The Power of Editing

February 9, 2021
NH Video Makers Discuss Editing

“To write is human, to edit is divine” – Stephen King

As video professionals, we face a wonderful almost daily task commonly referred to as editing. But seldom do I think of the power of good editing. And how it can truly change everything for the better.

Cut It Out!

According to the Apple Dictionary, editing includes ‘correcting, condensing, and otherwise modifying’ something. I’d like to add that when it comes to video, media, writing, TV, film, etc. it very often also includes hitting the ‘delete’ key.

Now, audiences today do statistically have shorter attention spans. According to the latest reports, humans now have an attention span of 8 seconds–less than a goldfish! But we should not merely react to that. Instead, continuing to develop our craft, we should see how the “working over” of our art really brings out its beauty. And very often it’s a hidden beauty until we do just that.

Editing our work takes initial vision, dedication, and patience. To see the sculpture in the “rough stone” as it were. And it involves decision making (see our blog on that here).

It may even be getting rid of something you really like. I’m not trying to over quote Stephen King, but as he says “Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.” Aka less is definitely more here.

Questions to Ask While Editing

  • What is my intention in creating this? Have I met that goal?
  • Is this section or part adding or detracting from the overall story and message?
  • Does this feel all connected or scattered? Is it coherent?
  • Have I taken a break to come back with fresh eyes and ears and get a new ‘take’ on it?
  • Could it be shorter? If yes, why isn’t it?
  • Does it flow and bring out impact, emotion, clear direction, and even climax?

Those are just a few questions I like to ask from time to time. You may add or subtract from that list, but help yourself out and reflect on how you can become a better deleter…. um whoops, I mean editor.