For a start, if we completely simplify the term, editing means choosing single parts and fragments and combining them into a new and coherent unit. It’s a specific and complex tool of expression in film.
Initially, we described the shot as the basic film unit. In this chapter about editing, we can say that shots get their true meaning only when combined with other shots in an edited scene.
FILM SPACE AND FILM TIME
On the most mechanical level, we use editing to get rid of any unnecessary space and time.
In everyday life, we talk about real time and space in which the actions of our characters take place. One of the basic features of editing is film space and time, which is in most cases different from real space and time (films which have been filmed in one shot are exceptions). more about film space >>
ORGANISATION OF SPACE (camera axis, axis of action)
In the film medium, the whole space and time is formed by a sequence of shots. The craft of film demands knowledge of the principals of different filming angles because every next shot must be a logical and natural continuation of the preceding shot. more about organisation of space >>
When a certain object or subject remains in a shot after a direct cut, whether in the same shape or different one, in the same part of the shot or in another, we get the illusion of a jump. We call it a phi effect. We know four forms of the phi effect. more about phi effect >>
CONTINUITY OF MOTION
Continuous editing tries to keep a flowing course of action without actually fully showing it. This is still the basis for most individual scenes in fictional film today. An editing sequence, edited in this way, should be without interruptions in order to keep the action logical and continuous. Cause and effect relationships must be clearly indicated. more about continuity of motion >>
Linear editing is a kind of dramaturgical editing method which evolved from the simplest form of film narration. It includes unity of action, in many cases also unity of time and space. We also call it chronological editing because the narrative arc is presented in a chronological sequence. more about linear editing >>
Parallel editing is very much present in all works of audiovisual production. Typically, it’s the joining of two or more actions that are connected in time or space (but not necessarily causally). Parallel editing can appear in only one part of the editing composition or as an editing basis for the whole audiovisual work. more about parallel editing >>
As the name retrospection already tells us, we are talking about going back to the past. With retrospective film editing, we present one or more parts of the film that happened in the past. For transitions, we mostly use fade-in, fade-out, refocus, dissolve, etc. In modern art films, authors also use other creative solutions. more about retrospective editing >>
Fade-out and fade-in
A fade-out is a gradual transition with a darkening of the end of the shot until the moment when the picture disappears and fades into darkness. On the contrary, a fade-in is a transition from darkness in the beginning of the shot to the appearance of our presented picture. Fade-out and fade-in effects are mostly used as transitions between larger sequences, such as an ending or a beginning. In a creative sense, their use is unlimited.
The Kuleshov effect is a film editing effect named after the Russian filmmaker Lev Kuleshov (1899-1970). Between 1910 and 1920, he performed various experiments in the field of film editing. The effect is based on a shot or more close-up shots of a character’s face which shows no emotion. These shots were alternately edited with other different shots: first with a plate of soup, secondly with a coffin, thirdly with a woman on a bed… more about Kuleshov effect >>
SOUND EDITING AND DESIGN
Sound editing and design is the process of creating the final audio track for the film. From the beginning of sound, filmmakers have strived to improve the audio track and increase the experience of the viewer. For a greater experience of the audio track, the addition or manipulation of sound elements is necessary in most cases. We divide them into four basic groups: dialogue, effects, atmosphere and music. Each of them serves as a tool for creation. Sound editing and design usually consist of several separate handling processes. The number of processes depends on the complexity of each individual project. more about sound editing >>