Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Film editing is the placing of one or more shots together in a sequence.
The development of film editing processes
When the work print has been cut to a satisfactory state, it is then used to make a negative cutting list, which is used by a negative cutter to cut A and B rolls prior to optical printing to produce the final film print.
Since the film was physically cut and pasted, a 'nonlinear' style of editing evolved. At the workprint stage, strips of film could be placed in any order. This approach is generally considered superior to the strictly linear approach that was necessary in video editing through the 1970s. A video 'cut' is really the copying of scenes from various camera tapes onto a master. Before the development of powerful computer systems that could store large amounts of visual data for transfer, it was necessary to make the transfer in strictly linear order. Trying to insert a shot between two shots already on the master tape would create noise, etc. A system such as Avid allows the creation of a workprint.
In recent years, 'film editing' has come to mean what a 'film editor' does, even though the work involved is now generally performed on a computer-based non-linear editing system, such as Avid, or Lightworks and, at the semi-professional level, by programs such as Adobe Premiere Pro, Pinnacle Edition or Apple's Final Cut Pro.
If the end product is to be a traditional movie, the final negative cutting list is produced from the software, and the negative cutting process occurs as before.
In other cases, an edit decision list may be generated for a video editing system.
With the emergence of digital cinema, there is now a movement towards all-digital assembly of the final product, such as in CFC's Digital Lab process.
What became known as the popular 'classical Hollywood' style of editing was developed by early European and American directors, in particular D.W. Griffith in his films such as The Birth of a Nation and Intolerance. The classical style ensures temporal and spatial continuity as a way of advancing narrative, using such techniques as the 180 degree rule, Establishing shot, and Shot reverse shot.
Alternatives to Continuity editing
Early Russian filmmakers such as Lev Kuleshov further explored and theorized about editing and its ideological nature. Sergei Eisenstein developed a system of editing that was unconcerned with the rules of the continuity sytem of classical Hollywood that he called Intellectual montage.
- 180 degree rule
- A Roll
- B Roll
- Cross cutting
- Cut in
- Cut out
- Establishing shot
- Hairy arm
- L cut
- Master shot
- Point of view shot
- Sequence shot
- Shot reverse shot
- Talking head
Stanley Kubrick noted that the editing process is the one phase of production that is truly unique to motion pictures. Every other aspect of filmmaking originated in a different medium than film (photography, art direction, writing, sound recording), but editing is the one process that is unique to film. In Alexender Walker's Stanley Kubrick Directs, Kubrick was quoted as saying, "I love editing. I think I like it more than any other phase of filmmaking. If I wanted to be frivolous, I might say that everything that precedes editing is merely a way of producing film to edit."
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