TM Masterclass Series - The Art of Editing with Guy Bensley

by MattBorn on 2015-05-16 14:26:07 UTC

Secrets of the cutting room were revealed by acclaimed film and drama editor Guy Bensley (Dads’ Army, Johnny English Reborn, Fortitude, Great Expectations, Spooks) at the inaugural Talent Manager/ DV Talent Masterclass.



Bensley showed us a selection of some of his favourite examples of beautifully crafted editing – from the opening montage of Apocalypse Now to the drowning scene in Nicholas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now with its juxtaposition of the adults’ (Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland) domestic tranquillity indoors, and the unfolding tragedy of their daughter in the garden.

‘Good cuts allow the action to unfold without the audience being aware of editing taking place,’ Bensley explained. Apocalypse Now was created in a ‘different age of filmmaking, where [directors] had the confidence to hold shots longer.’


Similar, in Don’t Look Now, the audience was allowed to ‘relax into each shot’ which, as a result, ‘brilliantly builds the tension.’

Bensley said the current fashion for hyperactive, showy cutting was better suited to adverts and music videos than substantial dramas.

Though he said there were exceptions. Paul Greengrass’s ‘Bourne’ films, and the highly stylised, rapidly interspliced opening few minutes of City of God, which produced a ‘’rhythm’’ to the film and ‘’enhanced the story’’.

Bensley also offered some useful advice on managing viewings. ‘’With the editor’s cut, don/t be too adventurous with the music. It will fright the director and producer.’’


If you’d like to hear about upcoming Talent Manager/ DV Talent Masterclasses – or have suggestions for speakers and topics you’d like to hear about – email

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