A Day in the Life

Editor Post Production

Switch on kit , check that necessary material has been digitised ( if not - shoot someone) go for breakfast 10:00
Director may have arrived by now - if so discuss the nature of the piece , how they want to assemble it - e.g. sync pull, rough assembly, fine cut and overlay pictures. 10:15
Order coffees 10:30
Start editing, constantly discussing with director the best shots, combinations of shots, sequence order etc. Obviously ignoring the director as often as possible and doing your own thing , because that’s patently better. 13:00
Lunch. Director should buy the beers if sensible 14:00
-ish. Continue edit , try and insist on afternoon nap 19:00
- 23:00 (variable) Finish edit - show to producer , re-edit , prepare audio tracklay for dub, play finished item onto tape , switch off kit . Go home.

What you do: The range of the job?

Post Production is the term for the final stage in film making in which the raw material (shot by the Camera crew and recorded by the Production Sound crew) is edited together to form the completed film. The processes involved in Post Production include: picture editing, sound editing, composing and recording the score, music editing, adding visual special effects, adding audio sound effects such as Automated Dialogue Replacement (ADR), Foley (Post-synchronised sound effects)*, sound design*, sound mixing*, colour grading, titles design, and negative cutting.

Editors creatively determine the way that films unfold and stories develop. They work and rework scenes in order to maximise films' potential. Editing usually begins as soon as films start shooting. As the rushes are delivered to the cutting room,(WITH FILM-) the 1st Assistant Editor syncs them up (synchronises picture and sound) so that the Editor can begin work on selected sequences. Because scenes are shot and edited out of sequence, Editors may work on scenes from the end of the film before those at the beginning, and must therefore be able to maintain a clear idea of the emerging story. These sequences are edited together to form the assembly edit (or rough cut) which is painstakingly worked and reworked over months to produce the Fine Cut or picture lock (when the Director and/or Executive Producer give final approval of the picture edit).

Brian Charles BBC Editor says;

Working with the director or producer to get the best out of the shoot by piecing together the story and creating an item or piece which is coherent, has a good idea of pace and looks good.

With offline editing this is done by assembling various segments of the story and trying out different ways of putting it all together to decide on the best order and then fine cutting to get the piece looking slick and preparing the audio for a dubbing suite to create the soundtrack.

Online editing is usually the finishing touches working with full broadcast quality pictures. Adding astons and graphics and if time and money allow, colour correction processes. Frequently however, especially for quick turn around magazine style programmes, individual items are edited on an offline or online basis requiring the finished product to be produced at broadcast quality on the same day!

Qualities: What you need to be able to do the job?

Patience, interpersonal skills, patience, ability to remain calm under pressure, patience, understanding of editing procedures, patience and an ability to keep up with new technologies. Oh and patience.

Career path: How you start and where you can go with it?

In TV, usually as a runner or some other role, progressing to Assistant Editor where one can learn some of the attributes necessary for an Editor, or one can just get the beers in, and then Editor, where with patience one can drink the beers. After Editor? Probably AA.

As a story-teller, in fact you may well go on to directing and producing, or go on to editing ever bigger productions.

Both Picture and Sound Editing are highly creative crafts, requiring specialist skills which must be acquired over many years of on the job experience. Because the majority of films are edited on computers, all those who work in cutting rooms must have experience and knowledge of digital editing equipment and software, combined with precise attention to detail, and excellent communication skills. They may start work at junior levels or as Runners at Post Production Facilities Houses before eventually progressing to Assistant, Editor or Post Production Supervisor.

MORE ON THE JOB: Obviously longer projects have different typical days , but by & large an editor in an off-line suite will work alongside the director developing the various sequences into a coherent whole , often over length , to be shown to the powers that be above (producers, money lenders) to make their decisions. Then the piece will be tweaked, overhauled or completely re-edited until everyone is happy. Only then will the soundtrack and all other visual effects be prepared and completed.

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