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Are there any Books or Resources available that will teach me how to Edit correctly?

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mr_gfx
Are there any Books or Resources available that will teach me how to Edit correctly?
on Oct 1, 2006 at 3:46:35 am

Hi,

I have been a motion graphics designer and editor for 2 years now, and i have never been able to find a book or resource that teaches the proper skills to editing.

i have no trouble finding books that teach how to use an editing program, but what about resources on the art of editing?

i mainly cut together interivews with b-roll over top. and i kind of do it the same way everytime. really simple.

i watched reality tv shows on HGTV to learn a few tricks and make my edited pieces better, like letting an interview clip start a few frames before the person starts talking or have the clip start a few frames and then the music start and then the person talking. That way it does not start on mid sentence or music note and jerk the veiwer around. (although sometimes startin on the music beat makes sense.)

that is the type of stuff i want to read a book or resource about. and it would tell me other things like that to EDIT PROPERLY and not just guess at it.

anyone know where i can learn this type of information? i cant believe editors out there have just guessed at what would work and it just does. i mean like how did someone learn the proper rate of editing to cut together a good commercial? a good movie trailer? etc?


any help would be great. thanks.


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epontius
Re: Are there any Books or Resources available that will teach me how to Edit correctly?
on Oct 1, 2006 at 4:50:48 pm

I list a few books that I've found useful for learning the art, history and theory of editing in the "Become an Editor" thread earlier. Many of them mention the physiology and pyschology behind why editors edit like they do...how the viewer percieves movement, how the juxtaposition of two cuts can have an implied meaning, etc...
Many things are trial and error, best practice type things you will learn as you edit more and experience more. Editing is very much a continual learning process....the more you edit and the variety of things you edit, the better you'll become.

Erik



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Chaz Shukat
Re: Are there any Books or Resources available that will teach me how to Edit correctly?
on Oct 1, 2006 at 9:18:37 pm

[mr_gfx] "i cant believe editors out there have just guessed at what would work and it just does. i mean like how did someone learn the proper rate of editing to cut together a good commercial? a good movie trailer? etc?"

How did someone learn the proper rate of editing? editors just guessed and it worked? No, it's all from trial and error. As long as you have the ability to perceive when it's right or not right. It comes from your gut and you mind. How does it feel? There is no formula, it's ART! If it ever gets reduced to a formula then the machines can do it without us. It's like when disco came into radio and music was reduced to BPM (beats per minute) formulas.

You are doing the right thing watching HGTV or any other reality or documentary shows. There is a way to do things, some secrets or tips, but nothing is etched in stone numbers. You are on the right track. There are many great books about editing (mostly about narrative film editing and a few on documentary), but I get the feeling you are one of the many, many people who don't necessarily want to read the entire history of editing and theory, but just need to know what the pro's know about how to edit reality shows in a professional rather than ameteurish manner. If you are interested, go to my website at http://www.chazmoedit.com and you can view my work in this field and also get my email address to contact me about ordering my e-book, Editing Reality, which is designed to be a mentor to editors like yourself to give them the tips that you are looking for without having to wade through a lot of other information that is not what you are looking for. It's simple and compact and will answer all those type of questions that you posed.

Chaz S.


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Tim Kolb
Re: Are there any Books or Resources available that will teach me how to Edit correctly?
on Oct 2, 2006 at 1:19:56 am

Hmmm.

I think that the only real "correct" things about editing to learn is how humans see images and process them to understand what's going on.

After that...I think that "correct" is whatever is right for the project. Pacing, cutting techniques, that sort of thing is what constitutes your style. Learning the mindset behind some other styles is helpful to start building a feeling of what others are doing, but I'd hesitate to call any editing style "right" or "wrong".

I think that young editors who ignore the ramifications of breaking the plane of action or jump cutting and call that a "style" and they are just breaking new ground by breaking the rules are missing the fact that these "rules" were created to give an editor tools to communicate with human audio/visual perception.

Knowing the "rules" and breaking them as part of a strategy to cause discomfort or confusion in your audience as a story-telling device is different than ignoring the rules because they are confining.

You can walk around speaking in Klingon all day and you'd be quite a trendsetter...but it's going to take some extra time at the McDonald's drive through.

A good book to get a feel for an editor's point of view is "In the Blink of an Eye" by Walter Murch. As far as basic editing techniques, I suspect there are too many texts to mention. Maybe someone else here has a favorite?




TimK,
Director,
Kolb Productions,

Creative Cow Host,
Author/Trainer
http://www.focalpress.com
http://www.classondemand.net


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mr_gfx
Re: Are there any Books or Resources available that will teach me how to Edit correctly?
on Oct 2, 2006 at 3:45:27 am

can anyone give me some tips that are outlined in the "On Editing, and The Eye is Quicker" book?

i am going to buy them, but still want a preview of techniques they discuss.


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epontius
Re: Are there any Books or Resources available that will teach me how to Edit correctly?
on Oct 2, 2006 at 5:04:20 pm

Both have a "search inside" feature at Amazon.
"On Film Editing" by Edward Dmytryk is almost a "cliff notes" of editing. It's a small book packed with great info. He discusses when to cut and why to cut. There is a good discussion of cutting dialogue. Cutting action, such as why in some case you need to overlap frames from one cut to the next in order for the viewer to realize what has happened. Real excellent book.
"The Eye is Quicker" by Richard Pepperman covers similiar concepts (actually referring to and quoting the Dymtryk book) with the added benefit of illustrating the technique (both right and wrong) through real film examples. I especially like the chapter "Conflicts in Interest" in which he talks about knowing the story well enough to edit (even if it requires deviating from what was scripted) with emotion that helps further the story along. All good stuff...


Erik



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Saguaro
Re: Are there any Books or Resources available that will teach me how to Edit correctly?
on Oct 3, 2006 at 3:56:14 pm

The books mentioned, "On Editing", "In the Blink of an Eye", "The Eye is quicker" are all good books to read at arm's length. By which, I mean read them as if you are sitting in a lecture with the author, but keep in mind the earlier reply that editing is an ART. Learn from those more experienced but think about how YOU approach a scene.

It's interesting that in America they say an Editor "cuts" a film while in Europe it's common to say that an Editor "assembles" a film.

I've edited many short form projects and am finishing my first feature length project. So I'm not an expert by any means. I prepared myself for the feature project by reading the books listed above and then going back and watching some of my favorite movies, paying close attention to the editing. Also, I prefer to hear the story of the movie from the Director's mouth rather than by reading the script. The script is always there for reference, but a two-hour chat with the Director will really plant in your mind what he/she feels is important.

By the way, the book about Walter Murch editing Cold Mountain on FCP ("Behind the Seen...") was IMHO disappointing. Too much in there about getting the systems working. Not enough about the editing process.

-Andrew


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epontius
Re: Are there any Books or Resources available that will teach me how to Edit correctly?
on Oct 3, 2006 at 8:13:01 pm

I hope I didn't set the expectation that if you read all these books, you'll suddenly become a great editor. It is an art and it does come with experience. But I find that it is important to know the rules BEFORE you break them...only then do you know how much you can get away with and how much you can't. The film "Stay" is probably a good example...the deliberate use of jump cuts and continuity errors furthers the story along on a subconscious layer for the viewer. But the editors were well aware of why and what they were doing.

The "Behind the Sceen" does spend a good portion of the book discussing what challenges Murch and Minghella had in getting FCP be able to edit a major motion picture. It is perhaps not a book about editing, so much as the their experiences during the editing process. There are parts where they are waiting for a team of programmers to write custom patches for them in order to correct problems and limitations (must be nice to be a big studio) to barely meet milestone markers in their schedule. Murch had been a long time Avid user, so switching to FCP was a challenge for him as well.

Murch does a pretty good commentary on the Cold Mountain DVD. I enjoy watching movies on DVD, often times re-watching with commentary on to get an insight on the film or going back to analyze scenes. What I find especially useful from an editor's perspective is when deleted scenes have commentary tracks. You then get a good understanding of why a scene was cut. Often it starts with "I loved this scene, but..." and reasons vary from pacing to that it was just fluff that didn't add to the story. Understanding what wasn't included in a film is almost as important a understanding what was. Murch, btw, addresses the issue of cutting what you love in his "Blink of an Eye" book.

Erik




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mr_gfx
Re: Are there any Books or Resources available that will teach me how to Edit correctly?
on Oct 4, 2006 at 2:54:00 pm

it seems like everyone is talking about cutting for Films.

I don't cut films, and probably will not for a long time.

I cut together interviews with b-roll on top and an occasional commercial or two. So, i am looking for resources that provide tips of editing those types of things.

I just saw a guys demo reel on Cow, in the Demo Reels section. It is by "scott_ch" and his editing is awseome! that is exactly the kind of stuff i want to do in my career. Once you look at it, you will know what i mean when i say "i want to know how to edit properly."

i feel like every cut and effect he uses is perfect. How do you learn how to cut with that type of skills????


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Del Holford
Re: Are there any Books or Resources available that will teach me how to Edit correctly?
on Oct 4, 2006 at 7:47:13 pm

Practice.

He knows his tools and is comfortable applying them to the appropriate setting. He knows not only editing, but motion graphics and design.

You won't get there in a day but if you read the suggested books and learn the plug-ins that do the effects and graphics on edit systems, you could be there in a year or so.

Very few editors do the edgy stylistic music video approach you see in Scott's demo. Yeoman work requires the same attention to detail, pacing, effects and compositing but usually for longer projects that tell a more detailed story.

Effects artists, on the other hand, work every day to make video in the manner that Scott does using Flame or Henry or After Effects. They learned editing along the way but are more vertical in their skills so they can add layer upon layer and get art and not detritus.


Del
fire*, smoke*, photoshopCS2
Charlotte Public Television


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mr_gfx
Re: Are there any Books or Resources available that will teach me how to Edit correctly?
on Oct 4, 2006 at 9:43:13 pm

i did some research and i found the types of thing i was referring to.

pacing
invisible cutting
cutting on the action
building tension

those are the types of things i am looking to learn more about. i am only able to find snippets of what they mean online but want to read detailed explanations of what works in regards to them. maybe even theory books that break down a shot sequence.


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epontius
Re: Are there any Books or Resources available that will teach me how to Edit correctly?
on Oct 5, 2006 at 11:12:07 pm

All those subjects are referenced and explained in the "Eye is Quicker" and "On Film Editing"
Another good one on my bookshelf I was just leafing through is "The Visual Story: Seeing the Structure of Film, TV and New Media" by Bruce Block approaches the subject from, well...a visual sense.
"Grammar of the Edit" by Roy Thompson also has a cliff notes approach to it and discusses the topic you mentioned.
You mentioned earlier that you weren't interested in cutting film, just interviews for now...but the majority of techniques used now to cut interviews of the type you mentioned and referenced were derived from a study of film techniques.
Many editors believe that if you notice the editing in a piece, they haven't done their job. The edit should be transparent and seamless (or invisible in your terms).

Erik



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