelines that maintain the principle of narrative continuity. Shots are assembled together in a seamless manner to ensure that the progression of the narrative is clear, well organised and coherent.

Associational editing – montage

A powerful and persuasive editing technique whereby individual images are assembled and juxtaposed side by side to convey complex ideas, resulting in highly expressive and thought-provoking sequences.

Early Soviet filmmakers of the 1920s believed that editing should exploit the differences between shots to produce new meanings. Through a collision of images the audience is challenged to interpret the different images and associations between them.

Montage can also be used as a narrative device to manipulate the time and duration of a scene, enabling different perspectives of the action to be depicted in a dramatic and engaging way.