Editing – the training course in more detail

The book in more detail:

Practical, friendly and informative

I have tried to make my book both friendly and down to earth, but at the same time, packed with practical information.

With drawings by my BBC editing colleague Dave Rixon and incisive introductory comments from senior personnel in the TV industry including actor Sir David Jason, writers Andrew Marshall, Paul Minett and Brian Leveson, producers Jon Plowman, John Bartlett, and Gareth Gwenlan, and directors Dewi Humphreys, Ed Bye and Sydney Lotterby – how can you go wrong.

52 editing exercises, all with my cut versions of those same exercises

In the book, alongside text explanations of technique, there are 52 editing exercises, using professionally shot media. Four of these exercises are downloadable from this site completely free, you only have to register.

The key point is, with every exercise you’ll be able to see how I dealt with each of the editing problems. Even though you might have tackled the exercise differently, at least you’ll have my version to act as a comparison…to consider and learn from.

Examples of editing techniques from the movies and TV

Without being too ‘arty’, I examine examples of editing techniques from the movies and TV, and look at the work of movie greats like Hitchcock, Lean, Kubrick, Wells, Visconti, Fellini, Lumet, Powell, Pressburger, Coppola, Stone and Scorsese.

I look at films like North by Northwest, Citizen Kane, The English Patient, The Lavender Hill Mob, Lawrence of Arabia, Apocalypse Now, A Clockwork Orange, Dead of Night, 8 1/2, The Cruel Sea, 2001, A Space Odyssey and The Godfather. I also look at classic TV like Pennies from Heaven, The Prisoner, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and even Thunderbirds!

I am bound to have missed out your favourite film, but I hope the next time you watch it, you’ll do so with more informed eyes after reading the book.

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Your questions answered…

Why the need?

When I started at the BBC, editing was much more of a team effort, often involving even the greenest of assistants as I was back then. Unfortunately today, for the most part, we all work as individuals and worse still, the process has got so fast and furious, that even someone sitting alongside us, would find it hard to decode the keystrokes and mouse-moves, that turn creative thoughts and individual shots into a sequence.

As much as we all love the new technology, it has made it much harder for those wanting to join the profession (that’s you I hope), to pick up the skills and techniques that are necessary to become an editor.

Why have I written and designed the course the way I have?

I have lost count of how many times I’ve been asked, by runners and youngsters just starting out in film or TV, as to whether I had any shot material with which they might practice their editing skills. I usually let them have some rushes of a scene or two, with the understanding that firstly, the material is strictly for their personal use and secondly, that I would like to see what they do with it. This seemed to work incredibly well, as these aspiring editors were able to compare what they did with the material, with my transmission version. That is what I offer here.

Will this book and the exercises teach me about editing software?

No, not directly… the book, along the exercises and this website, is devoted to the equivalent of showing you how to write a novel, and not how to use a typewriter.

This website in more detail…

The website will enable you to try the book out before spending any money

On this site, you’ll find FOUR FREE EXERCISES, just as they appear in the book, but totally free to download and use. You only have to JOIN UP.

The website will (in time) offer a good range of editing projects

I hope when you would return to this site after working through the book, you will find a range of other editing projects of different and varied content, to further practice your editing skills. Work in progress at the moment.

The website will offer support through a forum

Yes, there’s also a FORUM here. I would like this site to become a ‘Common Room’ for editors like yourselves, where the free flow of ideas and techniques would, in some way, compensate for our more solitary existence these days. I further hope it will generate a club atmosphere, from which I benefited so much at the BBC. I learnt more about software and related editing issues at breakfast, over a coffee with my colleagues, than from any manual.

Please continue to look around


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