Chapter 10: Editing

There are three different approaches to editing: realism, modernism, and postmodernism. Realism offers an authentic flow mimicking real life by maintaining spatial and temporal continuity from shot to shot. The directional glances must be consistent and movements must follow the 180-degree axis rule. Sounds must be synchronous with similar meanings with the featured images. Realist editing includes fixing mistakes to retain the continuity and clarifying content. News stories and prerecorded interview use these techniques to retain clarity and flow.

Modernism does not try and hide the editing process, but highlight it. Spatial and temporal continuity is purposefully disrupted using jump cuts, radical shifts in time and place, rejecting conventional rules of scene construction, directionality, and continuousness of voices, music, and sound effects. Shapes can be juxtaposed to show their differences. The viewer is lead to develop subjective impressions.

A postmodernist approach usually resembles a collage or pastiche that incorporates varying images, sounds, and modes of production. The postmodernist sound editing uses a pastiche of audio impressions, mixing documentary, narrative fiction, and experimental modes. An example of a postmodernist production is Errol Morris’s The Thin Blue Line, in which they edit reenactments of events that only occurred in the imaginations of the characters. The postmodernist approach uses editing to highlight the performance and ephemeral aspects of the production. The audience is encouraged to participate.

Editing modes include fiction and nonfiction. Fiction includes Classical Hollywood conventional for shooting and editing. Fiction usually includes a long master shot, that give the actors the opportunity to establish continuous coverage before the action is broken up for closer shots. Continuity editing began in 1910, developed in Hollywood. The goal is to avoid jump cuts and make sure the characters’ movements remain continuous from shot to shot. The director must also consider eyeline matches, so that the actors’ looks and glances in a scene maintain directional continuity. Nonfiction is partially staged and sometimes depend on the continuity shots and master scene used in fiction. B-roll is used to fill spaces, in the A-roll. Shots are interspaces.

Digital editing is much more affordable and even more important in the film making process. The digital editing process is even less complicated now, making it more accessible to the public. These digital productions require a lot of memory and use Multiple terabyte (TB) memory banks, internal memory systems in CPUs, and external servers.

Editing workflow has changed over the years with the advent of digital productions. The process involves planning, acquisition, and ingest. Planning starts with a thorough understanding of the script and carefully planned modifications to execute during shooting, recording, or preliminary storyboarding. A solid groundwork needs to be established during planning to ensure for a smooth, efficient production. Acquisition refers to the accumulation of all the data for the project: digital or analog videotape, audio tape, film, computer output, hand-drawn art, graphics, and/or photographs. Ingest involves analysis and converting the data into one common format for further processing. The data is reviewed and the usability of each take is determined to maintain a standard of quality.

 

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