Tony Zhou is one of those rare people who is both a skilled craftsman and a superb teacher. The reason to mention that now is because a new video just showed up on his “Every Frame a Painting” Vimeo channel. It’s called “How Does an Editor Think and Feel?” Take a look and then drop below for a few more words on what an editor thinks and feels about this video on how editors think and feel.
So, first of all I have to say that any video that can praise Star Wars and take a dig at Marvel at the same time can’t be all bad. But personal biases aside, that bit is a canny illustration of one of this piece’s big ideas. Namely, that the timing of a shot can have just as much impact as the content of a shot. Both of the training sequences he highlights convey the same information, but in terms of actual impact they’re worlds apart.
And the thing about that timing, as he also points out, is that there aren’t necessarily any clear rules to come by it. One of the things that’s tricky about editing — really, about all parts of the filmmaking process — is that it’s simultaneously an objective and an instinctual exercise. Filmmaking is more alchemy than science, and as someone working in post-production it’s important to remember that each cut (and keyframe, and transition) represents a choice. If we want to truly impact our audience, we have to make sure it’s an effective one.
-David Rice, Outpost editor