It's that time in the semester: editing crunch time. I love editing; I can sit at a computer and edit for hours without even realizing it. However, I'm at the point where I have to be ruthless with what makes the cut. Whenever I edit a documentary, my first cut is usually at least twice as long as the final product will be. When I first start piecing together the film, I throw clips in without really thinking about them. During that first go around, everything seems so important. There's a special place in my heart for everyone in the film, and I don't want to pull anyone out of it.
It's great being both the cinematographer and the editor because I know the footage and I know what we're trying to achieve with the film. However, that can sometimes be a negative as well. I'm too connected to the footage, and I sometimes struggle to take a step back and look at it like someone who has never seen it before. That's why it is so important to be able to get feedback from people who aren't working on the project.
Whenever I get feedback, I start to see the film in a different way. I start to see it more like the audience. That's when I can finally start to get ruthless with the editing. Ruthless may seem dramatic, but I promise that's just the way it is. I sometimes feel like a mad woman hacking my way through a thick jungle: clips get trimmed drastically left and right, and whole sequences end up getting thrown out of the film.
There are definitely pros and cons to editing your own footage, but I think the pros make the cons worth it. It can be tricky to take a step back and look at the film like an objective outsider, but it's also really beneficial to truly know and understand the footage you're working with. As long as you have other people around to share their opinion, I think it's a great opportunity to be able to edit your own shots.