When the credits roll in the cinema, 0.05% of people will sit there and ponder… “I wonder what editing software that film was cut with…”. That statistic is an educated guess. When all is said and done does it really matter? Does it matter to the artist? Should it matter to the artist? From the audience’s perspective, its a simple no, unless the audience have confused terminology between editing and visual effects and are curious about the construction of certain scenes and how they were made, as apposed to “I wonder what software was used to select specific clips and specify their ‘in’ and ‘out’ points”.
This article stands in poetic contradiction to another I wrote last year, exploring how one’s platform of choice does not matter. I actually wrote both articles at the same time. Take that as you will.
Its a lie that the editing system doesn’t matter; depending on the kind of person you are. The editing system you the filmmaker opt for matters very little. I know this seems in contrast to my opening remark. Final Cut’s magnetic timeline, from my experience makes it categorically quicker to move chunks of assets around within the timeline. this makes it categorically quicker to try out different variants inside of FCPX. Now why might this matter? Well if you lack patience and the brainpower to hold onto ideas for longer than two minutes then any other editing platform may impair your creative performance in the edit suite. With the exception of patience, it doesn’t matter.
Except it does. For me, editing film is the closest I come as an artist to making music; something I really wish I was capable of as a human. I lack any sense of metronomic rhythm required to start learning an instrument without loosing focus and becoming disillusioned. But storytelling and visual rhythm; that I can do. When you are hence trying to create a rhythmic piece of moving image, it’s important that you have some kind of symbiotic relationship with your instrument. Maybe this is less important if you are a methodical filmmaker who bullet points performance beats for their actors (never do this!), but if you want your work to, in any way, feel organic, not feeling interrupted or frustrated by the clerical robotic tools at your fingertips, it is important. It matters as part of an emotional experience of creating and telling a story.
Never forget why you ended up in the edit room in the first place. If you spend too much creative time and energy deciding what platform to use then you have perhaps betrayed your cause. But as musicians choose instruments and pitch, we create music of our stories. The moment your editorial tools become apparent, they become intrusive and can frustrate their function and your desires.
This is why, I think, it matters.