Skilled editing is a vital component of production. Editing not only has a visual effect on the end product, but also is able to influence the way the audience reacts to what they’re viewing. Bad editing can leave the audience confused, interpreting the scenes incorrectly, and allowing for negative emotional responses.

The Art of EditingPracticed editing creates interest and conflict, and builds up the excitement for the audience. Editing, at its best, can certainly be an artistic expression.

Types and Techniques of Editing in Television

There are at least two categories that are used when talking about editing for television.

The first is live editing, where the director edits and directs using live cameras and other video sources, switching between cameras with a video switcher to edit the production as it happens.

The second is postproduction, where the footage shot is taken s and assembled afterwards into a program. This kind of editing is usually done with computer-based editing software.

One of these involves directors with cameras and the other involves a director with prerecord video. Both are still editing – determining what the audience will see.

Questions and Decisions During Editing

While editing, every director has to ask themselves a series of questions about their content:

  • Which of the shots you have available do you want to use? When editing a live show, you can only select from the shots that are available moment to moment.  When you are dealing with postproduction editing, you can select from everything that has been filmed and reconsider what should be presented.
  • What is the sequence of the final shot?  The length of each shot will make a visual impact.
  • At what moment do you want to switch from one shot to the next?
  • How will each shot transition from one to another? Transition options include cut, dissolve, wipe and many other choices
  • How quick will the transitions be?
  • Are the images and sound continuous and stable? The shots might have been shot at different times and places, but the end product should be one continuous sequence.

Each of these decisions involves both artistic choice and physical action. Even simple cuts from one image to the next can create very different effects.

For instance, one scene can be edited in many different ways to affect an audience’s experience. If there is an action scene, you can show the entire action from start to end. The consequences are obvious, because the viewer sees the entire process. The director can choose to interrupt the action, so that the viewers don’t know what will happen next.

Or the director can show the entire action, but leave the audience in suspense about the end consequence. Diverse editing choices create different scenes and different audience experiences.