Editing is a crucial part of the post-production process of film-making which involves the selection and merging of shots to create a finished/complete film. This craft requires skills that develop with time and experience, but six helpful tips that a budding editor can adopt, to better their skills:
Cut tight: One of the best editing techniques is to ‘cut tight’ between scenes without appearing jumpy. Take out unnecessary pauses between actors’ dialogue delivery through well-placed cutaway scenes. This also means losing redundant lines of dialogue.
Matching action: Matching the actors’ hand positions, the line of sight, and stage position from one cut to another, all combine to be matching action. An editor’s job is to make the cuts that either drive emotions in a scene or take the story ahead.
Avoid cutting back to the same angle: If there is a choice of several camera angles, then it is better to avoid cutting automatically back to the same camera angle or the take that was used in the previous shot. This will create a variation of angles, instead a monotonous style.
Moving camera shots: Movement can be anything from a camera on a dolly to a handheld motion. But as popular with modern film makers, the handheld motion technique creates a level of tension with the audience. The best way to create this tension is by cutting on movement so that the camera is in constant motion.
Shaping story: It is said that there are three films- the one that is scripted, the one that is been filmed and the one that is edited. When a feature is cut, it is important to focus on the story chronology and okay to veer from what was written or filmed if it makes sense to do so.
Take a break: Spending a long time on the same edit can be monotonous and aversive. Therefore, it is always advisable to take a break and return with a rejuvenated mind to keep the creative spark alive.
You can explore different facets of editing with mentors and experts of the art. Watch Prashant Naik, faculty and HOD, Editing, at Whistling Woods International’s School of Filmmaking talk about the nuances of editing.