Linear and parallel editing



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. Linear editing is widely used in documentary film because authors often decide to build their work according to the chronology of events or the chronology of the filming process itself. Because of the condensation and rationalisation of the narrative content, the method of elliptic editing is often used, where a part of the scene or sequence is excluded. This way, the present discontinuity of the action itself is cancelled out and the chronological course of action is preserved. With elliptic editing, we increase the speed of the presented content and also the dramatic feeling of the action itself.







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. In relation to time, it can intertwine shots from the past and present (or future). In relation to space, it can intertwine several actions happening in different scenes. The simplest form of parallel editing is the relation between shots according to the principle of cause and consequence or action and reaction.


Example: A boy is sitting on a bench – Cats are playing at a garbage dump, the boy takes a stone in his hand – Cats are playing at the garbage dump, the boy throws the stone – The stone hits a cat at the garbage dump.