Editing by Marta Zylinska

Each film is produced three times – the first time that the script is written, then during the filming, and finally during editing. Editing is the last stage of production, however, very important. The appropriate structure of stories, colour, rhythm, sound, and dynamics change over time, build the mood up for the viewer, and evokes emotions. Nevertheless, for many years, editors have been hidden in the shadow of directors, great actors and producers. Few of us know the name of the person who is responsible for the editing of the Oscar-winning film Rocky(1976), The English Patient(1996), and last year’s winner of the statuette – Whisplasch(2014). This article will present the work of editors and especially the process of change which had gone into the field after the digitisation of the film industry.

To see the changes that have occurred in the assembly at the end of several decades, you have to start the installation as it appeared at the beginning of the video which was filmed on 35mm celluloid tape. For the first person who used the techniques of assembly is deemed to Edwin S. Porter (1870-1941). In just a six-minute film Life of an American Fireman(1905) had not only the story, but also attempts to actions in parallel and close-up details. You have to realize that this pioneer period is not yet known assembly tables allow you to view and edit footage. Exposed film tape has been viewed eyeing the frame without the possibility of preview on the projector, and the shooting time determined by trial and error using the manual ways of measuring tape. As in any field, and so in the beginnings were not easy. When successive creators began to discover the magic of mounting the screen cinemas, numerous cinema fans began to arrive. Editing allowed magic show on the screen to happen, and not only. How well Lenin, leader of Soviet Russia, saw, film can also be a tool to help him persuade the nation to revolution. They knew that by suitable mounting can be a psychological effect. In the 30’s, film production has become a profitable business. Filmmakers realised that the sound and picture not only stimulated the emotions, but can also affect our beliefs. Beautiful scene depicting the work of editors in the 50’s, shows in his latest film, Hail Caesar(2016) Coen brothers, where in a dark, smoky room C.C. Calhoun (Frances McDormand), surrounded by miles of film tapes, with a cigarette in her mouth, cuts, glues, again cuts to put together what has been filmed in a studio. In the 60’s another change of scheme granted before the assembly was to accelerate action. Used in the 70s, but on a large scale acceleration of shares by editing began to be used in the twenty-first century. Thanks to digitization which is enabled. Formerly fight scene was shot in the general plan and contained 3-4 cuts. Now, to provide equal period of struggle are used over two hundred different angles. But the essence of the installation is always the same so that it is imperceptible to the eye while telling stories.

Computer technology greatly facilitates the process of labor-intensive assembly. Videos filmed on film in uncut version could be converted to digital form and transferred to CD. On the computer screen it was possible, of course without the use of scissors, combining countless versions of scenes. Today commonly used computer programs for installation. Activities such as sorting of images, processing of film reels on the stage, synchronous application of sound become redundant. As a result, installation is cheaper and takes much less time With computer technology, the editors can not only speed up through the cage and change their order but also to interfere. Digitalization has given us the possibility to cut out what unnecessary and append new things after shooting scenes. In those days, the editor had greater authority over the final appearance of each scene in the film, but also for more decisions to be taken for what it is worth and the effects of which it is not worth to use for the good of the film. Gorge Lucas said, in the film The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing (2004), digitization allows for directing the film during installation. How can we guess it gives great opportunities editors, but not entirely be content directors. This may lead to the situation that the editor will change the idea of the director by mounting the film in such a way that the director’s vision is completely changed. Therefore, in these times, most directors appreciates and takes care of his editor who understands his artistic visions because this cooperation can destroy or create even the best-filmed movie. And what impact could feel tied to the digitization assembly producers? Each acclaimed director realises the power that comes from editing because very often they reserve the right to our contracts to final decisions during installation. The advent of new opportunities and had to go a such changes. The director and producer, as they had to start counting the editors and his work. In the process of distribution, but the most editor is still ignored. Videos are always promoted a well-known actor or director previous blockbusters. Nobody ever mentions the editors and its achievements. Why the names of editors are not promoted as much as the names of directors or producers? Resulting in the fact that they are still anonymous to most viewers.

Today editor, however, is the most important contributor to the director. No other member of the team does not spend much time with the director. It should also be noted that the editor can change every scene we shot the director and make, it will be more pronounced for the film. As we can see, over several ten years working editor has gained a much larger meaning than at the beginning. Certainly one of the main reasons was the advent of digitisation which gave much greater authority in post production than ever before. Telling the film is no longer only and exclusively in the hands of the director and screenwriter but its another important pillar is the editor that the one million parts must place a whole.




  1. Nowell-Smith Geoffrey, The Oxford history of world cinema (Oxford University Press: Oxford, 1996)
  2. O’Connor John, Eamonn Galvin, Marketing in the Digital Age (Harlow: Financial Times Prentice Hall, 2001 )
  3. Thompson Roy, Grammar of the edit (Focal Press: Oxford, 1993)
  4. The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing, (2004) [FILM] Directed by Wendy Apple, USA: C.E, BBC

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