The Editing Begins

The Editing Page


In the shot, Customer turns his head.

In the next shot he says, "Hey, Leila."

That's it. But in the front of a small room, sitting at a rack of keyboards and video monitors, Sue Graef is clicking like crazy.

Click, click, click, click, click, click.

Click, click.

She is using the mouse to click on a sequence of tiny buttons on the one of the monitors, the one displaying the interface for the Avid editing machine Sue is operating.

Earlier in the month Sue took the dailies, the takes from all the scenes of Cherry that Joseph and Jon, the directors, had decided to print, and put them together into one long string that resembled, sort of, the script. This is called the rough assembly.

But it is a rare assembly that actually does resemble the script, such is the nature of actually transforming the written word to image. So even in the best of times the assembly is merely an opening volley.

As Joseph said at one point: "First you write a script. Then you rewrite, that's the actually filming. And when you edit you get a chance to rewrite yet again. Each time you go at it with all the resources you have at hand, first words, then actors and lines and sets, and then, finally, film and sound and effects."

Extending this metaphor, when editing begins Sue becomes a Word Processor (because she can operate the editing maching), although she is much more than a simple tool; she is the expert to whom the directors turn to transform their footage into a movie.

And so the boys and Sue develop a few different work strategies to tackle the huge process of editing.

First, Sue does a cut of her own. She spends ten days in the editing room, analyzing the problems with the footage and devising ways to approach them.

Next, the boys watch Sue's edit and based on it, and their knowledge of the available footage, they make notes. These can range from the simple, suggesting a shot be cut sooner or play longer, to the more complex, including rearranging scenes, or splicing different scenes together.

Sue does another pass, incorporating her interpretation of the notes. The group reviews, makes more notes, and (in a sense) the editing begins...

Click, click, click, click, click.

- Peter Kreutzer

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