Undergraduate Degree




DF2001 Film Editing

[Studio Contact Hours: 39 hours; Pre-requisites: NIL; Academic Unit: 3.0]




Academic Unit


3 A​U

Course Description


Learning Objective

To provide a preliminary insight into the practice-based principles of film editing and the formal dynamics that inform it.


This course will expose students to the different cognitive and semiotic principles of a film narrative. This will include an examination of the historical and developmental process of film post-production, the digital and analog workflow, classical and contemporary continuity and dialectic systems of editing. The conventions by which narrative forms can be conveyed within the cinematic montage will be detailed. This course will provide competency in the practical management of film post-production, as well as the important skill-sets and responsibilities required of a film editor.

Course Outline




• Intro to course

2 - 6

• Overview of the role and responsibilities of an online and off-line film editor during film post-production and finish

• Evolution of film language 

• Formal principles of cinematic language and grammar 

• Hollywood and the Continuity-editing system – match-cutting, point-of-view editing and parallel-cutting

• 1920s Soviet Cinema and the Montage system of editing – dialectic film form, visual and audio synchronicity

• Cognitive and semiotic theories and applications in contemporary narrative cinem


• Mid Sem review of assignments

8 - 12

• Editing practice – projects and exercises 

• Psychology and emotion of the cut – meaningful and dramatic expression editing 

• Historical evolution of analog and digital film editing hardware and software systems, the basic technicalities of linear / non-linear editing

• Management of an editing project – digital format and compression; logging and capturing; organising edit bins, sequences and timelines 

• Basic knowledge of post-finish processes, such as colour timing, special effects, final output and print


• Final review of assignments

Learning Outcome

The students will have an overview of the entire editing process. The students will realise the importance of appropriate editing decisions in the establishment of a narrative and the development of a visual style.

Student Assessment

  1. Final Assessment: 30%

  2. Continuous Assessment: 70% (of which at least 15% is participation)

Continuous assessment components may include:

  • Studio-based exercises and projects

  • Individual, group and team-based assignments


  1. Sergei Eisenstein, Film Form: Essays in Film Theory, Harcourt

  2. Sergei Eisenstein, The Film Sense, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich

  3. David Bordwell, Kristin Thompson, Film Art: An Introduction, McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages

  4. Gilles Deleuze, Cinema 1: The Movement-Image, University of Minnesota Press

  5. Gilles Deleuze, Cinema 2: The Time-Image, University of Minnesota Press,

  6. Walter Murch, In the Blink of an Eye, Silman-James Press

  7. Charles Koppelman, Behind the Seen: How Walter Murch Edited Cold Mountain Using Apple's Final Cut Pro, New Riders Press