AlphaDogs Editors' Lounge Panel of Experts Share Creative Editing Techniques

AlphaDogs Post Production Editors’ Lounge takes a closer look into why specific editing decisions are made, rather than how in the latest installment of the editors’ discussion panel series “Why Do We Make That Edit?”

Burbank, CA, December 14, 2011 --( Burbank based AlphaDogs Post Production recently hosted another installment of the Editors’ Lounge discussion panel series with over 100 people in attendance. Moderated by journalist and owner and founder of Mobilized TV Debra Kaufman, the panel consisted of experts in the field of editing to include; Feature Film Editor, Mark Goldblatt (The Terminator, X-Men) Episodic TV Editor, Andrew Seklir (Battlestar Galactica) Reality TV Show Editor, Derek McCants (Top Gear USA, Sarah Palin's Alaska) and Photographer/Music Video Editor, Bee Ottinger.

The topic of this month’s panel was “Why Do We Make That Edit?” A closer look into why specific editing decisions are made rather than how. Editing is more than just a technical medium and requires creative decision-making. The challenge in today’s post production environment is tighter deadlines without enough time to watch footage in a linear fashion. Editors are now required to view extensive footage quickly and make choices right away. Looking at the back end takes first, and the rest of the footage thereafter using the script as a guideline is the technique Marc Goldblatt prefers. “It has to flow and be consistent to make the characters believable. “My job is to make the best version of each scene,” Goldblatt said. Key masters can also be used to interpret scenes. Andrew Sekler comments, “I pay attention to actors moment by moment performance and make choices right away to build a rough sequence.”

Shorter schedules and several editors working together in Reality Television environments require a different approach to the creative process. String outs are given to the editors after notes are made in the field and screened. Editors must be able find the story in the rough version that’s given to them. "If there is time I go back to the source footage to look for shots that may work better," said Derek McCants. "The editor is hired for their opinions and taste."

Tight time constraints have also made it crucial to establish collaboration between the Director, Producer, and studios. The politics and landscape are different with every show. By earning trust, clients will be more confident with the editor’s creative choices. Andrew Sekler comments, “Practice skills of diplomacy and pick your battles wisely. Ask opinions and learn the art of persuasion.”

Final cuts are made by what the editor feels instinctively. Performance creates rhythm along with the camera movement and blocking. Understanding what the audience wants to see, and when to give or withhold information depending on how the story is to be told. Bee Ottinger comments, “You cut when there is nothing else to see and you should be somewhere else in the story. If the scene starts looking more like acting, you need to redefine the space or back up emotionally.”

The heavy demands on editors also creates a tremendous amount of stress. “It’s the editors job to remain fresh,” said Bee Ottinger. “Walk away and come back if you need to.” Taking care of yourself and maintaining a healthy diet and exercise keeps you at your best. A short walk around the block can help. Andrew Sekler prefers to edit while standing. Marc Goldblatt comments, “Objectivity is the biggest challenge.”

To view the entire panel discussion and learn more tips from the panelists please visit

The Editors’ Lounge will return on Friday, January 27, 2012 with an event all about plugins.

About the Editors’ Lounge: The Editors’ Lounge is a hands-on seminar for industry professionals. Each month, dozens of professionals in the production and post-production industries exchange ideas, discuss trends and learn about new technologies; allowing editors to have their questions addressed objectively. To learn more visit

Alpha Dogs Post Production
Julie Leibovitz