Chapter 10

Surgery

What Goes and What Stays

One of the most challenging aspects of the editor’s job is as trauma surgeon. Deciding what goes and what stays when the pace lags, the story grows convoluted, or a performance falters requires a discriminating eye and ear. Two primary terms describe the surgical approach to film editing: trim and lift. A lift is the more invasive approach. It involves excising an offending scene or part of a scene, the sort of item that might end up as a deleted scene under a DVD’s special features. It is also known as an outtake. The removal of this portion of the film is sometimes thought of as one of the editor’s primary functions. The old-school image of filmstrips on the cutting room floor reflects this. In fact, ...

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