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The Science of Editing: Look Closer -- The Mind of a Film

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When you ask an editor what they DO in the edit suite, the answer is often something like, "Well, it's intuitive." To become better editors, though, we need to be more specific. Editor, author, and professor Dr. Karen Pearlman breaks down the process into five specific steps that editors must take in order to turn a mass of material into something coherent. You can learn to hone the specific skills of observation and self-awareness that distinguish editors from other observers, and make unexpected connections that move stories in compelling new directions. Sven Pape of "This Guy Edits" presents his conversation with Karen in the form of a powerful video essay that you will find illuminating and inspiring, and will be able to start using right away.



"Look Closer: The Mind of a Film" is the second chapter in the series "The Science of Editing" by @ThisGuyEdits and Dr. Karen Pearlman, based on her book Cutting Rhythms: Intuitive Film Editing.

Karen holds a Doctorate of Creative Arts and is currently a lecturer in Screen Production at Macquarie University. She is a former President of the Australian Screen Editors Guild and a three-time nominee for Best Editing at the Australian Screen Editors Guild Annual Awards. Karen is also a full member of the Society for Cognitive Studies of the Moving Image, and the Film Critics Circle, Australia.

When you ask an editor what they DO in the edit suite, the answer is often something like, "Well, it's intuitive." To become a better editor, we need to be more specific about what's going on. Karen breaks down the process into the specific step that editors undertake to turn a mass of material into something coherent. You can learn to hone the specific skills of observation and self-awareness that distinguish editors from other observers, and make unexpected connections that move stories in compelling new directions.

Sven Pape of "This Guy Edits" presents their conversation in the form of a powerful video essay that you will find illuminating and inspiring, and will be able to start using right away.





And don't miss Part One of Sven's conversation with Dr. Karen Pearlman, "The Science of Editing".







THIS GUY EDITS is by film editor Sven Pape, an A.C.E. award nominee, whose credits include work for directors James Cameron, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and James Franco.

In this series, you can follow along as Sven cuts his latest film for Sundance filmmaker Mark Webber. Flesh & Blood is their third collaboration.

Several times a week THIS GUY EDITS (T.G.E.) will post update videos at his YouTube channel, This Guy Edits. You get to see the timeline and the editor's play-by-play-commentary as he cuts scenes. It shows work in progress.

Comments

Re: The Science of Editing: Look Closer -- The Mind of a Film
by Herb Sevush
Lovely piece.

The five factors are not linear but circular - watch, sort, remember, select, composite, watch, sort, remember, composite ... as every step effects the context of how you perceive every other step. When you watch a shot after you've sorted and selected it, it changes how you see it. Every time you move a piece into or out of or around the timeline you will remember it differently. Sometimes the juxtaposition of a shot in a timeline will change the way you want to sort it, will lead you to think of it in a different way.

Watching, repeatedly, for me is the most crucial. Waiting, as long as possible, before you sort, is important because once you sort you imprison. The greatest enemy of the editor is preconceived notions - notions of where a shot should go or even what it means. The greatest tool is time + your unconscious.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf
+1
Re: The Science of Editing: Look Closer -- The Mind of a Film
by Yonatan Lehman
A fundamental part of the process is what I call labeling or classifying . This means associating one or more keyword with a clip or part of a clip.. It is part of sorting, but it expresses a fundamental aspect of sorting. The specific words you choose when labeling your footage, directly impact what you remember, and how easy it will be to recover a specific clip, and hence in lractice this can imoact the selects you will make during the composition. The set of keywords you choose to associate with the footage defines a vocabulary that reflects your view of what is significant for that movie. For example if you label your clips with "sync" and "B roll" you are already saying something about what your timeline will look like. If you label with CU, MS, LS it means that the anesthetics of framing is significant to the structure of the edit. Note that Labeling is implemented in a variety of ways, for example using bins, description metadata or markers in a clip or select sequence , the mechanism used, and the support your editing tool gives for searching, sorting and filtering with this mechanism directly impacts your effectiveness and efficiency when composing the timeline.
+1
Re: The Science of Editing: Look Closer -- The Mind of a Film
by Simon Morice
Films have minds?

This is something that Dramatica Theory explains really well: http://dramatica.com/resources/assets/dramatica-comic-book-2004.pdf


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