Editing and Post Production

The edit actually begins in the planning and filming stages of production.

A rule-of-thumb on the film set is: “Shoot to edit”. This means what you’re filming is what you actually need in the edit - no more, no less.

Apart the main shots, a director will always ask for lots of cut-aways - shots that will support the main shot in telling the story. An Editor will also use these cut-aways to hide cuts between shots in the edit.

The first task in the edit is to organise the footage. This has to be done inside the editing software, but footage can also be organised before it’s ingested into the software project.

It’s often an exercise in controlled chaos for an editor who faces down a mountain of footage with only a script and list of production notes in hand

As unforgiving as the task ahead might seem, following a simple plan can make quick work of the edit that lies ahead. All that it takes is a simple step-by-step plan that breaks the edit into manageable tasks.

Once the relevant footage is moved into a timeline, the story begins taking shape.

There is so much that an editor does in piecing the story together, but eventually you arrive at the Rough Cut.

This is where you develop and lay out the basic structure and sequence of the edit in the timeline.

After the rough cut comes the Fine Cut, which precisely places and time out each shot and each cut within the edit. The pace of the edit should deliver the appropriate emotional impact of the scene.

This is where finesse comes into the process, and the action and visual movements within the clips are timed out to feel as if they are working together in a coherent story.

The result of the fine cut should be a timeline with every shot in its proper place. The flow and timing of the sequence should match what the audience will see the final project. Certain visual effects such as time remapping will change the overall timing, but the sequence of shots should be set and ready to review with the client.

After approval, the editor works with the finishing aspects of post-production, such as the audio, visual effects, colour grading, and titling.