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The Decidedly Different Role of an Editor in Animated Films

Take a second to think back to the last time you drew something and how long it took to get it “right”. Unless you’re a professional artist specializing in speedy performance, there’s a good chance it took a while. Now think about that last time and the effort you put into your drawing and consider what it must take to make a feature-length animated movie. Thousands of work hours are poured into animated films and a lot of the most important roles are rarely, if ever, noticed by the general public. Thankfully, a recent video by Andrew Saladino’s The Royal Ocean Film Society set out to highlight one very important role in particular: the editor.

What may come as a surprise to a lot of people is what an editor’s job is in animation. In the most basic sense of the role for traditional live action film-making, they take over after principal photography is completed and get to work cutting scenes together with the director’s vision in mind. Animation, however, lacks principal photography, so you might wonder where the editor comes in. The video explains that editors have a much more in-depth and hands-on approach when it comes to animation and are often brought in way before pencil even touches paper (or, you know, the CGI equivalent). The idea being that an editor will have better insight as to how scenes will work together and transition. So having them around in the idea phase is vital to the success of the film. Their involvement from the beginning allows them to offer feedback, suggest certain action in the drawings, or even order entire pieces of footage if needed.

This video is rather eye-opening to the collaborative work that goes into animation and we’ll likely watch the a film’s credits with a stronger sense of appreciation from now on.

What are your thoughts on the work that goes into animation? Let’s doodle up some discussion in the comments below!

Image: Disney


Now, see if you can guess how the editing worked in these anime:

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