The Influence of Editing

Film Editing - So The Theory Goes - Sound Editing - Diegetic Sound - 7 Rules of Cutting

Film editing involves choosing, organising, and modifying visuals and audio to form a unified story. Film editing has a long and illustrious history that dates back to the beginning of cinema when films were shot and presented in real time without any opportunity for editing. This article will highlight its evolution and its types.

The History of Editing

During the decade of the 1910s, the first methods of film editing emerged thanks to advancements in the production and distribution of moving pictures. The cut was the simplest editing, consisting of substituting one shot for another. Likewise, the dissolve and fade were developed to facilitate the cutting between two pictures.

During the 1920s, a new school of thought formed in the Soviet Union called Montage Theory. Soviet montage theorists like Sergei Eisenstein held that juxtaposing pictures with little to no connection to one another might cause the spectator to form a new interpretation. Popular examples of films that made effective use of this method include Battleship Potemkin and October.

Many of the Soviet montage techniques were adopted by Hollywood in the 1930s. The goal of continuity editing, a staple of the Hollywood editing technique, was to provide an uninterrupted storyline that seemed authentic to the audience.

The editing process was complicated by adding sound and colour to movies in the 1940s and 1950s. The method of sound editing, which involves adding and manipulating speech and sound effects, quickly became an essential aspect of cinema editing. The editing process expanded to incorporate colour grading or modifying a film’s hues.

The French New Wave, a cinematic trend that emerged in the 1960s and 1970s, is notable for its experimental editing methods. Jump cuts were utilised by filmmakers like Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut to disorient the audience by interrupting the flow of the story.

The introduction of non-linear editing tools and other digital technology in the 1980s and 1990s completely revamped the film editing process. There was a dramatic increase in both efficiency and creativity because of the advent of non-linear editing technologies, which made CGI and other special effects possible.

New technologies, such as virtual reality and artificial intelligence, are contributing to the ongoing development of the process today. The use of virtual reality and 360-degree video creates a whole new level of immersion in the film experience, while AI-assisted editing tools help editors swiftly filter and organise material.

Film Editing techniques

Some of the most widely utilized techniques of film editing nowadays are:


To cut away from one scene and into another is the definition of a cutaway shot. As the name suggests, the purpose of this device is to divert attention from one subject to another. This editing is extremely versatile and may be utilised for anything from creating a tense moment to delivering a humorous punchline. To add irony to a scenario or unnerve the viewers is a common usage of this technique.


The dissolve is an old and reliable editing method that has been used in countless productions. It’s like seeing a scene play out while simultaneously watching another one roll in, superimposed on top of it.


Despite their superficial similarities, fades and dissolves serve very diverse purposes in filmmaking. A scene concludes with a fade to white or, more commonly, black. Instead of abruptly cutting to the next scene, a fade-out signals the conclusion of a scene in a more subtle but no less conclusive way.


Jump cuts became popular during the French New Wave, and they occur when there is a sudden transition between shots. Leap cuts are so named because they create the illusion of a temporal jump inside a single frame. This method of film editing was developed primarily to shorten running times by chopping off unimportant parts of a scene. Though first ignored, it would go on to have a significant impact on the French New Wave movement and beyond.


The montage is fascinating because of the multiple meanings it may take on. A montage, in the context of cinema, is a sequence of pictures or events edited together to form a single composition. The scene of an athlete or squad in training is a staple of the sports film genre. The passage of time is both indicated and explicitly expressed in the montage, making the montage a condensed representation of that period.

Montage and Soviet Montage Theory

Editing - Soviet Montage Theory

Soviet Montage Theory is widely regarded as a groundbreaking cinematic trend in terms of technical innovation. Soviet Montage Theory emerged in Soviet Russia from the 1910s to 1930s. Lev Kuleshov started it while he was a professor at the Moscow Film School.

Metric, rhythmic, tonal, overtonal, and intellectual are the five sub-types of Soviet Montage Theory, as described by renowned Soviet filmmaker Sergei Eisenstein.

The French word montage originally referred to the process of combining many audiovisual elements into a single composition.

However, the development of the Soviet film industry is essential to comprehending why montages grew to be such an integral part of Soviet filmmaking.

In the heat of the Russian Revolution in 1919, the Moscow Film School (also known as VGIK) was established. Lev Kuleshov, a prominent professor at the School, had already begun experimenting with innovative film editing techniques by 1920.

Vladimir Lenin and the Bolsheviks 1923 overthrew Russia’s government. A time of profound social and economic transformation ensued. Because film stock was so hard to come by in Russia then, people were left to watch movies instead of making them.

Kuleshov and his class conducted extensive research into the process. Kuleshov’s short film as a lecturer is widely regarded as the first work in what is now known as Soviet Montage Theory.

Read this article for more on Soviet Montage Theory.

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