Movie Editing: Fast vs. Slow

Movie Editing: Fast vs. Slow

I just finished editing a video for a client. It was a 7 minute educational film involving some pretty complex ideas. Many of the ideas only manifest through the process of film editing, so there's that level of focus required as well. I love making movies (at least, I think I do) but sometimes it's a real chore. Like, when it's for a job & not a passion project.

So, to mitigate some of the drudge I felt about starting this new project I decided to try something a little different. Usually I edit complex "idea films" slowly, over a period of time. 

In the case of the dense 7 minute film, it usually takes me a solid month & a half to nail.

But this time I decided to edit the move fast. 

Whatever impulse I felt like exploring, whatever combination of images I thought was interesting, whatever music choice that would get me the next cluster of footage on the timeline... I rolled with it.

And you know what? Everybody seems just as happy with the result lol.

I'm the kind of person who secretly believes more time means more quality (see: the films of Stanley Kubrick) but that isn't necessarily the case. What Kubrick was doing was buying more time in front of the lens, not necessarily more time assembling the pieces. 

The pieces, however, can be assembled quickly with just as good (if not better!) results.

Seeing my client's reaction with this newly delivered film, as compared to the similar films delivered in previous years, it's obvious that they were just as happy. They said it felt fresh, it felt new, etc. And there is an energy to making something quickly: like brush strokes.

Of course they loved the other films as well, but as a filmmaker I'd rather spend less time making something that is equally loved as the thing that takes long to make.

And I know, I know... Some things do take longer to make. This gives me even more reason to generally make things quickly: So you have the time to slow down when it's required. 

The moral of the story is to edit your movies fast.

The result will be as good as if you spent forever pacing back & forth in front of the canvas (your computer) for divine inspiration to strike, or for a multitude of revisions to reveal the inner truth of your scene.

Sometimes the natural flow of a scene will just come to you easily. Sometimes editing a movie is a breeze — and it's just as good. Time does not necessarily mean quality.

As they say in the military, "Quantity is a quality all its own."

Just bang it out! BingBingBong. Export. Next movie.

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