Nina & I have been esconced in one of our favourite conceptual and actual places recently- the video edit suite. Weâ€™re wrestling some footage of us re-enacting (for the 3rd year in a row) into submission for our project Sometime Later, with our editor of saintly patience, Doug. Luckily (for him) I am not able to be there every day, and so the stereo headphone-effect of Pope & Guthrie has a few days off. Interestingly, Nina and I seem to find it easier to agree in the writing and production stages of a film project than in the post-production. This first emerged when we split the editing of our 29 pilgrims in our â€˜/broadcast/ project â€“ two very different styles emerged, one lengthy and eliptical, one pithier and led by juxtaposition and unexpected humour. Interestingly I canâ€™t remember whose was whose.
More interestingly, this tension - coupled with Dougâ€™s comparitive ruthlessness (heâ€™s from a TV background) â€“ seems to produce results. Itâ€™s undoubtedly not the most time-efficient way of working - with its negotiation, occasional blind alleys and indulgences â€“ and yet the work seems to thrive on this elasticity, to find its resting point.
Editing documentary footage â€“ for me - is akin to sculpture, maybe carving in fact. Itâ€™s very intuitive, even for professionals like Doug it seems, although we can all rationalise why shots work the moment they do. With every cut thereâ€™s a poignancy as you lose unique moments, but then thereâ€™s a clarity emerging which is truthful I hope. I canâ€™t imagine editing drama can be anything like as cathartic, where you have so few choices, driven by both the narrative and the available shots. But then I guess the â€˜infinity elementâ€™ is there in the writing of drama and fiction, not in the edit. The opposite is true of the documentary.