This special feature section examines the contribution of editing to the process of filmmaking. From the earliest editing innovations--Georges Melies' turn of the century illusionist effects and Edwin. S. Porter's crosscutting in The Great Train Robbery (1903)--the simple proposition of selecting and joining takes has been one of the defining features of the medium. With the digitization of the industry and associated changes in postproduction imperatives, the discipline and art of editing has, and continues to undergo, profound changes.
Virginia Murray explores the effects of changes in editing technology in her analysis of the state of postproduction in the Australian film industry. Surveying twenty Victorian postproduction workers, Murray notes that the digitization of the industry has resulted in significant industrial and gender ramifications for those seeking to carve out a career as an editor.
Two prominent Australian editors featured in the section also reflect on the limiting and liberating effects of digitization. In Jonathan Wald's illuminating profile of AFTRS Head of Editing Bill Russo, Russo laments the fact that 'computers have turned the assistant into a number cruncher' whose creative interaction with the editor is increasingly limited. But Russo also emphasizes the innovative possibilities offered by the new technologies and the need to make the 'machines work for you'.
Technological change was also an issue for editor Ken Sallows when working on his most recent film, Tom White (Alkinos Tsilimidos, 2004). In Myles McMullen's interview with Sallows and Tsilimidos, the latter recalled his desire to cut on film, a move which required Ken to dust off the Steenbeck and return to a mechanized editing process. For Sallows, it was an interesting experience that reinforced the advantages of both the mechanized and digitized approaches.
In the course of McMullen's interview, both Sallows and Tsilimidos refer consistently to the need for trust between the director and editor. …