Editing: this is the best part of film production, in our opinion.
Nothing bring us greater joy than to find digital celluloid clippings littered upon the floor. Editing film is an art in its own right. It can make, or break the director's vision with ease. As soon as the footage is given to our team of editors, we leave them to create unique stories parallel to the perception of the director. Editors take take hundreds of hours of expensive, star-studded Hollywood footage and boil it down, cut by cut, choice by choice, into a coherent, impactful, two-hour narrative. The best work may not even be noticed at all because the audience is too drawn in to the story.
Billy Fox, a veteran editor who spliced Only the Brave said, “What we strive for is that you don’t notice the edit, you don’t notice how the story is being told, There are rare exceptions where the editing is a character, or even the star of the movie. But mostly, when you do your job well, the audience is totally in the moment and totally in the story, and never notices your work at all.” As movie-goers, says Fox, we usually notice a movie’s edits only when they’re bad: Erratic jumps that confuse us, frenetic pacing that gives us no chance to absorb what just happened, or over-tight scenes that flatten emotion to mere plot points. Cut too little, and the audience feels led by the nose through an over-told story where the outcome is obvious. Cut too much, and viewers are confused, restless, and can’t emotionally connect to the characters.
EVOLUTION OF THE TOOLS
From a technical standpoint, Fox points out how far digital video editing tools have come, and as a result, how much more of the work of filmmaking has moved upstream in post-production. The accepted standard for a director’s cut—a term for the editorial team’s final deliverable—has changed significantly. Not long ago, a director’s cut was a fairly rough affair, often with placeholders for visual effects, unmixed temp music, rudimentary sound effects, and no color correction. That’s what went to the studio for testing, and then on to multi-million dollar facilities for sound, music, color, and effects.