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The Importance Of The Edit

Updated: Jan 16

A famous sculptor once said that when he looked at a block of marble, he could see the statue inside it. Well, editing is like that but the statue is moving around inside the block. 




I'm editing a big documentary TV series at the moment - what everyone calls 'obs doc' - observational documentary. This means, we have no control whatsoever over what happens, we merely follow the action. They say films are made in the edit, which is true to a large extent - you can delete scenes, lose dialogue, change emphasis etc, but with 'obs doc' it really is the case.


On this series, the crews are filming everything that happens. We don't know which story we follow will become a huge thing, or what will become a damp squib, so they try and get there at the start of any event to film it all. This naturally generates tonnes and tonnes of footage - and if we are doing our job properly, all of it has to be watched and logged, so at least we know what we have. And believe me, there's lot of it. Hundreds of hours. If you're going to make the very best film you can, there's no way around it, because you never know what little gems are in there. It's sometimes tedious and laborious, but utterly essential. 


A famous sculptor once said that when he looked at a block of marble, he could see the statue inside it. Well, editing is like that but the statue is moving around inside the block. 


It's perhaps the most creative, fun and exciting part of a very exciting process.

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