Movies Before Computers

Before computers, film editors would cut films from negatives and re-scan them to make a new version. The new version was then altered to match the original. This was a time-consuming operation, but it was far less expensive than using a computer. The majority of film editing nowadays is done using computer-based non-linear editing tools. A video copy of the dailies is utilized as editing software.

Editing videotapes

Videotape editing was an art form before computers. It was done by manually splicing raw cinema material and connecting the strips with razor blades and transparent tape. These cassettes were then re-digitized and sequenced with special effects and transitions. The altered content might then be broadcasted. Today, news items and another programming may be uploaded to a server and aired live.

While videotape had the advantage of being able to be played back virtually immediately after it was recorded, it was also incredibly difficult to edit. Emmy-winning editors like Arthur Schneider created a way to make the procedure simpler in the 1950s. To splice a two-inch tape back then, editors needed great vision and guts.


Montage is a cinematic technique for displaying sequences that blend diverse aspects. It is most generally linked with 1920s Soviet film, although it is not confined to that period. In this post, we’ll look at Eisenstein’s and Dziga Vertov’s work, as well as how montage evolved in visual design. We’ll also look at how these two masters are related to the notion of montage in movies before computers.

Montage was often utilized in movies before computers to convey a political message. In “The Meaning of Hitler’s Salute,” for example, a smaller Hitler salute was depicted with a bigger guy in a suit carrying money. The picture was intended to evoke a feeling of hurried time and location.

Cuts between scenes

A jump cut is a break in a film between two non-continuous shots. It is an excellent editing tool that alerts the observer to a shift in direction. It may also be used to highlight unusual behavior. It is a typical cinema editing method that gained popularity during the New Wave period.

Jump cuts were not as prevalent in movies before computers as they are now. Before computers, filmmakers had to rely on various means to arrange shots. In Godard’s 1960 film Breathless, for example, a scene from one scene moved to another picture a few seconds later. The spectator experiences a jarring impression as a result of the discontinuity. Jump cuts have also been employed in more modern films, such as Guy Ritchie’s Snatch and Tom Tykwer’s Run Lola Run. Jump cuts are also often used in television editing. Jump cuts are regularly used in the Universal Monsters films.

Editing that isn’t linear

Non-linear movies may now be edited thanks to advances in computer technology. While non-linear editing is still an expensive technique, it is getting increasingly economical. Non-linear editing was formerly only feasible on costly systems, but today a low-cost add-in board or standalone non-linear editing system can readily edit budget films.

Non-linear editing was pioneered by Bill Warner, the inventor of Avid Technology. In 1987, he showed the world a prototype of his revolutionary editing system. Warner was unhappy with home video and wondered whether computers could modify video pictures. He, on the other hand, believed it would be too tough.

Digital retouching

Before computers, most movie editing was done by hand. The original versions of films were made by physically splicing film negatives together and projecting them onto photographic prints. In contrast, computers have transformed the post-production process. Most films are now edited digitally. A film editor is in charge of several activities, such as selecting the best pictures, generating speed and rhythm, and selecting visual transitions. A film editor’s software offers graphical displays for convenient material selection and layout. Rearranging sequences, adding or removing scenes, removing effects and soundtracks, and cutting a movie into several portions are all feasible.

In the early 1990s, the first computerized editing application appeared. It was known as Media 100, and it was a low-cost solution that provided consistent advances in compression technology. It also emphasized software innovation. By 1994, three feature films had been digitally altered, and by 1995, hundreds more had been. New technologies, such as the DV codec and IEEE-1394, significantly improved digital video editing. During this period, The English Patient became the first film to get an Oscar for Best Editing.


One of the most fundamental aspects of filmmaking is continuity. It aids the viewer in keeping track of the many parts of a film. It also establishes rhythm and aesthetic uniformity. For example, identical camera angles and camera distances between actors and objects may be used to generate continuity between scenes in a film.

Before computers, continuity was accomplished using optical printing, which mixes two pictures on a single film. It was also necessary to employ miniatures or hanging miniatures to produce forced perspective and appropriate set design. Continuity editing shows the tale events in a 1-2-3 sequence and uses cuts to indicate flashbacks.