“Film editing is part of the process of filmmaking. It involves the selection and combining of shots into sequences, and ultimately creating a finished motion picture. It is an art of storytelling. Film editing is the only art that is unique to cinema, separating film-making from other art forms that preceded it (such as photography, theater, dance, writing, and directing), although there are close parallels to the editing process in other art forms like poetry or novel writing. Film editing is often referred to as the “invisible art” because when it is well-practiced, the viewer can become so engaged that he or she is not even aware of the editor’s work.
On its most fundamental level, film editing is the art, technique, and practice of assembling shots into a coherent whole. A film editor is a person who practices film editing by assembling the footage. However, the job of an editor isn’t simply to mechanically put pieces of a film together, cut off film slates, or edit dialogue scenes. A film editor must creatively work with the layers of images, story, dialogue, music, pacing, as well as the actors’ performances to effectively “re-imagine” and even rewrite the film to craft a cohesive whole. Editors usually play a dynamic role in the making of a film.
With the advent of digital editing, film editors and their assistants have become responsible for many areas of filmmaking that used to be the responsibility of others. For instance, in past years, picture editors dealt only with just that—picture. Sound, music, and (more recently) visual effects editors dealt with the practicalities of other aspects of the editing process, usually under the direction of the picture editor and director. However, digital systems have increasingly put these responsibilities on the picture editor. It is common, especially on lower budget films, for the assistant editors or even the editor to cut in music, mock up visual effects, and add sound effects or other sound replacements. These temporary elements are usually replaced with more refined final elements by the sound, music, and visual effects teams hired to complete the picture.
Film editing is an art that can be used in diverse ways. It can create sensually provocative montages; become a laboratory for experimental cinema; bring out the emotional truth in an actor’s performance; create a point of view on otherwise obtuse events; guide the telling and pace of a story; create an illusion of danger where there is none; give emphasis to things that would not have otherwise been noted; and even create a vital subconscious emotional connection to the viewer, among many other possibilities.” (Wikipedia).
I also wanted to know more about editing techniques. I’ve found a really helpful site about film editing: http://kino-eye.com/drafts/Film_Editing_v0.2.pdf, where there are a lot of useful notes about editing techniques. The best part is that they are really detailed, and you can understand them very easily.
I’ve also found a site with editing tips, which I also consider useful: http://www.helium.com/items/555846-film-editing-tips-and-techniques-for-creating-a-compelling-story. Here is a small part of the article:
“In old Hollywood adage has it that a film is created three times; when it’s written, when it’s shot and when it’s edited.
This isn’t entirely true. Ideally the three stages should be the work of refining a core theme or idea, the act of creation should be a single ongoing event. It’s only if you are presented with footage shot by a clueless director using a poorly conceived script that you might find yourself in the unenviable situation of creating something new.
If the director has done his job properly, then the editing stage should be a process of enhancing what the screenwriter started and the director shot. So let’s assume that the best situation has occurred and a director who knows what he’s doing has handed you a neat pile of tapes.
The most important thing to do first is log the tapes and while you are doing this, watch as the slates are called look for any useful looks or mannerisms that the actors give before the director calls action. Note these down.
You’ve done that? Right, let’s move on.
Depending on how much of a vision the director has, it should be fairly obvious where to take an edit and your first cut will be probably closest to what the director had in mind.
Even though a good director might have had the editing stage in the back of his mind while he was shooting and have a clear idea of how it will cut together, it will, in all probability, still be waaaaay too long.
Good directors love to work with actors, to encourage them to try new things and wring out the best of them. Quite often all the focus on the actors leads to a fundamental oversight; that film is a medium of moving pictures, not of dialogue.
It’s now your job to ratchet it all up a gear and make it into a proper movie, rather than a series of monologues and heartfelt interchanges.”