Citizen Kane Editor Pre-Production Journal


This project was the process of analyzing an assigned clip from the movie Citizen Kane, and film an interview talking about that clip and how we analyzed it. To create this interview, however, we had to break the creation of it up into three weeks. This week is primarily writing the script, scouting the area, working out lighting and camera angles, and doing research. Next week is filming week, and then the week after is the time to edit the video together. That is my job, I am the editor of the film.

Cinematic Storytelling Elements

  1. Element Number: 19 – Element Name: Assembly Editing: I took multiple clips of Scott and moved them around in a way that they all fit together nicely.
  2. Element Number: 20 – Element Name: Mise-en-Scene: There wasn’t an extreme use of Mise-en-Scene, but I did manipulate the lighting in iMovie because the original lighting didn’t turn out the way we thought it would upon uploading, and also to give the film a more natural feeling.
  3. Element Number: 21 – Element Name: Intercutting: I cut back and forth between Scott and the clips that he was speaking about a number of times, and I even put in some clips without his voice overlapping them, that way the audience could hear the original audio from the clip.
  4. Element Number: 42 – Element Name: Matching Audio Segue: The way I used this element was by changing angles on Scott and still having the audio match up, but also having the volume be the same in both angles.
  5. Element Number: 46/47 – Element Name: Visual Match-Cut (Pattern, Color, Action, and Idea): I did use this element, what I did was I had a video of Scott speaking, talking about a certain point in the short clip, and then I would cut to that exact moment of the clip and let him speak over it and explain his analysis.

Influences From Editors, Films, and Other Research

Michael Kahn

Thelma Schoonmaker

 Editing Tips & Tricks

  • If films or video happen to be on the longer side, it’s a good idea to put ‘breathing room’ in.
    • ‘Breathing room’ is the act of adding in a small amount of time (like a couple of seconds) of just silence, or increased music volume.
    • “Adding breathing room can provide your audience with a mental “break” in the information they are receiving, and a small pause can also trigger the understanding that a new thought or subject is about to begin. When used in conjunction with changes or hits in music, these can add a fantastic flow to interview segments.”
  • The J-cut
    • A J-cut is having an audio track begin a couple of seconds before the actual visual piece or clip is shown.
    • It’s a very natural way to go about editing, because when we hear something in real life, we naturally turn our heads to look at it. Which means there will only be a second or two before actually seeing what is making the sound, or where it’s coming from.
  • Cleaning up dialog saves time and keeps the audience’s attention
    • By cutting out a few slurred words, or the “umm’s” and “hmm’s” can make the video seem more organized and clean.
    • It can also keep your audience’s attention.


Editing Program

A good video explaining some of the equipment to use to achieve an interview with good audio and lighting.

The video below was using Final Cut Pro to edit their video, but they still gave some helpful tips and information that I could use in iMovie.

Planning with Cinematographer and Test Shots

The cinematographer and I discussed briefly about how we want the interview to go and how it should look. We came to the conclusion that we want at least two cameras on the person being interviewed. Both of the cameras will be still at certain points of the video, and focused on him at different angles, and then the cinematographer talked about moving one of the cameras, so it will be panning around our interviewee to create a whole new effect.

Production Schedule

Day 1 (Tues. 1/4/16): Writing prep for the screenplay, we will be hashing out the main theme and idea of what the interview will be like and how the screenplay will go. Location scouting and lighting check. Lastly, researching our roles to have an idea of what we need to do.

Day 2 (Wed. 1/5/16): We will be writing the basics of our screenplay so that we have room to edit it during filming. Locking down our filming location. And finally, continuing research for our roles.

Day 3 (Thurs. 1/6/16): Testing lighting and cameras in our film location, getting everything ready for filming. Completing the screenplay, we’ll just have a rough version of it. More research for roles.

Day 4 (Fri. 1/7/16): Finishing prep for the actual filming process. Editing the screenplay if needed. And even more research for our roles.

Day 5 (Mon. 1/11/16): Begin filming. Making changes to our screenplay when necessary, as in angles, editing sequences, etc.

Day 6 (Tues. 1/12/16): Continue filming, completing at least a quarter of the filming, if not more. Again, making revisions to the screenplay when needed.

Day 7 (Wed. 1/13/16): Completing half, if not more of the filming. Making more screenplay revisions when needed.

Day 8 (Thurs. 1/14/16): Complete the filming the filming. If it is already finished, then refilming in case there are any problems, or we need to fix any problems.

Day 9 (Fri. 1/15/16): Begin editing process.

Day 10 (Tue. 1/19/16): Continue editing, finding the right clips to insert.

Day 11 (Wed. 1/20/16): Continuing editing process, completing at least half of the final project.

Day 12 (Thurs. 1/21/16): Finish editing.

Day 13 (Fri. 1/22/16): Fix any problems or make any changes necessary to the film and upload to YouTube.

Day 14 (Mon. 1/25/16): Presentation.

Storyboard Notation

 What I Learned and Problems I Solved

I learned a lot about certain editors in the film industry. I discovered that a lot of movies that I really like have been edited by similar and or the same people. This was interesting to me, and made me think ‘no wonder I like these movies, even though they are nothing a like. The editors and directors were similar or the same.’ I also learned a lot more about editing techniques. Adding cutaways, or breathing room can be crucial in a good video, especially if it’s on the longer side and you’re looking to keep your audiences attention. One of the problems that I solved was the issue with audio and syncing it up to the clip when cutting away.

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