What’s the job of an assistant editor?

This week we take a closer look at our assistant editor Stephanie Weimar as she finishes sorting through over 40 hours of Vivian’s adventure, filmed in Canada and China.

What exactly is an assistant editor?

My job is it to prepare and organize all the 40+ hours of footage in an easy way for the editor. For example, as parts of the material were in Chinese, I was responsible for getting the material translated and aterwards uploaded into the computer together with the original material. Furthermore, I wrie short descriptions for every film clip so the editor later knows what the material is about.

How did you get to Picture This? How did you become an editor?

I started out at Picture This as an intern because I really liked their documentary “When Two Won’t Do“. Then one thing led to another and I started editing and directing projects with them. I started editing long before that. I had learnt the basics at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax, NS. Later I directed, shot and edited two series for APTN( Aboriginal People’s Television Network) with the Inuvialuit Communications Society in Inuvik, NWT.

Do you have a special connection to this film‘s topic?

My circumstance are very different, but as an immigrant to Canada myself, I have a special interest in stories like this.

What is the most exciting/ interesting part of editing a documentary?

It’s great to see how it all comes together. It is also really interesting how often times all preconceived notions of how the story works and how characters relate to each other simply don‘t work out. You just can’t plan or scriptwrit reality!

Is it sometimes the case that you get lost in the story?

Yes, that’s really easy. There are hours and hours of footage to watch and so many ways you can tell a story, it can be hard to keep track and make a decision!

When editing the material, is there the possibility to change the story…and not to edit according to the script?

Of course, sometimes the best ideas only emerge during the editing process and the film can take a completely new direction! Right now the film is starting to take shape into its first rough cut. We’ll see how close or far it comes to what we thought it would be when Vivian and her family first headed off to China to discover her bithplace…

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2 Responses to What’s the job of an assistant editor?

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