Video editing is the “process of manipulating and rearranging video shots to create a new work” (MediaCollege, 2019)[1]. This process can be used for different purposes, least of which is creating a cohesive final video product, with style, drama and pace. Editing is a post-production technique; as such video editing is acted upon after the production phase, the filming phase, is completed.


Before video editing, films were shot in one continuous take. No editing took place, and instead the camera kept rolling until the film ended. An example of this is “L’Arrivée d’un train en gare de La Ciotat”, which was a silent film directed and produced by Auguste and Louis Lumière, in which no editing takes place, and only shows “a train arrives at La Ciotat station” (IMDb, 2019)[2].

It wasn’t until 1898, where multiple shots are used to tell a story. The film “Come Along, Do!” is credited as one of the only films to feature more than one shot, from different points of view. This is completed using in-camera editing, where the filmmaker turns the camera on and off, and films the shots in complete order. “By the time all of your scenes have been shot, you’re left with a completely finished video”, with no further editing required from that point (Durham, 2012)[3].

Further editing techniques started to be developed, most notably the use of splicing together footage; a workprint is a “draft version of a motion picture, used during the editing process” (Wiktionary, 2019)[4]. Footage from production. Later, machines such as a STEENBECK machine, which is a “film editing table for the motion picture industry”, that speeds up the splicing process (Steenbeck, 2019)[5].

With the introduction of non-linear editing timelines, such as the one featured in the “Harry effects compositing system” by Quantel in 1985, and later Avid/1 in 1989 for the Apple Macintosh II platform (later renamed to Avid Media Composer for modern computers), video editing became widespread, and easy for general consumers to use.


The purpose of video editing is for storytelling purposes; it allows the creator to tell a story from many different perspectives; as film is a visual medium, different editing techniques can enhance the film.

Editing can make the audience “how [they are] supposed to experience the pace of the narrative” (Infoplease, 2019)[6]. This means that pace can be built using different techniques, to engage the viewer and create drama. Engaging the viewer means that they are more likely to enjoy the product, as it is something that they are interested in.

Different sequences can create different moods and themes for the audience to experience. Shot sequences can affect how an audience reacts to a film, simply by switching up the editing order. As such, editing is a powerful tool to engage the viewer. Creating different moods is key to creating a piece of film that is hard hitting, and that is powerful to watch.

Conventions and techniques

Editing is used to create seamless shots. A continuity error is “error where consistency is not maintained between cuts in a film” (Jeffery, 2019)[7]. Video editing can minimise differences between shots and fix this error. Additionally, with visual effects, some continuity errors can be minimised with visual effects.

Characters need a motivation for the story to work effectively, and for the audience to relate to the character. As such, different editing techniques can be used. Point of view shots is a “film angle that shows what the character is looking at in first person”, and these can be interspersed with other footage type (StudioBinder, 2018)[8]. This can show a character’s point of view, and their motivations. Additionally, montages can show many shots at once and condense a long period of time into a short period.

Video transitions “connect one shot to another” (Biteable, 2019)[9]. A cut has no transition; it just jumps cuts from one shot to another. However, more creative transitions can also be used between shots, such as a fade or dissolve, where it slowly turns from one shot to another, gradually fading the colours. A wipe, on the other hand, is “when a shot travels from one side of the frame to another” (Biteable, 2019)[9]. Cutaways are an editing technique where a shot is used that is different from the previous shot shown.


In conclusion, video editing is a key feature of the media industry, to create an effective story, and to create style, drama and pace.


[1] 2019. Mediacollegecom. [Online]. [28 June 2019]. Available from:

[2] 2019. IMDb. [Online]. [28 June 2019]. Available from:

[3] Durham, J. 2019. What is In Camera Editing?. . Familyvideoscouk. [Online]. [28 June 2019]. Available from:

[4] Wiktionaryorg. 2019. Wiktionaryorg. [Online]. [28 June 2019]. Available from:

[5] Steenbeckcom. 2019. Steenbeckcom. [Online]. [28 June 2019]. Available from:

[6] 2019. Infoplease. [Online]. [28 June 2019]. Available from:

[7] Jeffery, R. 2019. Filmstudiesinfo. [Online]. [28 June 2019]. Available from:

[8] Studiobindercom. 2018. StudioBinder. [Online]. [28 June 2019]. Available from:

[9] Biteablecom. [no date]¬¬. Biteablecom. [Online]. [28 June 2019]. Available from: