Digital Editing | Course MD 502

Lecturer | Maria Mohr
Teaching Assistant | Abla Mohamed

"The reason a shot is made is not always the reason you use it and that’s such an important thing to keep telling yourself." Fine Cuts - The Art Of European Film Editing

From The Fishes to The Pharaohs

Under the playful title "From the fishes to the pharaohs" we will have a look on the typical and non-typical images of Egypt in national and international films and through the journey of different theoretical and practical assignments the students will re-edit the material into their own pictures of their diverse country.

Course Outline:

The Digital Editing Course is an introduction in the fundamental techniques and concepts of Digital Video Editing and Visual Storytelling. Students will get introduced into the basic editing principles as well as into the history of editing, montage and visual storytelling.

The concept of visual storytelling will be explored and analyzed within various time­based media applications with the emphazis on the inter­relation of image, sound and time. The course will guide students through the whole process of video editing starting with media management, the developement of narrative strategies to image sequencing and story continuity, the use and effect of sound and end with an introduction to different post-production techniques like color correction, filters, subitles etc. Students will learn to apply these concepts and methods to their own digital video projects to create unique visual stories with the use of digital technology.

"She said that ‘A film should offer something to everyone - images, sounds, emotions, maybe a story, but above all the chance to feel something’ and that she wishes ‘to project real things but not to make realistic films’. Even the making of films should be non-linear: ‘Write-shoot- edit-shoot-edit-write: an integral process’. To begin a film neither script nor even idea is necessary. You can ’start with an image’ which itself can be surreal for instance ‘If my aunt had wheels she would be a beautiful bus’." Fine Cuts - The Art Of European Film Editing

"For years I worked exclusively on sound editing and even now - when I’m editing a scene - I look for the best acted parts of the dialogue, the footsteps, the pauses, which in the context of a completely edited scene, can change and enrich the pace and the emotion of the scene itself." Fine Cuts - The Art Of European Film Editing

Using Archived Material

Video Archives:

Archive.org Prelinger Archive Access on campus to the preling archives

"Prelinger Archives was founded in 1983 by Rick Prelinger in New York City. Over the next twenty years, it grew into a collection of over 60,000 "ephemeral" (advertising, educational, industrial, and amateur) films."

Sound Archives:


Class Rules

01. No use of phones in class.

02. Drinks are allowed in class.

03. Food is NOT allowed in class.

04. Attendance of both slots is mandatory, excluding emergencies.

05. No attendance is counted for late comers.

06. Late submissions are allowed with a 10% deduction per day.

Assignments and Grading

01. Use archival footage and sound to create a short film. The short film should include any part from your favorite Egyptian film and it is presented in two steps: a silent film, and a sound film. 25%

02. Film in a Film: Create a short film where your previous film can be a part of it's narrative. You can use the online archives and/or your own material for this film. 25%

03. Cinema Pecha Kucha (in groups of 2-3) - analyse the editing techniques of one film from the list below in 10 slides per person and 20 seconds per slide. 20%

04. Write a 500 words report about a film from the panorama of the european film festival. 10%

05. Create an idea for the development of Egypt. 10%

06. Classwork - participation in classwork activities and discussions. 10%

Film List

	•	Cairo Station/ Bab El Hadid (1958) - E: Kamal Abul Ela; D: Youssef Chahine
	•	Late Autumn / Akibiyori  (1960) - E: Yoshiyasu Hamamura; D: Yasujiro Ozu
	•	Le Bonheur (1965) - E: Janine Verneau; D: Agnès Varda
	•	Taxi Driver (1976) - E: Tom Rolf, Melvin Shapiro; D: Martin Scorsese 
	•	Western (2017) - E: Bettina Böhler; D: Valeska Grisebach  
	•	On Body and Soul (2017) - E: Károly Szalai; D: Ildikó Enyedi

References to use for research:

	•	Montage. Sam Rohdie, Manchester University Press, Manchester: 2006
	•	Fine Cuts - The Art of European Film Editing. Roger Crittenden, Focal Press, 2006
	•	In the Blink of an Eye: A Perspective on Film Editing. Walter Murch, Foreword by Francis Ford Coppola, Silman-James Press 2001
	•	Senses of CinemaFilmsiteTaste of CinemaNo Film SchoolEvery Frame a PaintingFilmmaker IQLearn About FilmThe Cutting Edge

Date Topic Assignments
SEP 18/19 • Introduction to the team.
• Introduction to the course and timeline.
• Pecha Kucha group formation.
• Present your favorite Egyptian film.
Films&Discussion:A Movie by Bruce Conner.
• Find at least two films from the archive and work on a first assembly of shots that you want to work with for the silent film.
SAT SEP 22 Excursion to Chahine Retrospective.
SEP 25/26 • Editing Techniques and Montage theories.
• Cuts and transitions 101 by Rocketjump film school
• The History of Cutting - The Soviet Theory of Montage
• A space odyssey: 2001 by Stanley Kubrick (Opening Sequence)
Films&Discussion:Home Stories by Matthias Müller.
• This is Egypt video.
• Cairo as told by Youssef Chahine
• Brainstorming for Branding Egypt.
• Develop an idea around the topic Branding Egypt submit on Sunday 30th September via email to Abla.
SAT SEP 29 Excursion to Cimatheque.
OCT 02/03 Films&Discussion: Tribute to Ruttman: Berlin: Symphony of a Great City.
• Creating correct sequence settings for the footage at hand. HD PAL
• Codec and Container explanation
• Notes on using premiere.
• Edit your silent for presenting next week; maximum 3 minutes.
OCT 09/10 Films&Discussion: The Passenger: Reporter (1975) by Michelangelo Antonioni (Scene Discussion)
• Silent Film Presentation.
OCT 16/17 Films&Discussion: Sans Soleil by Chris Marker.
• Remember Pecha Kucha!
• Get ready for Pecha Kucha.
OCT 23/24 Midterm Week // No Class -
OCT 30/31 • Cairo Station Pecha Kucha.
NOV 07/08 • Late Autumn Pecha Kucha.
NOV 10&12 Excursion to Panorama of the European Film Festival.
NOV 13/14 • Le Bonheur Pecha Kucha.
• Sound Film Submission.
NOV 21 Technical Class.
NOV 27/28 • Taxi Driver Pecha Kucha.
• Film Critic Submission.
DEC 04/05 • Western Pecha Kucha.
DEC 11/12 • On Body and Soul Pecha Kucha.