The Craft of Editing

The Editor

THE EDITOR from Inside The Edit on Vimeo.

Editing 101 with Adobe Premiere Pro

Edit Foundry

So What Do You Put In The Sequence?

Walter Murch and "The Rule of Six"

How to Guide Your Audience: A Masterclass in Storytelling Through Editing

Larry Jordan & Norman Hollyn
Technology is an important part of filmmaking, as well as something we like to talk about here at No Film School, but when it comes down to it, one, if not the, most integral part of our craft is storytelling. Editors and instructors Larry Jordan and Norman Hollyn forgo the "tech talk", as they say, to delve into a conversation about the great influence film/video editing has in terms of telling stories, including ways certain edits can "guide" the viewer's eye, attention, and emotional response to a scene.

When you first start out editing, typically you spend your time, energy, and focus building your skills -- simply trying to piece together a story that makes sense. As time goes on, however, you realize that a simple edit can change the way your audience responds to a sequence, whether the edit be trimming the tail of a shot by 10/15/2 frames, or rearranging shots altogether.

Jordan and Hollyn begin their talk by demonstrating this, as well as explaining a few basics tenets of aesthetic theory. To quickly explain, elements inside the frame catch the viewer's attention using several different kinds of aesthetic energy:  light, color, space, motion, brightness, focus, etc. Essentially, something that is big, bright, red, moving, and in focus is going to grab more attention (have more aesthetic energy) than something that is small, dull, grey, still, and out of focus. This is important to know as an editor, because it will allow you to keenly choose your edits, as well as guide your audience through the story.

As you'll see in the video, understanding how people react emotionally to certain situations on-screen, like the introduction of music or a change from a wide shot to a close up, is crucial for an editor to know. After all, they are the artists that take the raw materials of the screenwriter, director -- the written story, performances, and shots, and craft them into the stories we (hopefully) have a strong emotional reaction to.