The juxtaposition of image and sound has captivated audiences for over a century. Editing is the heartbeat of any motion picture and creates rhythm, pace, and meaning. The Editor is the man behind the curtain, the Wizard of Oz, so to speak, that masterfully brings it all together. In today’s day and age, an Editor is required to wear multiple hats, going above and beyond just picture editing. Editors today are also responsible for color correction, grading, art and sound design, visual effects, motion graphics, and the list goes on. So how does an Editor, who is already bogged down with numerous responsibilities, get better? What are some ways that you, as a Video Editor, can become even more effective in telling your story?
Learning from the Best
If you’re not watching the latest and greatest TV shows or blockbuster hits, then you’re not learning from the best. I’m not into the zombie apocalypse but there must be some good reason why The Walking Dead has such a cult following. Watch how, when, and why the Editor cuts? Study the styles of these heavy-hitting Editors. If there’s one specific Editor that you love stylistically, follow their work, watch their other pieces, and then try to implement some of their cuts. Good artists copy, great artists steal. Originality is nearly dead today. What’s important is re-inventing something that has been done. So take what your favorite Editor has done and try doing it better.
You can take a master class for anything these days. Famous directors like Martin Scorsese and actors like Samuel L. Jackson have online courses that you can plug in to. Doesn’t mean you’ll be the next Scorsese, but like learning from the best, they are literally teaching you to be and do what they’ve done. Websites like YouTube and Lynda.com have free tutorials that will teach you how to sharpen your editing skill set. Some of these YouTube influences are really good at what they do and teach you all the latest and greatest tricks. There are also a large number of blogs that you can subscribe to that will email you how-to videos. Knowledge is power, so keep consuming as much as you can.
Editing is an art form, but if your art isn’t selling then it’s time for a challenge. Using the same transitions and edits will only last for a short while. If you’re not growing as an Editor then you are dying. Challenge yourself by trying an effect you’ve never tried before. If you’re not wowed by your own work then the client won’t be wowed either. Change it up and stay afresh. An Editor’s skill is like a sport so it requires practice and repetition. By following these few tips you’ll improve as a Video Editor, and if you utilize them properly then in no time you’ll be editing your next Hollywood hit.