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Finely Sliced: Building a Soundscape with Chiao Chen

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Forager cinematographer and editor on working with Nike, embracing the sound and his editing heroes

Finely Sliced: Building a Soundscape with Chiao Chen

Chiao Chen is a cinematographer and editor based in New York City.


LBB> The first cut is the deepest: how do you like to start an editing project?

Chiao> I really enjoy looking through all of the footage and pulling selects. After that, I'll have a rough idea of what kind of sound I'll need for the project. Then, I start pulling sound effects for the project. Sometimes I spend more time on the sound than the picture. 


LBB> Rhythm and a sense of musicality seem to be intrinsic to good editing (even when it’s a film without actual music) – how do you think about the rhythm side of editing, how do you feel out the beats of a scene or a spot? And do you like to cut to music?

Chiao> Soundscape and sound design are such important parts of the editing. The sound can really help my editing process, But I don't really like the edit cut to the music too much. I think the unexpected cut is what makes an interesting edit.


LBB> Tell us about a recent editing project that involved some interesting creative challenges.

Chiao> The recent editing project I'm working on is a Nike spot. I shot it and am currently in the editing process. We don't have much time and access to the athlete, so material is minimal. But we got some beautiful locked off shots that the director and I originally had planned in order to let the shot play out and do less in the editing. It's very challenging, but we find other ways to tell the story by sound. Sometimes it’s good to tell the story without showing it too.


LBB> What’s harder to cut around – too much material or not enough? (And why?)

Chiao> It really depends on the project. I personally enjoy editing without too much material. It's challenging, but it forces me to make it work without doing a lot of editing.


LBB> Who are your editing heroes and why? What films or spots epitomise good editing for you?

Chiao> My editing heroes are Robert Lopuski and Dylan Edwards. I like to watch all of their work before I start editing a project. The editing without doing a lot is good editing for me, I really like the spot UNICEF 'More than a Mark' which was edited by Rebert. 

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Forager, Mon, 14 Feb 2022 11:14:29 GMT