Film Editor Eddie Hamilton revealed some of the secrets and challenges of the movie cutting process in a fast-paced conversation in the IBC2023 Forum. 

Hamilton, who has worked on titles including Kingsman, Top Gun: Maverick and numerous entries in the Mission: Impossible series, also brought along some fascinating behind-the-scenes footage to show the audience. 

Eddie Hamilton, Editor ACE, Demonstrates movie magic

Eddie Hamilton, Editor ACE in conversation with Carolyn Giardina, Tech Editor, The Hollywood Reporter 

“There can be 500 to 600 people working behind the scenes to make the magic between action and cut happen in front of the camera,” he told the audience.  

“Months and months of work then goes to the cutting room to my fingertips, so there’s a lot of responsibility associated with that to make sure everyone’s best work is presented on screen. 

“Our job is to be emotional, visual storytellers. As the editor I have to constantly put myself in the audience’s point of view, and make sure that every emotional impulse that they’re feeling from beginning to end is communicated as clearly as possible.” 

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Hamilton explained that to work fast, he breaks the raw footage down in as much detail as possible so he can find things quickly later: “It’s a very intense, time-consuming process,” he said.  

“When they’re rolling cameras, I spend months slowly assembling the film in a very rough form. The real trick with editing is to trust this creative process.” 

Although Hamilton has worked on Mission: Impossible films since 2014, he still interrogates every emotional nuance of each scene, and confronts anything that isn’t working. 

“If it’s not working for the audience, we’ll cut it out or figure out another way to tell the story more simply and economically,” he said. “Ultimately, the audience is right.” 

Read more: IBC2023 Live Blog: All the news, launches and insight from the RAI Amsterdam