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When most people think of video or film editing, they picture someone sitting at a computer at the end of the project putting all the footage, sound, and titles together while the director and producers lounge about behind them on sofas, munching on snacks or playing video games. Occasionally, the editor will turn to the director to discuss a sequence and perhaps watch a portion of the project before returning to clicking away with the mouse. Eventually, when everything is complete, they all go home to prepare for the red carpet unveiling of their masterpiece and the inevitable success to follow.

While elements of this fiction may be true, the biggest misunderstanding among the masses about the editing process is that of its full role in the production of a video or film project. This chapter will attempt to delve into the role that video editing can and, in any case, should play in a project. Whether that project is an architectural presentation for a real estate developer, an episode for a TV series, or a full length feature film, it is my hope that this chapter may shed some new light on the possibilities editing can bring to the process, which can help create a more efficient workflow.

Readers should be aware that the goal of this chapter is not to “teach” you how to edit. It would take an entire book even to attempt to teach the art of editing, and I am sure many editors I have worked with would argue if that was even possible. The art of editing is one of subtle and not-sosubtle complexities that juggle music, imagery, and pacing with the end goal of telling a story while hopefully engaging and, perhaps, touching viewers in an emotional way. This is no small order and for many non-editors, this job description can be difficult to appreciate. I, for one, am guilty of under-appreciating the role of the editor in my early years in the industry. Coming from a 3d artist background, I used to think, “Why does the editor get so much credit? They do not create anything from scratch! All they do is cut up footage they get from the compositors, from us, from the live shoot, and spit it back out as one big video file. For that they get their own room with a sofa? What is up with that?” Hopefully, this chapter will tell you what is “up with that.” It has taken me many years of working closely with editors in many capacities, from 3d artist, compositor, visual effects’ supervisor, producer, director, and, finally, as an editor to appreciate fully not only the editors themselves but also the process of editing and its far-reaching ability to shape a project from beginning to end.

Fear not! While I openly disclaim any attempt to “teach” editing, I will delve briefly into the basic mechanics of editing with the intention of providing some helpful guidance for others who, like myself, are not editors by trade or training but find themselves tasked with filling the role of a first-time editor on a project. Ultimately, it is my hope that you will find the information that follows helpful in amending or validating your approach to the overall workflow of your project.

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