If you have made it this far you are rounding third and headed for home. Good job! Your film is “In the can”, and you are ready to put it all together.
“I can see clearly now!”
Hopefully you have an amazing editor, who has been on set and has already put together an assembly during principle photography. If not lets start there…
“Do you have it?”
An assembly edit is basically the first cut of the film where each scene is organized and put together. This is usually achieved by using the master shots of each scene to insure full content and coverage of each scene has been achieved, usually with the directors choice of takes. Here is where the decision for re-shoots or pick up days is made. There is no temp music or effects of any kind in this edit, however the editor should sync all the dialogue to ensure all audio is matching up with the visuals and if any ADR will be required.
“Breaking it down!”
Now that you know you have a feature film from beginning to end. The director and the editor will begin replacing takes as needed, cutting extraneous dialogue, and scenes. Rearranging certain details of the film if necessary and appropriate depending on what is working and what simply needs to hit the cutting room floor. The editor will now add temp music, and any major sound effects that the film needs to tell its story. The director will make notes on the cut for the next faze of editing.
“Making it great!”
As implied by its title, this is the cut of the film where the editor and director will go through each moment of the film with a fine-toothed comb ensuring that everything is just right before heading into picture lock. This includes making sure the music working, timing is perfect, and that the emotion beats of the film are all clicking together. Get rid of any last little things that just aren’t working; lines of dialogue; inserts, etc. You may want to let a few close trusted friends and family screen the film and give you feedback before finalizing everything. Once you feel good about the film, get any ADR you will need for sound because this picture is almost locked!
“So this is it!”
This is the finalization of your edit. Once you let the film go to sound there is no going back from here, so make sure it is exactly the way you want it! Put all the ADR, sound and finalized visual effects in and that’s all she wrote, it better be good! ☺
Check out Film Tutorials: How to Edit in Adobe Premiere Pro,
Then a great documentary from editors: The cutting Edge The Magic of Movie Editing (Full Documentary)