Creative and technical part of the post-production process of filmmaking / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Film editing is both a creative and a technical part of the post-production process of filmmaking. The term is derived from the traditional process of working with film which increasingly involves the use of digital technology. When putting together some sort of video composition, typically, you’d need a collection of shots and footage that vary from one another. The act of adjusting the shots you’ve already taken, and turning them into something new is known as film editing.
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The film editor works with raw footage, selecting shots and combining them into sequences which create a finished motion picture. Film editing is described as an art or skill, the only art that is unique to cinema, separating filmmaking from other art forms that preceded it, although there are close parallels to the editing process in other art forms such as poetry and novel writing. Film editing is often referred to as the "invisible art" because when it is well-practiced, the viewer can become so engaged that they are not aware of the editor's work. Film editing is an extremely important tool when attempting to intrigue a viewer. When done properly, a film’s editing can captivate a viewer and fly completely under the radar. Because of this, film editing has been given the name “the invisible art.”
On its most fundamental level, film editing is the art, technique and practice of assembling shots into a coherent sequence. The job of an editor is not simply to mechanically put pieces of a film together, cut off film slates or edit dialogue scenes. A film editor must creatively work with the layers of images, story, dialogue, music, pacing, as well as the actors' performances to effectively "re-imagine" and even rewrite the film to craft a cohesive whole. Editors usually play a dynamic role in the making of a film. An editor must select only the most quality shots, removing all unnecessary frames to ensure the shot is clean. Sometimes, auteurist film directors edit their own films, for example, Akira Kurosawa, Bahram Beyzai, Steven Soderbergh, and the Coen brothers.
According to “Film Art, An Introduction”, by Bordwell and Thompson, there are four basic areas of film editing that the editor has full control over. The first dimension is the graphic relations between a shot A and shot B. The shots are analyzed in terms of their graphic configurations, including light and dark, lines and shapes, volumes and depths, movement and stasis. The director makes deliberate choices regarding the composition, lighting, color, and movement within each shot, as well as the transitions between them. There are several techniques used by editors to establish graphic relations between shots. These include maintaining overall brightness consistency, keeping important elements in the center of the frame, playing with color differences, and creating visual matches or continuities between shots.
The second dimension is the rhythmic relationship between shot A and shot B. The duration of each shot, determined by the number of frames or length of film, contributes to the overall rhythm of the film. The filmmaker has control over the editing rhythm by adjusting the length of shots in relation to each other. Shot duration can be used to create specific effects and emphasize moments in the film. For example, a brief flash of white frames can convey a sudden impact or a violent moment. On the other hand, lengthening or adding seconds to a shot can allow for audience reaction or to accentuate an action. The length of shots can also be used to establish a rhythmic pattern, such as creating a steady beat or gradually slowing down or accelerating the tempo.
The third dimension is the spatial relationship between shot A and shot B. Editing allows the filmmaker to construct film space and imply a relationship between different points in space. The filmmaker can juxtapose shots to establish spatial holes or construct a whole space out of component parts. For example, the filmmaker can start with a shot that establishes a spatial hole and then follow it with a shot of a part of that space, creating an analytical breakdown.
The final dimension that an editor has control over is the temporal relation between shot A and shot B. Editing plays a crucial role in manipulating the time of action in a film. It allows filmmakers to control the order, duration, and frequency of events, thus shaping the narrative and influencing the audience's perception of time. Through editing, shots can be rearranged, flashbacks and flash-forwards can be employed, and the duration of actions can be compressed or expanded. The main point is that editing gives filmmakers the power to control and manipulate the temporal aspects of storytelling in film.
Between graphic, rhythmic, spatial, and temporal relationships between two shots, an editor has various ways to add a creative element to the film, and enhance the overall viewing experience.
With the advent of digital editing in non-linear editing systems, film editors and their assistants have become responsible for many areas of filmmaking that used to be the responsibility of others. For instance, in past years, picture editors dealt only with just that—picture. Sound, music, and (more recently) visual effects editors dealt with the practicalities of other aspects of the editing process, usually under the direction of the picture editor and director. However, digital systems have increasingly put these responsibilities on the picture editor. It is common, especially on lower budget films, for the editor to sometimes cut in temporary music, mock up visual effects and add temporary sound effects or other sound replacements. These temporary elements are usually replaced with more refined final elements produced by the sound, music and visual effects teams hired to complete the picture. he importance of an editor has become increasingly pivotal to the quality and success of a film due to the multiple roles that have been added to their job.