Justin's Life... Editing 101

To Edit A Film (in brief)

  • You must first sync your "dailies" (or shots taken that day).

    1. Using a viewer (similar to a small microscope with a screen), you visually find the frame in the picture reel where the marker (clapboard) completely closes.
    2. Using a squawkbox (like a cassette player with just the head and speaker), you aurally find the frame in the sound reel where the marker completely closes.
    3. You mark with an X the frame in which the marker was found for each scene on each reel. (An X where you hear the clapboard. An X where you see the clapboard.)
    4. When all the marker/clapboards have been marked, you go back through the reel and remove excess sound or picture (with splicers and editing tape) so that each reel is exactly the same length. (Otherwise, the extra sound at the end of one scene would cause the next scene to not have it's sound properly aligned.)

  • When the dailies are sunk, they must be edge coded.

    1. A mark equal distance from the first slate/clapboard mark (X) on both the sound and the picture is made towards the beginning of the roll.
    2. The sound and picture are each placed in a machine which codes two letters and a set of sequential numbers every sixteen frames. (For example, in the image on the left, the edge code number is "BB0457") Because the sound and picture were in sync for the entire reel, the edge code numbers will be synonymous. In other words, the place where BB0457 is printed on the picture will be exactly the same place (the sound which occurred at the same time) as on the sound reel at BB0457.

    3. When the dailies are edge coded, the actual editing begins.

      1. You go through the shots, deciding which takes are the best. (Did the actor screw up his lines? Is his facial expression really great? Etc.)
      2. You cut and splice and cut and splice and cut and splice. Because the sound, which is magnetic, can't be discerned without a squawkbox, you use the edge code numbers to know that you're taking the sound that was recorded at the same time as the corresponding picture was recorded.
        Without the edge code numbers, editing sound to match the picture would be near impossible.