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Inside Cut by Cut: Editing Your Film or Video 2nd Edition

Cut by Cut: Editing Your Film or Video

From the Foreword to Cut by Cut: Editing Your Film or Video 2nd Edition

Filmmaking is a complicated, collaborative art form. We tend to think that the director is always at the helm. He or she is, ultimately. But the film editor has a definite seat of power. One thing I’ve learned from writing, directing, and editing my own films over the last 20 years, is that it’s really NOT a good idea to edit your own films! It’s a wonderful feeling to put the material you’ve nurtured by writing and shooting it, into the hands of the puzzle-master – the editor. The editor – who wasn’t there on the set to witness how long it took to set up the shot – can see your footage for what it is and simply consider, “Does the shot move the story forward in the best way possible?” The editor takes pieces the story together, often coming up something completely unique and different from the words of the script and surprising the director who wonders, “Did I really shoot that?”

This second edition of Gael Chandler’s book shares the years of her wisdom in the cutting room, interfacing with all types of personalities and deadlines. With up-to-date info on editing digital media, web content, reality shows, and 3D, she propels her wisdom into the ever-updating future. The book is a tried and true compass that can help the student filmmaker as well as a seasoned professional navigate the ever-changing waters of the editing world. It stands on its own and its how-to and why will always outlast any new editing work systems that will inevitably come out tomorrow.

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I have known Gael as a friend and colleague for over 30 years – from 35mm film to digital images – and her passion for editing has never waned. A good writer – like a good teacher – doesn’t just impart knowledge and experience but offers a way for readers to think of solutions for themselves. This is Gael’s gift to editors, students, indie filmmakers, and professionals. Her guidebook will put you at the helm of the editing process from production to final delivery. While editing tools and media change – and this book thoroughly covers them – the way we think about telling a story with images doesn’t. Use it to help tell your story the best way possible.

Foreword written by Victoria Rose Sampson, Supervising sound editor or editor on Ordinary People, The Rose, Return of the Jedi, Sex and the City 1 and 2, and Scream 4 and many more.
Writer and director of award winning short films Click Three Times and Harley Davidson ad Grand Prize winner for Her Need for Speed.


Photos and Illustrations

(Illustrations by Jayne Weber. Photos by Sherry Green.)

Here is a sampling of the many photos, diagrams, and illustrations you’ll find in Cut by Cut 2 that demonstrate editing practices, principles, and equipment.


Making the cut on a digital system

Marked cutpoints on a timeline

Making the cut on a digital system

Marked cutpoints on a timeline


Shot definition

Screen direction

The floating balloon illustrates how to match screen direction when editing.

Recognizing shots is critical for logging dailies.


Components of a digital editing system

Components of a digital editing system.

Table of Contents


List of Tables
2nd Edition Foreword
1st Edition Foreword
Preface: The Practical Alchemy of Editing
Introduction: Stepping Aboard and Navigating the Book
Part One Starting your Project
Chapter 1 Decisions, Decisions: Getting Started on the Right Path through Postproduction
Appendix A Project Checklist
Chapter 2 Video, Digital, and Film Basics: Terms, Concepts, and Practices
Part Two Organizing for Editing
Chapter 3 Setting up the Cutting Room: Workflows, Labeling Shots, and Other Common Cutting Room Tasks
Appendix B DIY Postproduction Schedule
Chapter 4 Preparing Dailies
Appendix C Stage One: Budget Form for Dailies
Part One How to Approach the Footage
Chapter 5 To Cut or not to Cut: Where to Cut and Why
Chapter 6 Everyday Editing Challenges
Chapter 7 From Animation to Reality: Editing Different Genres
Part Two Getting from First Cut to Final Cut
Chapter 8 Making the Cuts: Editing on a Digital System
Chapter 9 The Process: Getting from First Cut to Locked Cut
Appendix D Tape and Tapeless Show Continuity Form
Appendix E Film Show Continuity Form
Appendix F Stage Two: Budget Form for Editing
Part One Sound, Music, and the Mix
Chapter 10 Designing Sound and Music
Chapter 11 Editing and Mixing Sound and Music
Appendix G ADR Cue Sheet
Appendix H Stage Three: Budget Form for Sound, Music, and the Mix
Part Two Finishing and Delivering
Chapter 12 Finishing on Tape, File or the Web
Chapter 13 Finishing on Film and via Digital Intermediary
Appendix I Stage Three: Budget Form for Finishing
How to Find an Editing Job