The editor sits in a dark room on a Sunday night, staring for hours at a computer screen, reviewing footage. An actor slams his fist on the table again, and again, and again. The editor keys back frame by frame to cut the clip at exactly the right moment.
Through this process, every actor’s performance becomes flawless. Lighting is improved. Special effects and music are added. Battle Trains becomes Battle Trains.
The editing process can be time-consuming and frustrating, as editors work to meet impending deadlines and producers’ expectations. Editor Justen Hundley asks, “How is the audience going to react to this specific shot? It’s difficult to know because you don’t know how the audience is going to react to it until they actually see it.” Hundley edits for Inside Story, which has aired twice. He hopes to become a professional editor someday and own his own production company.
Cyd Dutcher, who edits news segments, explains how her job differs from other editing positions. “Editing the Duck TV news pieces is interesting because we’re getting pieces that were turned in throughout the week to add to the studio work, so often there’s a lot of time discrepancy, unlike a real newscast.”
During editing, the editors utilize skills in Final Cut Pro. They learn how to cut clips, move them around, add transitions, special effects, graphics, and edit sound. Done right, the job can be quite meticulous.
However, the final product is rewarding. Editors ultimately determine how the audience views the show, combining the actors’ performance, plot line, and camerawork to present a show to the audience in the most pleasing way.
“The most exciting part is the finished product,” Hundley smiles, “because sometimes it can be really stressful…and it’s just that moment when it’s done and you see it in its finished product, and it just feels great.”