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What Documentaries or DVDs Extras Show Actual Film Editing?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by rich_d, Feb 13, 2008.

  1. rich_d

    rich_d Well-Known Member

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    What Documentaries or DVDs Extras Show Actual Film Editing?

    I think I remember extras showing film editing techniques but I don't remember any footage documenting an actual editing session. To expand on that, I'm not interested in shots of an editor carrying around film reels or sitting in front of an editing machine or describing the process. I'm looking for footage where the editor is actually 'cutting' the film for real, whether done digitally or old school.

    Can anybody think of any documentaries or DVD featurettes where this is shown?
     
  2. Nicholas Martin

    Nicholas Martin Well-Known Member

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    While you don't see actual cutting of film, a good portion of the "Making Of" documentary on the new BRAVEHEART special edition is archival stuff with Mel Gibson in the editing room discussing with his editor how to cut the many battle scenes as they go along. The person filming Gibson and the editor asks them questions as they work.
     
  3. Stephen_J_H

    Stephen_J_H All Things Film Junkie
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    Apple had a great documentary posted on its site with Walter Murch talking about using Final Cut Pro on Cold Mountain. I don't know if it's been archived, but worth a look.
     
  4. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Rich: Have you checked the bonus feature on the DVD/BD of Bullitt: The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing?

    I cannot remember if such a shot exists in the documentary...but I DO remember that it is quite comprehensive and well-done in explaining the impact of the editor in the story-telling process. It would be hard for me to believe they wouldn't have used such a shot--but, I suppose, entirely possible.

    I describe it as a "bonus feature"...but understand that it runs about 90-minutes in length.
     
  5. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Well-Known Member

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    I saw that when it was broadcast on one of the premium cable channels, and I believe it includes the footage of Murch editing Cold Mountain, which shows one particular edit in great detail.

    M.
     
  6. SD_Brian

    SD_Brian Well-Known Member

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    IIRC, The making-of documentary on the Jaws DVD shows Verna Fields physically cutting and splicing film on a reel-to-reel.
     
  7. Patrick H.

    Patrick H. Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, the Jaws doc was the first one to come to mind. Also, there's a bit in the excellent Phantom Menace documentary of George Lucas and Ben Burtt assembling a small scene, although that's of course entirely digital.
     
  8. Dave Simkiss

    Dave Simkiss Well-Known Member

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    The Hamster Factor documentary on Gilliams' 12 Monkeys shows the editor cutting and splicing the film old school. I think Bruce Willis even quizzes him on why he isn't using avid [​IMG]

    Im personally searching for a shot of Terry Rawlings editing Alien for a project Im working on, I've gone through multiple documentaries and not found one vintage pic. If anyone has any ideas or info it would be appreciated.
     
  9. Douglas Monce

    Douglas Monce Well-Known Member

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    Though its not a documentary, there is a sequence in Brian De Palma's BLOW OUT that shows extensively the process of editing and matching sound to picture. It's a very accurate depiction of film editing in the early 80s.

    But by far the best documentary on film editing is as mentioned above The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing.

    I really find it interesting that so little attention has been paid to film editing, because that is REALLY where the movie is made. The only thing you're doing in shooting is gathering the materials you need for the editing room. For the director the truly creative part is editing.

    Doug
     
  10. SD_Brian

    SD_Brian Well-Known Member

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    I think the reason you don't see a whole lot of footage of editors at work is because, as anyone who's ever edited anything can tell you, the results are far more interesting to watch than the process. The process of editing, either old-school film cutting or digitally on the Avid is essentially an editor and director staring at a monitor and discussing thrilling things like losing a frame here or gaining a frame there. If you're not one of the people actually doing the editing, it's really not very interesting to watch. Once the editing is done and the editors can go back and tell you why they cut something the way they did, it becomes much more interesting. Editors know this and, since part of the job of an editor is to cut out all of the boring bits, the footage of them assembling the rough cut is usually the first to go.
     
  11. Douglas Monce

    Douglas Monce Well-Known Member

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    This is very true. I didn't actually mean watching the process of editing which is kind of like watching grass grow.

    What i mean is that making of documentaries typically focus on production, and rightly so thats when the most visually interesting things happen, but they almost always stop with production and rarely go into editing or even the editing style of a particular film. More talk is done about sound design than film editing.

    As The Cutting Edge shows, the subject of film editing can be made pretty interesting.

    Doug
     
  12. Lord Dalek

    Lord Dalek Well-Known Member

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    If you want to go really far back, Vertov's "Man With The Movie Camera" has a whole sequence devoted to showing how Vertov's wife created the sequence that follows.
     
  13. SD_Brian

    SD_Brian Well-Known Member

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    Another reason for the lack of exposure editors get may be the old conspiracy-theory angle that says actors and directors would rather the world not know just how much of their movies/performances are actually created in the editing room. Actors in particular would rather have the audience believe that they were channeling the sadness they felt over their dead childhood pet than admit that editors had to resort to using a lot of b-roll footage, caught when nobody realized the camera was rolling, to piece together something that wouldn't be a complete embarrassment.

    More excellent pieces on editing can be found on some of the James Bond Ultimate Collection DVD's, particularly on "Diamonds are Forever." Also, the segment about how the editor salvaged Oliver Reed's performance after he died during filming, found on the "Gladiator: Extended Edition" disc, is fascinating.
     
  14. Bob Turnbull

    Bob Turnbull Well-Known Member

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    Yep, it's really quite good. And it's available as a standalone DVD, so you don't necessarily have to buy the Bullitt SE.

    The special features on the 2-disc Criterion edition of Soderbergh's Traffic contain the following:

    - Editing demonstration with commentary from editor Stephen Mirrione
    - Dialogue editing demonstration

    If I remember correctly, you actually see the editors using their tools to show how they achieved the edits.
     
  15. Douglas Monce

    Douglas Monce Well-Known Member

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    I was thinking about this too. Editing, although it's probably the oldest post production process, is still the one that is the least understood by the general public. I wonder if there is still a feeling of trying to keep the "magic" of at least one process of film making.

    Talking about actors, I love the quote from Jodie Foster, who said that she had been an actor for 30 years before she directed for the first time. And it wasn't until then that she really understood the editing process or how powerful it was. For all potential actors out there, a bit of advice, make the editor your friend, because your performance is in his hands.

    Doug
     
  16. Jay Pennington

    Jay Pennington Well-Known Member

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    Indeed, although I've always been tickled by how Travolta's inexperience shows in how slow and meticulous he is--a certain lack of a "I've operated a hot splicer 500 times a day for ten years" aspect. [​IMG]
     
  17. Tarkin The Ewok

    Tarkin The Ewok Well-Known Member

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    There's some show and tell about editing in the LOTR EE docs and the SW: ROTS doc "Within a Minute."
     
  18. Douglas Monce

    Douglas Monce Well-Known Member

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    True, but I think this may have been deliberate on the part of the film makers so that you could actually see the process and understand what he was doing.

    Doug
     
  19. Tim RP

    Tim RP Well-Known Member

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    As already mentioned, Criterion's Traffic disc has an excellent editing featurette consisting of a feed from an Avid timeline of one scene and Stephen Mirrione going over the editing process. There's also a good one on The Fast and the Furious disc with Rob Cohen and Peter Honess sitting at an Avid replicating trims to a scene after MPAA comments.
     
  20. rich_d

    rich_d Well-Known Member

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    Thanks to all for the interesting posts.

    I had already watched the Jaws, The Cutting Edge documentaries and the Within a Minute featurette. The Traffic featurette I had not seen so that was interesting to see even if it was just a demonstration.

    I'll have to catch the Braveheart, Diamonds are Forever and the 12 Monkeys featurette.

    I think all the opinions on why so little true editing is shown are valid points. While I agree that editing can be boring to see I also think that people that spent hours and days locked away working on editing films aren't too keen on giving away their processes beyond general points.
     

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