A film is made three times, once when it is written, once when it is directed, and once when it is edited. Editing concerns the juxtaposition of two shots of film – the editor splices the film together. Editing is important because it manipulates time, rhythm and pace, space, perspective and point of view, as well as viewer position.
The following early cinematographers can be considered as the ‘origins’ of editing:
•Louis and Auguste Lumière (watch Arrival of a train – note: it’s a one-shot film – and other clips here)
•George Méliès –Trip to the Moon (1902) (watch here)
•Edwin S. Porter –Death of an American Fireman (1903) (watch here. The main innovation in narrative to watch for here is cross-cutting, an editing technique that cuts between two lines of action that occur simultaneously.)
•D.W. Griffith –The Birth of a Nation (1915) (watch this clip for an analysis of the film)