Film editing is a style of editing audio-visual material, and reflects one of two dominant theories of conveying information in the cinema--that conveying information in film is done by juxtaposing one image with another to produce a third idea. After D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation and Intolerance, the early Russian filmmakers took up this approach to film communication. It seemed to agree with their revolutionary ideas and seemed also to be the artistic expression of the Hegelian Dialectic. (See also the Kuleshov Experiment.) Sergei Eisenstein attempted to create a scientific basis for editing, which he referred to as "montage."
Film editing evolved from the process of physically cutting and taping together pieces of film, using a viewer such as a Moviola or Steenbeck to look at the results.
When the work print has been cut to a satisfactory state, it is then used to make a negative cutting list, which is used by a negative cutter to cut A and B rolls prior to optical printing to produce the final film print.
Since the film was physically cut and pasted, a 'linear' style of editing evolved, generally considered superior to that evolved in the 1970s in electronic video editing, which involved repeated over-recording from tape to tape.
In recent years, 'film editing' has come to mean what a 'film editor' does, even though the work involved is now generally performed on a computer-based non-linear editing system, such as Avid, Lightworks or Speed Razor.
If the end product is to be a traditional movie, the final negative cutting list is produced from the software, and the negative cutting process occurs as before.
In other cases, an edit decision list may be generated for a video editing system.
With the emergence of digital cinema, there is now a movement towards all-digital assembly of the final product, such as in CFC's Digital Lab process.
Various techniques in film editing include:
- A Roll
- B Roll
- Cross cutting
- Cut in
- Cut out
- Establishing shot
- Hairy arm
- L cut
- Master shot
- Point of view shot
- Sequence shot
- Shot reverse shot
- Talking head