Friday, 12 June 2020

What Does an Animation Editor Do, Exactly?

The editor is one of the most important and creative roles on any production. On an animated film the editor is no less important than in live action - he or she is involved in every process of planning and production, from the earliest stages, including cutting and editing the storyboard animatic.

Making an animated film is a collaborative effort and is almost always completed with a team of people; the editor is one of the key creative roles on any production.

We encourage all our students at Bucks to try their hand at film editing, it's an important job and one of the most interesting seats to occupy on any production.

Animation is Different from Live Action
Animated films are not made like live-action films. In live action, you shoot a bunch of footage, including multiple versions of scenes, and multiple takes of scenes. In animation, the storyboard artist and editor work together to cut a storyboard animatic of the film. Once the animatic is complete, this becomes the blueprint from which to animate the film.  As Ken Schretzmann, editor of Toy Story 3 and Cars, puts it: "On live action, you shoot first and edit later.  In animation, you edit first and then shoot it later."

Editing an animated film
In animation, the editor is one of the key creatives on the project. The editor works with the writer, director and board artists to make the animatic as good as it can be. The editor will help to time out the boards, add sound effects and also add a music soundtrack - where appropriate. Sound is, after all, 50% of the viewer's experience.  Cutting, voice overs, sound design - these are all areas where the editor needs to gain experience.

Film Editing at Bucks
At Bucks, we assign a students to act as editor for all of our film projects. This is usually someone with some experience of using Premiere Pro, which is the principal editing software we use at Escape.

The editor acts as the fulcrum of the production. During animation dailies, the edit gets reviewed on a daily basis, and each night the editor will find him or herself busy cutting in all the latest elements - storyboards, 3D layout, Animation, final comp - whatever stage each shot is at. This involves keeping track of a great deal of material, and making sure that each shot is up to date and the latest version.  A good editor is a film-maker, but also needs good organisational skills, to ensure that the production runs smoothly.

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