Whether you’re about to start a career in film editing or are looking to take your career to the next level, you should know more about the different phases of film editing. By dividing film editing into five separate stages, it should be easier for you to study and become more knowledgeable about film editing and post production. This guide offers an extensive look at the five phases of film editing and what each one entails.
The different phases of film editing can be broken down into logging, first assembly, rough cut, fine cut, and final cut, all of which are integral towards making sure that the video or movie is completed without issue. Keep in mind that your knowledge of movie editing should be combined with the right editing tools for the best results.
Among the most sophisticated tools available for film editing is Adobe Premiere Pro, which is powerful video-editing software that simplifies the editing process while also providing an array of editing techniques that can be applied instantly. No matter which tool you use, the process of film editing will remain the same.
Logging is the very first phase of the film editing process. During this phase, editors will view all of the captured footage, after which the footage will be logged and clips will be arranged into folders. This phase is important because the footage that you see will typically be in the incorrect order and must be rearranged before the remainder of the editing process can occur.
When all of the captured footage has been reviewed and officially logged, the footage will need to be assembled into distinct storytelling blocks. Keep in mind that there may be numerous versions of the same scene that need to be placed together. The blocks of footage will be rearranged to better adhere to the script.
While the first two phases of film editing are simple and straightforward, the third phase can be time-consuming and will require you to make some difficult decisions. During this particular phase, the editor must cut the assembled storytelling blocks into a rough cut of the film, which is essentially a first draft. Dummy narration may be included in this cut alongside placeholder titles and graphics, dissolves, pauses, fades, and other transitions.
The inclusion of these basic editing techniques will allow the client to gain an understanding of what the structure and pacing of the film will be like when the final cut is completed. It’s at this point that approval from the client is highly important. If they don’t approve of the cut, additional changes to the structure of the film will need to be made.
The fine cut for the film that you’re editing is the cut that takes into account every change that was made by the director, producers, editors, and end clients. While the structure of the fine cut will remain the same as the structure from the rough cut, the finer details of every scene will be focused on to make sure that the film flows well and that every scene within the film is necessary.
Any issues with the quality of the film must be addressed in this phase of film editing. Once the fine cut has been completed, the film will receive a “picture lock” approval, which indicates that the entire film can be shipped to other departments and that no additional changes need to be made. The length of the film is locked in at the end of this phase.
Once the fine cut has been completed and the film has been provided to other departments, the finishing touches will be made. These touches include the addition of special effects, color corrections, closed captioning, and sound mixing. If you work as the editor on a film, your work will likely be done before this phase begins. However, you will be expected to handle all of the aforementioned tasks of closed captioning and special effects if you work on your own. When the final cut of the film is made, it can be distributed.
Editing a film is never going to be an easy process. It’s within the editing phase of a project that a film truly comes together, which is why film editors are in such high demand. No matter where your career is at the moment, knowing about the separate phases of film editing should provide you with the guide you need when editing a film of any length.