24 Feb 2019

How to Edit - Part 3: The Edit Itself

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How to edit part 3 How to edit part 3 RedShark/Shutterstock


Final thoughts & suggested reading

Filmmaker Werner Herzog once gave me the best editing advice I have ever received:

“Too often you have films that are editing for two years or more. If you're doing this, you're editing too long and your film is lost. Edit like you are on death row. Edit with a deadline and work like on that very day you will be strapped to the gurney.”

A bit morbid, yes, but ultimately it's great advice. Editing is a craft and as with any craft discipline is required. Getting the work done is by far the most important thing. Any seasoned editor will tell you that endless contemplation, fear, and intellectualization of the process are your worst enemies. So be bold, move ahead and have fun while doing it!

One final note about NLE software. This article focuses a lot on EditShare's LightWorks editing software because I am primarily a LightWorks editor. I personally think it's the best platform out there, but I know there are a lot of options out there. As an editor you have to be versatile, knowing just one NLE isn't always enough to keep you employed full time. Luckily, all of the methods I discussed in this article are universal and will work in any editing software.

There where many subjects mentioned in this article that were too broad to discuss in any detail, or at least in any way to give them justice. Here is a list of some of the best books out there about editing and storytelling that I've found. If you have any other suggestions, I'd be interested in hearing about your favorite!

  • Arijon, Daniel. Grammar of the Film Language. New York: Hastings House, 1976. Print.
  • Bernard, Sheila Curran. Documentary Storytelling: Making Stronger and More Dramatic Nonfiction Films. Amsterdam: Focal, 2007. Print.
  • Braudy, Leo, and Marshall Cohen. Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings. New York: Oxford UP, 1999. Print.
  • Dmytryk, Edward. On Film Editing: An Introduction to the Art of Film Construction. Boston: Focal, 1984. Print.
  • Earle, Eyvind. The Complete Graphics of Eyvind Earle. and Selected Poems, Drawings, and Writings by Eyvind Earle, 1991-2000. Monterey, CA: Eyvind Earle, 2001. Print.
  • Hollyn, Norman. The Film Editing Room Handbook: How to Tame the Chaos of the Editing Room. Berkeley, CA: Peachpit, 2010. Print.
  • Kern, Jonathan. Sound Reporting: The NPR Guide to Audio Journalism and Production. Chicago: U of Chicago, 2008. Print.
  • Moore, Alan, and Jacen Burrows. Alan Moore's Writing for Comics. Urbana, IL: Avatar, 2003. Print.
  • Murch, Walter. In the Blink of an Eye: A Perspective on Film Editing. Los Angeles: Silman-James, 2001. Print.
  • Patrick, Brian Anse. The Ten Commandments of Propaganda. London: Arktos, 2013. Print.

Further Reading

How To Edit. Part 1: Preparation

How to Edit - Part 2: Ingest & Assemble

Peter Haas

... is an award winning Brooklyn-based filmmaker and writer whose first celluloid love was “Godzilla.” Since age 9, he’s been chasing monsters and men, camera in hand. His chief inspirations are classic German Expressionist cinema, the free-wheeling creativity of Terry Gilliam, and the fog-shrouded forests of his New Hampshire birthplace. Through his films, Peter strives to unlock the experience of "ecstatic cinema" -- a viewing experience that challenges, delights, and sweeps up the audience in equal measures.  His work has appeared in American Cinematographer, Red Shark News, various broadcast networks, and various festivals around the world.

Website: www.peterjhaas.com

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