Avid Celebrates Women Editors in Film and Television: Getting Dramatic

By in Video Editing, Women Editors

March is Women’s History Month, and in this blog series, Avid celebrates some of today’s most talented women editors in film and television. This week, we get deep with Úna Ní Dhonghaíle and Sandra Adair, ACE, and learn about editing film and TV dramas.

They are stories that can make you laugh and leave you crying. They strike that delicate balance of joy, fear, sadness, and hope. Film and TV dramas hold a mirror up to our own lives and create deeply reflective emotional experiences.

Two editors who have consistently delivered celebrated dramas over the past decade are Úna Ní Dhonghaíle and Sandra Adair, ACE.

“I actually always wanted to do filmmaking… my father was a great storyteller,” says Ní Dhonghaíle. Today, her credits include television series The Crown and The Missing. For Ní Dhonghaíle, finding the rhythm of a dramatic scene is about drawing on your own experience to make characters relatable—regardless of the cut’s pace. “How to keep the characters alive and the audience identifying with the characters… I think that is something that comes from you,” she says.

With a powerful suite of visual effects and precision-editing tools, Media Composer helps Ní Dhonghaíle craft stories with ease. Instead of worrying about the software, she can focus on important aspects of a scene: “What is the story about? What is the audience to feel? And use the tools to do that… that’s what I like about Avid”, she shares.

While Úna works primarily in television, Adair has spent decades editing critically acclaimed feature films. In 2014 she completed the 12-year epic, Boyhood, with long-time collaborator Richard Linklater. Adair was nominated for an Academy Award, and won an Eddie for her outstanding work on the project. She notes that personal experience was foundational to creating the dramatic masterpiece. “I did bring a certain emotional quality too—I brought my own experience as a mom and as a sibling to the way I saw the footage, and the moments that I selected were moments that resonated with me as a mother and a sister, and as a family member, as a wife…”

Adair’s impressive career has included editing such films as Dazed and Confused, and Linklater’s Before trilogy. She recognizes that the best drama comes from exploration our collective cultural experience.

“You think about experiences you may have had as a kid… it’s not about the specific milestones that one hits in life, it’s about the accumulation of the little moments that are poignant, that make you feel something,” Sandra says.

For Ní Dhonghaíle, it’s about taking those personal experiences and finding them in the quiet moments of the story.

“Trying to tell a story that moves an audience really interests me… I try to find what is actually happening underneath… The unsaid is as relevant, and as necessary for an editor to carve out as what is being said,” concludes Úna.

Get dramatic with your own storytelling.
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