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DFP: Modes/Process of Editing A Film

This unit talks about Modes/Process of Editing A Film,Functions of Editing and Purposes of Editing a Film.

Editing involves the use of plot in arranging the presentational sequence of the story live. The strategy enables the idea of the creative work, as conceived, to be actualized, through a technical process. These process or modes as outlined by Owuamalam (2007) are real time editing and post-production editing. Real time editing mode makes it possible to present line shows and programmes as the events happen. The editing process involves the use of materials from various sources and blending them synergically to produce the screen experience, known as film. For example, the news coverage of the visit of president Jonathan to Anambra State in 2012, to flag-off the formal opening of Orient Petroleum in the State and to Launch the inclusion of Anambra State among oil Producing States in Nigeria, can show the following arrival ceremonies, as a live Programme: the Presidential jet is seen touching down the airport runway; another scene is shown where government officials are waiting in front of a red carpet, laid for the president; activities inside the VIP lounge, showing journalists in the front seat, where the president is to address them, traditional or cultural dance troupe outside the arrival hall, entertaining the crowd etc. It is a blend of the various scenes and sound, as a package, that produces the live programme, which is enjoyed on the television screen.

Post-Production Editing deals with the arrangement of shots or picture frames, obtained from a performance. It is an after performance production, designed to match the plot and storyline with what the audience is expected to watch on the screen. It is not as time-pressured as the real time editing, which happens simultaneously as the event is recorded for transmission. It takes a longer time to achieve them real time editing. It is therefore time determined so that the edited version of the film fit into a specific time frame, as desired by the director, without losing any major aspect of the work.

Types of Film Editing

There are two basic types of film editing. They originate from the equipment and process that are applicable in realizing the editing objective. The type considered and used, is a matter of convenience and available technology. The two types or forms of editing are linear and non- linear editing.

In linear editing, video tapes are used for playbacks and recording. It is a tape-based recording system, whether analog or digital. The sequence of review is orderly and Progressive. Continuality of events takes place in a specific order, which is not to be altered. In linear Editing System (LES) two videotape recorders (VTR) are required. One plays back the recorded tape while the other is used in recording selected shots from the former, according to the editing plan. The shots to be selected can be identified from the recorded tape, using the tape counter to find the exact location of the said shot, in the produced tape. The editor notes the numbers and arranges them according to the takes, desired to produce the finished product. The editor uses two monitors-the preview monitor and the final view monitor. The preview monitor is used to watch and select shots or takes, from the review VTR. It is the pictures on this monitor that enable the editor to pause the review tape and select shots. The other monitor, shows the recorded images from the editing VTR. It is the picture shown on this screen that tells the editor if the plot and storyline have been followed as indicated by the technical desire of the director and the expectation of the producer. The Linear Editing System is largely manual in operation. It follows a considerable analogy format in reviews and selection. Also, the location of pictures, based on the numbering plan, can be digitized. The editing system does not allow for the jumping of any shot, in order to get at any other desired one. There is therefore, no random access to shots, as produced on the tape. It insists on guided access which selects shots from tape, in the order of recording, onto another, as may be desired. The system copies the desired shots in a specific order and places them, in a predetermined sequence on another tape.

The linear editing system therefore, is copy oriented. The Non-Linear Editing (NLE) system is disk based. It uses the computer for storage, reviews and the editing of video and audio data files. The system allows one to jump from one shot or take, to the other, irrespective of the location of the desired shot in the file. One can jump from, say shots 1 to 7, without assessing the shots in between the shots 2,3,4,5, and 6. The capability of random access is created since one can jump and access any desired shot at will.

In the NLE, the programme to be edited is converted digitally into electronic signals and recorded in a disk. The disk is loaded into a computer’s disk drive, which enables the system to accept and respond to commands. The shot identification takes place, within the shortest imaginable time frame. It provides one, the opportunity of taking editing decisions that enable the shots to relate and blend with each other, to produce a thrilling synergy, which tells the story of the plot.

Functions of Editing

Functions of Editing Owuamalam (2007) gave the under listed points about the functions which the act of editing performs in any film as follows:

  • Editing facilitates the removal of film footage that can destroy society, like racial or ethnic inciting scenes; derogatory gender scenes, offensive stereotyping; obscene and lurid scenes; that debase morality and legally blamable scenes. It enables the producer to correct impressions that could affect the image and reputation of the production adversely
  • Editing trims the footage to fit into a specific duration as dictated by the medium of presentation (television or film theatre/cinema).
  • Editing combines shots in a spectacular way, in order to achieve an understanding of the film. It brings discretely shot scenes together, in a convincing manner, through the use of appropriate transition devices, in order to express an idea convincingly.
  • Editing enables a film to be constructed from various sources and camera takes. For example, a documentary about say, “Iraq after Sadam Hussien,” can be built from various video and audio sources. A portrait of Sadam Hussein as a still photograph, in his days as the president of Iraq can be shot and obtained on a tape; his trial, conviction and death, can be obtained as video clips, the increase in American causalities in Iraq as well as the insurgence in that country, can also be obtained as video clip, (Owuamalam, 2007:219). The editor can use a myriad of takes from various sources, as shot in different countries of the world, particularly in Iraq and United States of American to show life in Iraq, before, and after Saddam Hussein. The editing process will address the combination of the various scenes in a specific manner and order, so as to articulate the major idea of the plot and tell the story, in a convincing and believable manner.
  • Editing eliminates waste and overshoots and makes the creative composition to remain, within the provision of the storyline, in a lucid and comprehensible manner.
  • Finally, editing serves as a structural transformer, which provides the salient aspect of a work, in a clear and focused way, within a specific length of the film, adjusted to suit viewership interest.

Purposes of Editing a Film

Editing is basically done to fit film images or shots together. One can create beautiful image, but if there is no plan to their organization and employment, the outcome will generally be flat and uninvolving, (Mamer, 2009).

It is carried out to correct any observed mistake in previous takes, prior to the final production and to organize the whole  shots in a meaningful order that will convey the message of the film.


ASSIGNMENT : Modes/Process of Editing A Film Assignment MARKS : 10  DURATION : 1 week, 3 days