Making The Cut: Úna Ní Dhonghaíle Talks Creative Documentaries, Animation and TV Drama Editing

By in Making The Cut, Video Editing

Avid sponsored the annual ACE EditFest in London this summer and had the chance to sit down with a must-see panel of talented editors. Our new Making The Cut blog series features award–winning editors discussing their craft, their workflows, creative processes and upcoming projects in an exclusive and intimate setting.


With recent credits including The MissingThe Crown and Ripper Street, Úna Ní Dhonghaíle is one of the pre-eminent TV drama editors of the age. But she is also active in documentary and animation, and says that in particular her earlier work on “creative documentaries” helped to shape her subsequent dramatic work.

“There is an integrity to telling a story about a real person who exists in the world outside the frame of your story,” she says. “In drama I took the skills I had learned [in documentary about] how the plot should reveal aspects of the character, and how to keep the audience involved and engaged, and have them empathise with the characters.”

Ní Dhonghaíle’s initial work in the late 1990s after completing her studies at the National Film & Television School, UK, revolved around editing on film – but shortly after her movement to an Avid-based workflow “was quite seamless. Editing on Avid allowed greater speed, and greater choice for the director.” In time, the process became “like second nature… you do it automatically.”

Avid technology has remained integral to Ní Dhonghaíle’s editing life as she has developed her ideas about the “psychology” of editing. It is possible to adjust the image “to help with the rhythm of your editing [and] manipulate the edits to give an emotional reaction to your audience.”

“Editing on Avid is like second nature… you do it automatically”

—Úna Ní Dhonghaíle, editor of ‘The Missing’

A big thank you to the team at American Cinema Editors who helped organize the interview at this year’s EditFest London.

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