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A Day In The Life Of An...Editor

It is down to an editor to create a compelling video by merging raw footage, colour grading, sound and graphic design. Editors weave together these various aspects to create a story that will stir empathy and connection. Their tasks require attention to detail and a creative flare.

Heather's Interview

What is a typical schedule for an editor / what is a typical day for you?

It’s difficult to say as no day is the same. It depends on the project that you are working on in that moment of time. If it’s a new project in the morning - presuming the rushes [raw footage] are already on the hard drive - you would create a project in premiere and set up the project with the right dimensions of the footage then load all of the rushes and footage into the project. Next you need to consider the clients needs and wants, for example, what kind of mood are they seeking to display through the video? What music would best suit this? And so on.

My day currently involves a lot of syncing up interview footage with their respective sound as we record the audio and visuals separately. We do this because it allows for flexibility when recording other sound and an overall better quality from the external recorders. Once the visuals and audio have been synced I go on to create an assembly sequence, which is where you pick out the most poignant excerpts of the interview, which you can then use in the final product.

How long do you typically work on a project?

Generally, it depends on how many notes the client has, which varies with the packages we offer here at Particle 6 Productions. Typically, it takes about a month from start to finish. Within the first week we send the first draft and go from there with the clients feedback, amendments and refining the video. What takes up the most time is the waiting between communications, but we use this time wisely by simultaneously working on other projects.

Do you have any influences that you draw inspiration from?

There are two types of editing styles. One where you’re not supposed to notice the cuts and transitions aptly named “invisible editing” or “continuity editing”. The other is purposeful and stylistic or “discontinuous”. This is what Paul Machliss did in ‘Baby Driver’ (2017) and he did a fantastic job! His editing was on the beat of the diegetic sound and dynamic. I admire that.

How do you stay up to date with all the latest trends and editing tools?

I use Adobe Creative Cloud [Adobe Creative Suite] which updates the software automatically with a notification on what has changed. I also search around the internet for video content, as well as analyse the edit. Discovering the kind of style that is popular lately, the differences between film edits and social media edits and the new style of grading, etc.

Something that I have found, is that trends tend to arise mostly in social media edits whereas film edits tend to be more cyclical following the popular genre of film at that time.

What is the best/hardest part of your job?

I enjoy creating stories with the videos that I edit. For example, if it’s an interview structured corporate video I would try to weave a story with the answers given by the interviewees. My favourite bit of doing this is forming an aesthetically pleasing visual piece to go with those interviews ~ because nobody really wants to watch 3 minutes of people just talking to the camera. The trick is finding a link between what is being said and an image that encapsulates either the direct meaning of their words or a visual that emotes their sentiments.

The hardest part is finding where I should start. It’s quite overwhelming and daunting when you have an empty timeline and folders upon folders of footage and audio.

Is there something that you feel clients should take into account when requesting additional items in an edit?

Every time there is a change to the main sequence [the main timeline that the project is worked on] the whole video must be re-rendered at the highest quality. This means that the rendering time must be taken into account. Also, if there is feedback about changing something central to the “story” of the current footage this means that everything else must be restructured.

How has Particle 6 productions helped you develop your editing skills?

The thing I am most grateful for is that I am able to edit everyday. As any editor can tell you, people get rusty. There are always new trends and updates on the software we use. It’s been a great learning curve as I have come to understand which clients want certain styles of video. I‘ve also gotten more comfortable with Adobe After Effects.

What is your favourite project that you have worked on at Particle 6 Productions?

My most cherished project was ‘Miss Holland’! A project we filmed last year. It was doubly exciting as I knew that it was going to end up on BBC iPlayer. I was an editing assistant at the time, given the task of assembly and picking out the funniest and best bits for the public to see. This was really enjoyable as I definitely have a bias to fictional videos over corporate because of the creative freedom.

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