Suite Talks: Editing documentary

SAGE (The South African Guild of Editors) and In The Bag (A Wits Film and Television initiative) presents: Thinking about — and working on — the feature length documentary. Join us in Johannesburg at the Wits Appolonia Theatre on the 20th of June for a discussion with two of South Africa's top long form non-fiction editors.

When editing a film, a screenplay may guide the editor in terms of its overall structure. This, in essence, gives the editor the first draft of the film. The final "re-write" is created in the edit suite, working with the director and producer. Depending on the kind of documentary, the story may by scripted and storyboarded in detail, or it may rely more on what the filmmaker finds in the field. Either way, it is up to the editor to shape the content into a documentary that keeps the viewer glued to the screen. What guides the editor's thoughts when he or she is working out the structure of the documentary?

Documentaries are also know for high shooting ratios. This means that the editor has to work through hundreds, even thousands of hours of footage before arriving at the final film. How do you keep track of each shot? How do you decide what content will work for the film, and what should be thrown out?

Working on a wildlife documentary adds further challenges. How do you tell an animal's story in a way that a human may relate to it? How do you make a sequence impactful when the camera had to stay far away from the subject while covering the event?

Join us on Thursday, 20 June when Catherine Meyburgh and Susan Scott will be sharing their insights into the documentary editing process.

Please see the event flyer for details. RSVP essential.