Saturday , 23 March 2019
Ins and outs of editing films

Ins and outs of editing films

The task of any film editor is to blend footages in such a sequence that the audiences will be kept interested, surprised, awake and engrossed in the film’s story, believes film editor Alan Heim who delivered a Masterclass on editing at 47th IFFI on Sunday. He stated that it’s the editor’s responsibility to build an emotional connect between the subjects in the film. “A good edited film must have the courage to keep the audience engrossed in the story and moreover keep them awake,” said Heim. Over the years Heim has seen many changes in technology with digital camera slowly replacing the standard cameras. Initially when Heim got into film editing he worked on three movies where he learnt how to edit and make decisions concerning editing. “I used to go through the daily footages that were received; I used to make short notes as to which is a good shoot and which one cannot be used,” said Heim.
During his Masterclass and for the audience’s benefit, Heim screened a few films he has worked on and explained the editing process involved in them. He has to his credit films like ‘All the Jazz’, ‘The Notebook’, ‘Lenny-Girlfriend becomes wife’, ‘Network’ and ‘Bless Me, Ultima’ among others. Providing insight about his film ‘Bless Me, Ultima’ which he was pulled into a few weeks after the editing work had already started, he said: “It was a film which was badly edited. I had rarely seen any movie in such a mess. It was an unwatchable movie until I interpreted. The finished film was better than the past editing and catered to a niche market.”
Heim stressed that it is necessary for any editor to get into the rhythm of the director to know and understand what exactly he wants. Initially pre-shoots were done to get an idea of how the film will look “The cinematographer would get an idea of how the cast or subjects in the frame are going to move once the shooting begins,” said Heim. Another crucial responsibility of the film editor is to match scenes according to the film’s storyline. “The film editor decides whether he wants to start the film with a medium shot or a long shot,” said Heim.
Although editing may seem to be as easy as merging two clips to create a story, it isn’t as easy as it seems. “The most difficult part of any editing is to deal with the psychological part as there might be a difference between what the director intends to shoot and what he ends up shooting,” said Heim. In most films edited by him, Alan uses a style that moves smoothly and gives out the story clearly, although he likes silent films over audiovisual films.
Heim believes that an editor’s job is to work in coordination with the film director. “Although there might be disagreements between the director and editor there are no physical fights between either. It’s the director’s movie and if the editor does not like what the director is doing, he should not be a part of the film anymore,” said Heim.

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