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Editing the Narrative Short

Lesson 1
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Lesson 2
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Lesson 3
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Lesson 4
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Lesson 5
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Lesson 6
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Lesson 7
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Lesson 8
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Lesson 9
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Lesson 10
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Contributed By Glen Berry

  1. The Editor is a Storyteller
  2. View all Footage
  3. See Director's Intent
  4. The Editor is a Problem Solver

Once you have selected the shots you wish to use to cover the action in a scene, seek to find the best transitions possible and hide your edits. We discussed this previously in the Hierarchy of Edits, use it as your guide to make your handiwork invisible as you move forward from rough cut to fine cut. The audience should never notice an edit, but rather they should be cleverly hidden so the audience is fully absorbed in the story.

Trim the heads and tails of your shots so only the fresh, relevant material in the shot is included. Cut out all the stale parts of the shots that occur before and after the main action. This is called “starting late and ending early”. As you move forward with this process, your movie should get tighter, play smoother and emerge as a watchable, engaging story. Screen it for people who have never seen a cut and know nothing about the movie. Watch them carefully – where do they shift in their chairs, when do their eyes wander, what is the expression on their face? This will tell you where you still have issues with the project and what you need to address.

Fine tuning in the name of the game at this stage – find a way to make every sequence work to your satisfaction and the satisfaction of the director. When you have arrived at the point where the cut cannot be improved (or you are at your deadline), then it is time to lock picture and move to the next stage in post production.


  • Don't be fooled by the technical requirements of the job. An editor must understand how to tell a story or they will forever be confined to twisting knobs for someone else.
  • The editor must see everything that has been shot, you never know what you can use for the project.
  • The movie has been shot around a director's plan for the final product. An editor must be able to see that plan in the footage and follow the path left for them by the director.
  • Editors solve problems. There will be problems with the footage - in amateur films, there may be an enormous number of issues. There are solutions and the editor is obligated to find them.
Introduction to Post Production
Introduction to the Post Production process, the roles of involved and the responsibilities of each contributor.
Post Production Workflow
The workflow through post production; ingesting and logging, rough cut, fine cut, titling, picture lock, sound track.
Post Production Rules of Thumb
Some guidelines that will put the post process in perspective and help draw parameters around scheduling and budgeting for post.
Editing the Narrative Short
The editor's approach to assembling a rough cut and fine cut, the challenges of the editor, the process of creating the movie in post production.
Three Pitfalls of the Editor
Three common pitfalls to which the editor can become the victim and how to avoid them.