“How do you know when to cut?” When thinking thoroughly about that question, Tony Zhou found it not that easy to come up with an answer. It’s a matter of instincts, thinking and feeling, but how does an editor think and feel? In a nine and a half video, co-written and -edited Taylor Ramos, Zhou explains what, to him, the key points of focus for the editor should be.
- It’s all about the eyes
- Emotions take time
But the decisions an editor makes with these points in mind, are difficult. And the editing process is full of those decisions. Which brings Zhou to another important factor in editing: rhythm. Some rhythms are harder to edit than others, “but if you watch anything over and over again, you eventually feel when you need to cut”. And that brings the whole editing process back to the start: instincts.
According to Zhou, editing should be “invisible”. It should be “so natural that you don’t even notice it”. However, there are some exceptions, where explicitly visible cutting, actually aids the viewer’s experience – in a good or in a bad way.
So can you actually learn to edit, if it is so instinctive? According to Zhou, you can. “Practice. One shot at a time.”