Film-makers and enthusiasts gathered at the Royal & Derngate in Northampton this week for the second networking event organised by Film Northants, Reelscape Films and composer Andy Cox.

Film Network Northants brings together people from the local area who are working in, or interested in working in, the film and television industry.

The guest speaker this month was Adam Garstone, a freelance film editor with 25 years experience in post production. Adam is working with Reelscape Films on the crowdfunded feature film Fortune Cookies but has a range of credits to his name including BBC documentaries Battlefields, Imagine: Books, and Romans in Wales, as well as the forthcoming period / sci-fi drama Dimensions.

Adam spoke to a healthy turnout of 40 people at the networking event about the golden rules of editing and working with challenging directors, producers and actors.

“Editing is the only discipline in film that is unique to film-making”, said Adam, who went on to explain how lighting, acting, make-up, costumes, composition and directing all came from the theatre and stills photography.

The five key groups of editing were outlined by Adam, based on the ‘methods of montage’ developed by Sergei Eisenstein in the early 20th century.

  • Metric = cut at a certain number of frames no matter what the content is
  • Rhythmic = cut based on the content and when there is a natural cut point (often used in music videos)
  • Tonal = cut based on the emotional content of a clip e.g fast cuts for a car chase / long cuts for tranquil scenery
  • Associational = a combination of metric, rhythmic and tonal
  • Intellectual = intercutting of other clips to imply a certain theme or emotion (such as a conversation between two people intercut with a chess game to imply that the conversation is a battle between two people and one will come out victorious)

The editor’s job should be to:

1. Engage the audience with the characters
2. Support the performance of an actor
3. Set the right pace whether it is action driven or character driven
4. Enable the story to be told as effectively as possible

Adam’s top tips for editors were:

Have nothing to do with actors. If you dislike them you will naturally try to cut them out of clips rather than focus on their performance.
-Always try to have a separate editor rather than an editor/director or editor/producer so you can remain neutral and are seeing the footage as an audience would
Be aware of where the audience member’s eyes are and give them time to move across the screen
-Make sure your timing keeps to the law of physics – audiences will notice if you don’t!
Maintain the line of action otherwise characters may seem to be sitting in the wrong  and have continuity with your screen direction otherwise people will seem to be moving in the wrong direction

The next networking event will be held soon at a date TBC. To find out more email