Filmmaker - Marcelo Vianna – My Journey, The Edited Version

Marcelo Vianna on a client shoot
Editing is THE only process. The shooting is the pleasant work. The editing makes the film, so I spend all my life in editing - Garry Marshall

As the head of post-production and a filmmaker, editing has always been my primary concern. I started editing back in 2000 and joined shortstories in 2018. When I first started, I was pretty fresh and didn’t know a great deal about what the art of editing entailed. The past years have taught me a lot and sharing my experiences with you is what this article is all about.

My experience ranges from working in short films, feature films, documentaries, corporate films, promos, training films, educational films, sound and music videos. I have always enjoyed exploring the many different areas of this industry.

I quickly became intrigued by the process of selecting the best footage and putting it into a sequence that works. I liked the process of discovering how it would all come together and how to best employ my interpretation of it. When everything is integrated and working together well, it can provoke a certain emotion and engagement from the viewer.

I love to learn from other editors. What fascinates me is how similar their processes are to mine, and in the early days this instilled even more confidence in my approach – it meant that I was on the right track. The experience that I’ve gained from working on a wide range of styles and genres has contributed immensely to the client projects we undertake here at shortstories.

Being given the opportunity to work for a company like shortstories has helped me develop my skills even further and push the boundaries of what's possible within the industry. I have harnessed new creative techniques and poured more of my personal touch into the mix. It's important to see where you can best develop and deliver the processes, not just in the conventional sense, but beyond the norms.

The selection process selection of the best moments from an interview

The Techniques That Work – Think Ahead of Its Time

In my opinion, this process of putting images in sequence and capturing the right moments so that people can truly understand the story is at the heart of all that I do. 

For any budding editors out there, the one thing I would point out is because this is such a complex task, it is important to evolve your mind with it. You have to think about the direction the film should go towards so you must think ahead of time.

Envisioning what’s to come, as well as bearing in mind what’s already been done is so vital here. It is fundamental to placing the right sequence of events together so there is a sense of continuity and flow of information, as well as emotion. Editing in such detail can be a tiring process but when everything comes together and the client is pleased – it’s all worth it.

There’s always a mix of emotions when editing a piece of footage, from excitement to empowerment and these are essential in helping you to control the messaging to suit the audience.  It helps you to control what is being shown and how people will perceive it. 

“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish” – John Quincy Adams

When Industry and Creativity Come Together

There are many avenues you can explore to transfer the information at hand to the viewer and to elicit a certain sentiment in them, while also educating them. As a form of art, that makes people ‘feel’, it will depend a lot on the industry you choose to work with. For instance, if you’re working on a drama production or a corporate film, the creative aspects will differ for each.  

There is no hard or fast rule, but it is essential to follow a suitable creative approach when editing for different genres of film. Try new ideas, or use the ones you have worked with before and see which ones fit the best. Always know the direction the story needs to go. You have to picture it in your mind first, before you start working on it. 

As an editor, seeing what direction the story will go in and how it can be told in the best possible way, is something that has become second nature to me. To transform something into this reality is a magnificent task and it all starts with questioning the visual aspects and perspectives, including the right direction that the project should go.

“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish” – John Quincy Adams
First rough cut ready to present to the client

The Matter of Subject

Any transformation in film should start with the subject. Ask yourself what the subject is that needs to be developed into an artful story. There is no glory in rushing things. It needs to be a methodical process. 

As with anything you build - start by gathering your assets. Begin by writing your ideas down on paper or type them out, and once you’ve got all the materials together i.e. the clips, the rushes (raw footage) that cover all aspects of the subjects, as well as all the extra clips you will need to add, then move onto the next stage.

Secondly, you need to watch all the rushes from start to finish. You have to know that you understand every subject completely, as well as every single clip that’s in front of you – this will make up the spine of the story, and it takes time to do this. As the saying goes “to lose patience is to lose the battle”    

Next, you will add to this ‘spine’ all the other key information with the extra clips, bringing the idea to life. Once all this is done, you have your first rough edition of your film. 

Then you take this to your team and the client and get some feedback. Once the feedback is received you implement it accordingly.

Use this to make improvements to the overall story. It has to have a logical start, middle and end point. By doing this you can also create a sense of curiosity and flow

This is one of the most exciting moments in the entire project. It’s the moment when the editor has the most freedom to inject something new into the film. Always remember to give back more than you got. Push the boundaries of your ambitions to a new level whenever possible.

Bringing out the true nature of the subject(s) in an artful way with impact is what it’s all about. A few examples of some of the shortstories client projects I have had the privilege of working on are included in this blog: The Production Process - Blending Creative, Business And Organisational Needs

After this, it’s time to focus on everything from sound effects, music, adding logos, more facts, subtitles, and grading. These final touches wrap things up to create the best version of the edit and one, hopefully, that delights the client and the viewer. 

It is a great feeling to hand something back to a client that fulfils everything they have asked for and adds a little bit on top as well. It shows you have truly understood their organisation and their objectives. 

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See how we do it: send us an email to hello@shortstories.media if you would like to discuss your next film project.

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