Editing for Short Films
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Why different approaches are needed for editing short and feature films
Short filmmakers have a difficult job on their hands, articulating an idea clearly and concisely and often in a matter of minutes. Whilst feature length films can develop twists and turns in the plot, a short film may become convoluted and the impact of the piece diffused.
It is a common misconception that shorts are easier to produce than features – and whilst it is true that the hours spent filming are reduced, and they are often a great introduction to filmmaking, a great short is often harder to realise than a feature.
“Short film editing boils down to a deceptively simple principle: tell me a good story efficiently.”
“While editing short films, I concentrate on two key questions. Firstly, what is the idea driving it?…. Secondly, I ask whether the film as a whole can function without a scene, a line? Many directors-editors will opt to leave in extraneous details that weigh down their films.”
“The editing discipline exists under two large umbrellas. The first is an understanding of when to cut… The second, and most compelling, discipline is what to cut”…..
….“Much dialogue is completely unnecessary for narrative purposes…”
“I have also, through experience, learned to let go. Editing a short film is NOT about following a script beat – by – beat.”
“I’ve discovered that continuity and match action editing are grossly overrated. If we are immersed and invested in what’s happening on the screen, we will ultimately ignore continuity errors”.
Last but not least, #6
“Never forget the format. It’s a short film. Life gets infinitely more difficult with every minute above 10. Make them wish the film were longer, not the other way around.”
More interesting articles in Movie Scope magazine here.