Interview with Dana Bunescu, Binomial: Editing + Sound

Dana Bunescu is one of the most important video editors and sound designers in the Romanian film industry, with a remarkable artistic career of almost 18 years. You will be able to meet Dana Bunescu at our next Student Hub Masterclass held on 11th of December: "Binomial: Editing + Sound", where we will find out more about what does it mean to be a video editor and sound designer, as well as how to work with video archives. Until then, here's a "warm-up" interview about the frequent challenges and secrets behind this job.

In which moment in a film’s “life” does the editor step in? What about the sound editor?

This moment varies from team to team and, obviously, the necessity of the director’s dialogue with an editor or the editor depends on the nature of the future film. When it comes to experienced director-editor duos, this moment would be after writing the script, if we’re talking about a fiction film, and the script would be the first factor to be considered in organizing the material to be shot; if we’re talking about observational documentaries, this moment would be after shootings and, in the case of video montages probably from the t = 0 moment of the idea. There is also the situation when the movie is taken “en vol”, when it is already partially edited; then the one who takes the montage steps on an already “marked” land. And here begins the double work, adapting the organizing system of the first editor to the needs and routines of the one who takes over (the “administrative” part of the project), and when we talk about structures, cuts, rhythm and other elements included in an editor’s signature, there begins the complicated process of rough and fine adjustment. The sound editor is in dialogue with the sound recorder, so he is present before shootings and, clearly, after the film is edited. He may still intervene during the editing process when his expertise in synchronized sound recording is needed or the editing requires some changes which depend on the nature of the sound design. This happens when the video editor and the sound editor are not the same person.

Why is there important to be a close communication between the director and the video/sound editor and why do you think the general public still doesn’t fully understand the significance of this profession?

 Communication between a director and an editor is important because, in general, communication within a community that shares a common interest is important. A film is an undertaking based on teamwork, and this team is made up of individuals, each and everyone with a different character. Adjusting all these features to a proposal made by a director or a producer or whomever else is essential. And this can only be done through communication, none of the crew members is another’s remote control, regardless of its position in the decision-making hierarchy of the film crew.

How much technique and how much imagination is there in an editor’s work?

As an editor, it would be good to know how to use the editing machine, and this is where technique applies. I don’t know if imagination is necessarily the number 1 quality of a good editor, but rather the ability to select from an infinite number of stories embedded in one frame, the story that has the greatest chance to engage with one of the many stories embedded in the frames to follow, and so on. I am talking about the combining ability of the editor. And the strength of being inside and outside the material at the same time. I think this is the hardest thing to do.

What is the film you’ve had the strongest emotional connection with in your work so far and why?

The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu, because since then I began to have a different view on things. And it’s not an emotional connection at all. There was an ensemble of processes that changed me structurally.

The masterclass with Dana Bunescu will take place on Tuesday, 11th of December, 7PM, at CINETic Center. You can find out more about this event here and here.

An interview by Romina Banu

English translation by Andreea Toader

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