Inside the Edit Metamorphosis

Sometimes it’s the smallest changes in your editing that make the biggest impact.

This is something that my good friend Paddy Bird knows, as he’s been editing professionally in the UK for well over 20 years. And though he’s already built an absolutely incredible course for editors looking to learn the creative aspects of the craft (Inside the Edit), he’s also dedicated to pushing us further in our ability to view a scene and notice how the editing techniques are unfolding.

For that reason, he’s been doing a series of short videos called Metamorphosis, in which he plays a short scene, followed by a nearly identical scene with one or two small editing tweaks. Then, it’s your job to figure out what changed. Paddy’s done about twenty of these videos so far, and most of them make for great mind-teasers for those of us looking to strengthen our craft.

Before I share these, one thing I’ve found to be incredibly helpful, especially if you want to get it right on the first try, is to go back and watch the two clips again before continuing on to the second part of the video where the answers are revealed. It absolutely helps to cement the scene and the edits in your brain.

Anyhow, here are a few of my favorite Metamorphosis clips so far.

And here’s a really difficult one, with a frenetic pace that will challenge even the most observant editor.

Also within the Metamorphosis series, Paddy does videos where he challenges you to look at a timeline of a scene, memorize it, then compare it against a slightly changed version of the same timeline. For me at least, these are a little bit easier, but still equally as useful for keeping the mind sharp.

Ultimately, the point of these videos isn’t necessarily to teach you anything specific about how to edit — although if you’re feeling ambitious, you could dive into them and analyze how the changes in the second clip affect the story. Instead, they’re simply editing exercises for your brain, meant for keeping you sharp and aware of the small, but not insignificant changes that can build up over time.

Anyhow, if you’re interested in watching more of these Metamorphosis clips, Paddy has quite a few more on his Vimeo profile. And if you’re seeking a first class editing education, then definitely check out Inside the Edit.