Film School Friday – How important are my editing skills?

Editing Skills Episode Summary

In this weeks episode of Film School Friday, Corey and Bill are talking about the importance of editing skills, and why you should never cut in the middle of a blink.

Editing Skills Episode Notes

In this weeks episode of Film School Friday, Corey and Bill are talking about the importance of editing skills, and why you should never cut in the middle of a blink.

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Editing Skills Transcript

Corey Allen  0:06  

Welcome to film school Friday. I’m Cory. I’m Bill. And together, we host the infocus. podcast film school Friday is our special weekly episode where I get to quiz bill to see how much knowledge he’s retained from film school. This week, Bill, I have a question for you. And it’s probably more of a personal question for me is, how important are my editing skills.

Bill Cornelius  0:31  

editing skills are pretty important because editing is very important. Editing is just as important as what you’re doing on set, because you’re essentially taking all of that raw footage and forming the story, turning it into something coherent and timed properly that the audience wants to see. And there’s so many ways of approaching it, I think at the base level understanding of basics, when it comes the base, the basics, when it comes to editing is is key. When I was in film, school, you know, learning the basics was, I mean that that’ll set you up for success. And then you can grow as an editor.

It’s one of those things that you get better at the more you do it. Yeah. But you do need a foundation in the basics to start. And so when I was in film school, my editing instructor was a very eccentric woman from New York, who had been working as an editor all the way back to the 70s, and through the 80s, and she had worked on the Wiz.

You know, stuff like that. I had a lot of crazy stories about, you know, film in New York in the 80s, that she shared with the class, but she was very, very new yorker very, like, I know, you don’t want to hear my opinion, but I’m gonna give it to you anyway, you know, like stuff like that when we’d be in the editing lab. And just a real hard ass about the basics, basically, and I still to this day, I’ve been editing professionally for almost 16 years now.

And I still, when I do your basic cuts, I’m thinking about the principles that she taught me, you know, don’t Little things like don’t cut when a person’s in the middle of blinking and, you know, timing things and how you can change the vibe of an entire scene, just from the way you cut it. Just from the way you time, those cuts, you can make something seem very serious and very dramatic. And you can take that same scene and make it seem comical, and campy and cheesy, just from the way you cut it. Those are all things that we experimented with and learned in film school.

And it’s really like, I mean, honestly, the editor is kind of the hand of God when it comes to film, because you can do anything you can manipulate the footage in any way you want. You can change the story, you can you know, it’s it’s very important. And your skills back to the original question. It’s it’s enormously important, because bad editing is editing that you notice.

Good editing is editing that you’re not thinking about, you’re taking in the experience, you will notice those band cuts. And that kind of goes back to what we were talking with sound design crossfade, your cuts. You know, the audience won’t know why they’re noticing it, but they will. Yeah. And that’s not what you want. You don’t want to take him out of the story because of poor editing decisions. That one little pro tip around, not cutting in the middle of a blink. Like that’s very intriguing. Like, I don’t know that I’ve ever thought about that. And I’m sure subconsciously, we would notice like that if there were a hard cut, or like an extreme close up in the middle of a blink, you would notice it.

It’s it’s just like the sound design conversation. where, you know, if you cut if you do a hard cut on ambient sound, you’re gonna notice that you’re not gonna know why you’re gonna notice it. It’s the same with the blink, it’s on a subconscious level almost at Epicurious, were there other little nuggets that she dropped to you through that course that like, maybe people today Don’t think about that. That’s one of the big ones that I constantly think about to this day. I know timing is another one.

She did not like when people would linger too long on shots and throw the pacing off. I think sometimes it’s good to relate editing to the creation of music. Editing has a rhythm and a tempo. And if if your rhythm and your tempo are all over the place or too slow or it’s like a song, right, like you don’t want to listen to a song The tempo is just like out of control right from beginning to end.

It’s it’s an uncomfortable lesson. And the same goes for video and film is just what you’re watching is going to feel jarring and uncomfortable if you don’t have a rhythm. And so rhythm and pacing was was very important to, if it’s fast paced, it needs to be fast paced from beginning to end, quicker cuts, get cut to the chase, get to it, if it’s a slower, measured piece, slow your cuts down, don’t slow your cuts down and then chop chop, chop, chop at the end, that’s know that that throws the vibe off that you need a rhythm.

Sometimes it’s easier to do with music, video editing, because you have a song as a guide track. I know it’s it’s kind of 5050 the music video editors you run into that, that cut with rhythm. I consider myself more of a rhythm editor, I paste my cuts and music videos around to the tempo of the song, the downbeats I listened for certain instrument hits. And that’s what motivates my cuts. Yep.

Other editors not so much. They’re still cutting the story. That’s fine. It works either way. I prefer the rhythm method. But again, pacing. rhythm, keep it consistent. Yes, keep it consistent. All right. Any other last words of wisdom around editing? Don’t use star wipes. That was a so a lot of the editing software and I think it still does is baked in with this. For some reason, these cheesy transitions. Oh, yeah.

Like how many options? Why would somebody who is skilled enough to use Premiere Pro ever had any need for a star wipe? But it’s in there? You know, it’s it’s in the effects pen and it’s just kind of I remember using one as a joke in school and everybody was just like, What the fuck are you doing? And it was like, it’s a joke. I’m not actually using a star what you think I’m, I’m not editing a Christmas video together. That’s some dad made, you know,

Corey Allen  7:14  

Challenge accepted, I’m gonna find a reason or reason these a star wife or even better for our listeners, if you can provide a great example of a star wipe transition. Maybe Maybe we’ll send you a little prize pack. I

Bill Cornelius  7:29  

don’t know, we’ll figure something out. A great example where it actually works. Yes. motivated, like, Oh, I didn’t even notice it was a star wipe because it makes total sense. And it’s not some sort of surrealist camp like Tim and Eric Awesome Show.

Corey Allen  7:46  

We’ll see what they come up with. And it’ll be interesting. Yeah. Cool. All right, Bill. Appreciate it. As always, I feel a little more educated around, maybe where I need to focus on as an editor as well. So thanks for spilling the knowledge for our audience. Make sure you check us out on Instagram at infocus pod or online at infocus. podcast calm. And if you liked what you heard today, go ahead and subscribe. And if you’re on Apple podcast, please leave us a rating and a review. It would help us out immensely. immensely.

Corey Allen  8:19  

Words wordsmithing it. Yeah.

Corey Allen 8:21  

Until next time. Feed your film crew. Please do. We’ll see you there.