Archive for October, 2012

A Note from the Web Designer

October 23rd, 2012

In an effort to improve loading times and security we have recently moved Joy of Film Editing to a Linux server. Please let us know if you find any problems with the website.



Editor’s Eye: Visualizing Your Film from the
Postproduction POV – Part 1

October 17th, 2012

Many people believe that if a show is well shot it’s just a matter of bust removing the bad bits and the show automagically comes together in the cutting room. Not true. Editing, a.k.a. postproduction, like any other phase of filmmaking, has a mission, and, like a military operation, requires vision and much groundwork.

When you really think about it, a script (fiction shows) or outline (non-fiction shows) are merely of words on paper which may or may not lead to an outstanding film. Films are made of images – still and moving – along with sound: words, SFX, and music. It is editing that brings all these elements together.

Here’s how Alexander Payne, director of The Descendants, Sideways, and Election, expressed it in a recent article in CinemaEditor, “Of the three areas of filmmaking – writing, directing, and editing – editing is by far my favorite. I call it the Promised Land…Writing is hideously painful, directing is exhilarating but physically taxing and demands a lot of constant ego massaging of others. As [director Akira] Kurosawa used to say, ‘The only reason you write and direct is to get material to edit.’ And that’s exactly true. Editing is where you make the film. It’s a very beautiful thing.”

So let’s look at how you can envision your film with an editorial eye and anticipate both its magical, imagineering aspects and grounded engineering requirements.

Harold and Maude poster

1) Visualize your images – and plan

The opening shot of the 1971 film Harold and Maude shows Harold attempting to hang himself from a homemade scaffold. I once heard screenwriter Colin Higgins explain how this shot initiated the film’s plot. As a UCLA student working on his thesis film, Higgins wanted to drop the camera vertically as fast and far as possible and had to motivate this technical move. Voila! The cult film’s death/life plot.

The point here is to visualize your movie as you read the script or create the outline if it’s a non-fiction piece. What set-ups will work best? What objects, images, or VFX will tell your story most effectively? Especially if you need animation or VFX, start drafting, storyboarding, and budgeting right away.

That’s all for today, folks. Next post will delve into visualizing sound and music – and making a sound plan (yes, I can never resist a pun) for both.

Editing & screenwriting, Editing practices, Editor’s role, Sound & music editing, Technical & process, Visual FX editing

What is Motion Design?

October 10th, 2012

Here’s a fantastic animated video that clearly and creatively explains all the different types of motion graphics 2D, 3D, and more. It will help you understand the possibilities and could spark your imaginative energies. Elisa Tron designed it for her Master’s thesis.

Visual FX editing

Download 30 pages of Free E-book

October 3rd, 2012

Ken Lee, who is the editor for Michael Wiese Productions (MWP), my publisher announced that if you click Instant Filmmaker cover this link you will get to download thirty pages free of the e-book Instant Filmmaker by Christopher Nolan.

Yes MWP wants to get their emailing list up. And yes, it’s free. So choose to click or not – it’s extremely minimal input. I found the book, which is aimed at independent filmmakers, to be jauntily written in a way that injects truth along with zappy prose to get you going. Here’s an excerpt:

The point of this book is to give you instant advice, answers, applica­tion, edification and gratification.

After all, filmmaking today is an in­stant world. You shoot a scene and watch instant playback. You in­stantly transfer digital files from the camera to your laptop. Instantly edit/color correct/sweeten sound/add special effects/download mu­sic/upload the cut to a server and text message for instant feedback.

It’s all a presto, pronto playground! Right?

But the realities of today’s Indie film business are just the opposite.