The Power of Editing

by Paddy Bird on
June 25, 2020

This art form of ours is truly remarkable in the way it can direct the emotional state of our audience. As editors we can bend and shape the blocks on our timelines in so many different ways and each one takes our viewers on a exciting visual experience.

If we’re trained in the black arts of editing, if we master the hundreds of creative techniques, skills and mindsets, we can take the same raw footage and cut it in completely different ways. Pacing, structure, camera movement and cutting patterns are just some of the elements we craft to produce wildly different outcomes for any project.

To illustrate how powerful this art form can be take a look at these two rough cuts I constructed. They are built from the exact same raw footage but I’ve edited them in two completely different ways. And as you can easily notice, this has created two completely different emotional states for the viewer.

Cinematic Documentary Cut

In this fist version I imagined that I was cutting in a high end documentary style. My pretend director would want a considered, artistic and cinematic feel to the sequence. With that in mind I kept the pacing slow, left out any observational style camerawork, chose symmetrical shots and scored it all with an emotional and artistic music track.

Entertainment Show Cut

In this second version I pretended that my client was an entertainment or reality TV show. They would want a quicker and lighter cutting style that gave a more playful emotional feeling for the audience. I therefore included much more of the observational camerawork, a tongue in cheek music track and used simple cutting techniques like cutting the B roll, character action and camera movement on the beat.

Same raw footage, two different outcomes

Of course we could go on forever in choosing different moods, structures and cutting patterns depending on what the client wanted, who the audience was and what we wanted to make them feel. But these two rough cuts really highlight the fact that how we decide to make the audience feel can change no matter what raw footage were given. And that is power.

An editor trained in creative skills like these can take any genre, from online content and corporate promos to reality TV and documentary, and make them many times more effective and powerful for their viewers.

What am I Watching?

Tracks Featured in This Episode from Universal Production Music


Track 1
Time: 0:02
Track Title: Bloom
Composer: Max Reud
Album: Spheres
View Track

Track 2
Time: 18:54
Track Title: Arrival
Composer: Max Reud
Album: Spheres
View Track

Track 3
Time: 33:05
Track Title: Cinematic Journey
Composer: Stephanie Joly & Pierre-Alain Lecroart
Album: Cinematic Journey
View Track

Cinematic Documentary Cut

Track Title: Never Far Away
Composers: Jonathan Elias & Sarah Trevino
Album: Beautiful Inventions
View Track

Entertainment Show Cut

Track Title: Easy Does It
Composer: Daniel Alexis Pemberton
Album: GrooveBox 3: Organic Beats
View Track


The Power Of Music Editing: Part 2

Saturday, Feb 12, 3PM GMT

We’re really excited to announce Part 2 of our Music Editing Bootcamp. The number one skill that high end clients ask for more than any other is the ability to skilfully score sequences. It’s a complex art form within the art of editing and requires deep and intense analysis in order to master it.

We created the foundations of musical editing theory in Part 1 of our Bootcamp series by studying musical structure, tonality, assignment and tempo. Now, it’s time to go more in depth and look at the techniques used in pro edit suites around the world.

This is why we’ve developed a series of 2 hour, live Bootcamps dedicated to mastering this little known part of the art of editing.

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Free Taster Course: MFA Craft Editing

26 July - 5 August 2021
16-26 August 2021

This taster course will give you hands-on experience of the MFA Craft Edit Masters, the industry's first professional editing course where the focus is on the art form rather than the software or technology.

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A Week of Creative Intensity

Mon 9 Aug – Sat 14 Aug 2021

Put yourself in the hot seat this summer with the most in-depth editing course on the planet. We’ve deliberately built this elite level Summer School for you: the editor who wants to take their creative skills to a whole new level.

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