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Film Editing

Film editing is a creative process of post-production for filmmaking.

It is also referred to as the ‘Invisible Art’ because while watching the film, viewers get so engaged that they are not even aware of editor’s work. Film editing is the art, technique, and practice of assembling shots into an intelligible sequence. Film editing is the only art that is unique to cinema, separating filmmaking from other art forms. Although, there are close parallels to the editing process in other art forms such as poetry or novel writing.

The job of film editor is working with the raw footage, picking appropriate shots, and joining them into sequences to create a finished motion picture. Film editor’s job is not just sequencing shots of a film mechanically or editing dialogue scenes. But it requires lot of creativity. The film editor has to work creatively with the images, story, dialogues, music, pacing, as well as the actors’ performances. Working on all these elements effectively is nothing but ‘Reimagining’ or ‘Rewriting’ the film. Hence, editor’s role is crucial and dynamic in the making of a film.

Film editing is an art that can be used in diverse ways. It can create sensually provocative montages; become a laboratory for experimental cinema; bring out the emotional truth in an actor’s performance; create a point of view on otherwise obtuse events; create an illusion of danger where there is none; give emphasis to things that would not have otherwise been noted; and even create a vital subconscious emotional connection to the viewer, among many other possibilities.

Editor’s cut is first phase out of several phases. This phase is the first pass of the final film when it reaches picture lock. Usually, film editor starts working when principal photography starts. Prior to cutting, the editor and director watch and discuss over ‘Dailies’ (raw footage shot each day). Screening dailies gives the editor an idea of director’s intentions. As it is the first pass, the editor’s cut normally longer than the final film.

When entire shooting gets over, the director collaborating with the editor refines entire Editor’s cut. This phase is called as Director’s cut. This is the phase in which the film editor’s first cut is moulded to fit the director’s vision. In this phase, the director and the editor go through the entire movie in great detail; scenes and shots. If required, scenes and shots re-ordered, removed, shortened, and otherwise tweaked. Even missing shots or missing segments which might require shot in this phase. This phase of editing refines entire film.

After the director’s cut, the subsequent cuts are supervised by one or more producers of the film. Once a fine cut is agreed by the editor, director, and producer; the work of sound designer, music composer, and title designer starts. They add sound effects and music to the final cut. After final approval, the Edit Decision List is sent to the lab. Here, a negative cutter ‘confirms’ the Edit Decision List in order to create a negative that is an exact copy of the final cut.

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