Doctor Who editor and the Falmouth Animation students.

Last week we had a visit from Will Oswald, editor on Doctor Who, Torchwood, Robin Hood and Casualty (among many other things). Will is probably unique in that, as well as extensive experience in live action, he has edited many hours of animation, including four films by Senior Lecturer Derek Hayes, 'Famous Fred' for Joanna Quinn and series like Fireman Sam.

Will Oswald in the Edit Training Suite at Falmouth University

Will gave a lecture on the art and science of editing to our Level 1 students, taking in three areas; editing itself – the art of visual storytelling by assembling images over time; the role of the Visual FX editor, and how to edit when there are no real monsters/spaceships/etc in the scene yet, and the importance of sound.
He also gave a masterclass to students interested in editing by getting them to edit several different live action sequences, including a car crash and dialogue scenes.

In live action the script is written, the scenes are shot and then the finished footage is selected and edited together to become the final movie or programme (I simplify, of course) but in animation it is often said that the editing comes before the film is made, in the form of the storyboard. It is essential, for financial reasons, that a good storyboard is created and an animatic made so that only the footage that is actually going to be used is made. There is often a little bit of wastage, but it is so expensive to create high-end animation that nobody wants to create footage that won't get used.

So, why get in an editor; wouldn't his job just be to put the finished footage in the right order? What can the students learn from that?

Well, the answer to that is, that before anybody can come up with a storyboard, they need to have the film they are trying to make playing in their head. There will be trial and error in making the board, and that is also what it is for, experimentation, but the experience of working with live footage is very useful one to show the different ways in which a scene can be composed. In this way, a student can go into boarding a scene knowing the different ways that it could be played, and the many possible variations that can be tried.
Naturally, the focus on working with VFX, and the importance of the soundtrack, can't be overstated, particularly since the course in Falmouth has such a strong record in the former and the latter is a big part of all the films made here.

We intend to get Will back just as soon as his schedule allows!
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