Getting Started in Editing #2 – Timeline

By the way, I am going to be continuing off of the things presented in the first getting started in editing article, so if you haven’t read that one, you might want to hit the link real quick so you can get caught up.  I’ll wait…

Okay, now that we’re all here let’s get started.  I know many editors who have a hard time getting started at this point, not knowing where to begin, or what they should really do first after all of the footage is captured.  There are any number of ways you could start.  If, while capturing, there was a certain scene that caught your eye, and you want to get it cut together first before you lose the idea; go for it.  For those who aren’t entire sure start simply at the beginning.  Take out your script (which I am sure will be filled with the director’s and your notes, right?), and go from the very beginning.

Now is not the time to worry about intro titles, nor is it the time to be fretting about sound mixing.  Now is the time for the rough cut.  So many editors encounter problems in the rough cut, mostly because they don’t actually make one. They try to implement elements of a fine cut into the mix.  The initial cut of the film is a merely laying down the footage in sequential order.  Don’t worry overly much about the cut-a-ways you are going to use, and don’t be too tedious about your match-cuts.  Just get the film into the timeline.  If you try to hone in and perfect every single scene as you are editing, it’s going to end up taking you more than double the normal amount of time.  When you are working on a deadline or freelancing, those extra hours could decide whether or not you get another job/contract.

Once the film is rough on the timeline you will have a general idea of how the film is going to flow.  You’ll know if a scene needs to be switched around—different from the script—to make things more audience-friendly.  When you do fine cuts first, the process of moving scenes around becomes far more difficult.

When it comes to editing, keeping things as simple as possible is key.  Don’t let anyone fool you, editing can be hard with literally thousands of decisions you can make.  Don’t try to make them all at once, do the big ones first, and then start to break it down scene by scene.

Next time I am going to be going a little more into the actually mechanics/aesthetics of the editing, so be sure to come back for that!

-Jordan