How to Edit a Movie: Guide to Film and Video Editing

Editing is a rewarding and interesting part of filmmaking. It is a process where the entire story comes together. All important decisions like the shots you must use, the right way to put them all together, and sound will make a major difference to the movie.

Of course, editing can be complicated, and many individuals do struggle with it. The main struggle is finding the right place for cutting the unwanted shots. And yes, there’s a lot of time that also goes into the project. But not anymore with the availability of a video editor!

Speaking of the different movie editing techniques, using them in the right way can help editors create compelling stories. Yes, it can be a bit time-consuming and a trial and error process, but there are certainly some tips that the editors can use for speeding up the process.

Mask Cuts with Proper Movement

The easiest way of achieving seamless transitions between different shots is cutting while there is either camera movement or on-screen movement. Kicks and punches in fight sequences make on-screen movements, while whip pans are a good example of camera movement.

Keep the Editing Tight

When you are using online movie maker always consider the minutest details of your movie. Consider whether it is essential to watch characters walking here and there or doing their regular activities and then cut out the shots that you think will slow down the pace of your movie.

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Also, consider the long pauses that come between the lines of the dialogues of the actors. You can speed up things by experimenting with cuts between varied camera angles and by removing unwanted footage from your film.

Avoid Cutting, Instead, Build

There is no right or wrong method of editing a movie. Nevertheless, if you do not seem to be happy with the process you are employing, consider the technique of building an edit instead of trimming it down.

Going by this procedure will help you save a good amount of energy and time and make your shots look attractive and professional. It helps save energy and time because you are not spending them on cutting away all the shots from your timeline.

Instead, you will spend the saved energy and time building a great timeline using some of the best shots. You can go in with editing and then fine-tune these shots later.

 

Use Audio/Visual Scissors

One of the most important things you must keep in mind is that your visuals should perfectly match the audio of your movie. Now, what does this mean? It means that if there are important scenes where the dialogue should be audible to the audience, avoid inserting any kind of sound there.

In the same way, if the sound seems to be necessary at a certain point in a scene, use it most subtly.

Reinforce the Scene Purpose

Try editing each and every shot in such a way that it supports the main drive or focus of the scene. For example, if the present actions of a character are caused because of a certain moment in part, you have the option of using flashback cutaways for clarifying their behavior.

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In the same way, if there’s a scene with a ticking time bomb, you can heighten the suspense factor of the scene by cutting back to countdown frequently.

Try Using Misdirection

You can even leave it completely to the audience when it comes to ascertaining what is actually going on in a scene. You can do this best by simply cutting to a wide shot while there are high emotional expositions. Or you can choose to go with a reverse shot obscuring the emotions and the face of a character.

Audio Cutting Is Also Essential

In addition to visual editing, it is also essential to go for audio editing to accomplish powerful effects. Quite similar to matching cut visual components, it is highly effective to match cut sound effects and dialogues.

For example, matching the sound of the spinning blades of a helicopter to the spinning blades of a fan will give the scene the war-like effect that the audiences will be interested in.

Cut As If You Are Partying

This basically entails coming late and leaving early. The technique involves cutting the clips a bit thinner than what you might have thought earlier. This essentially entails coming in multiple frames late and then cutting multiple frames early.

This helps in creating tension and in keeping the audience away from getting bored very easily.

Go for Motivated Cuts

Motivated cuts are causal links between two different shots. A perfect example of this link is when there’s a character acknowledging something off-screen, and you are cutting to that particular thing.

Motivated cuts are quite helpful in building suspense as well. It involves showing the eyes of a character slowly widening as the character stares at someone off-screen in fright. Always watch the eyes because the eyes of a character can speak a lot about what is going on in a certain scene.

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This means that they will help you with your editing decisions, paying close attention to when the character blinks as well. Cutting a frame even before a character blinks offers a natural cutting point that creates a great effect.

Reveal Information by Using Insert Shots

Insert shots are basically close-ups of certain items like clues at the murder scene or any action like hands playing the piano. These shots help in focusing the attention of the audience on a certain thing.

They not only help in adding diversity to selected shots but even help with transitions between varied scenes.

Conclusion

Editing a movie to make it more appealing and interesting takes in a lot of hard work. But in the very first place, you must trust your inner self or your gut. That’s because the gut feeling you have will be capable of helping you with making the best of editing decisions.

Attuning yourself to the natural rhythm and flow of your movie assignment will help you get an easy idea about where you need to cut and trim. Altogether, the editing will be a fun and exciting procedure for you only if you know your movie very well.

 

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