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Editors are a cut above

Award-winning editor Dominique Banoun works hard to make sure you don’t even notice what she does.

Award-winning editor Dominique Banoun works hard to make sure you don’t even notice what she does.

Banoun edits for the CBC and has worked on many programs and documentaries for the broadcaster including Disclosure, The National and Newsworld. She shared a Gemini Award win in 2008 for a CBC News: Sunday feature on young jazz singing phenom Nikki Yanofsky that was cut together in less than three days from dozens of hours of video and audio recordings.

Despite the immense amount of technical work that goes into editing, from splicing together video and audio clips to choreographing a coherent story, sometimes in mere minutes, Banoun says the ultimate goal of the editor is to make their own work invisible.

“When the editing is well done, it’s seamless. That’s what I aspire to — that you forget there’s an edit there,” Banoun said.

Born in England, Banoun moved to White Rock, B.C., 20 years ago to work as a dancer and dance instructor. She quickly realized she had a knack for editing after getting roped into taping rehearsals, which led to her editing together demos for her dance company.

Banoun took classes in editing at Videographe in Montreal and when she started working professionally, editors had to work in a linear fashion with tapes and VTR machines and most editors had to practice careful, choreographed movements to maximize the efficiency of physical actions like removing a tape.

Nowadays, all video Banoun receives is digitized to allow for non-linear editing using software and a computer.

Yet while the tools and technology of editing have changed, Banoun says the skills and challenges have remained the same.

“Editing is very detail-oriented. You have to work consistently, calmly in a very stressful environment. We’re the last line before something goes to air,” she said.

Banoun says the process of editing is a lot more organic than people realize, involving plenty of intuition, good judgment and creative choice.

“When you start shaping something, it feels like a sculpture. You start out with a mess and as you chip away a shape takes form.”

 
 
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