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Finely Sliced: Julian Eguiguren on Practice, Experimentation and Experience


Splash Studios' senior editor shares how he believes collaboration with directors is key and why he'd much rather have too much footage than too little

Finely Sliced: Julian Eguiguren on Practice, Experimentation and Experience

Julian Eguiguren is a the senior editor at Splash Studios and has many years of expertise cutting national and international advertising campaigns, branded content, music videos, short films and documentaries. 

LBB> The first cut is the deepest: how do you like to start an editing project?

Julian> If possible, it's always best to be able to discuss early on with the director and producer while they are pitching and working on the treatment so you can help with the narrative and other technicalities. I work on a fair amount of films using real people and I always try to get involved in going through the casting tapes with the director to help find the ideal contributors. But whether it’s a doco style, straight narrative or VFX heavy project getting involved early on is a good thing in general.

LBB> Non-editors often think of editing just in technical terms but it’s integral to the emotion and mood of a film. How did you develop that side of your craft?

Julian> I guess the obvious answer would be practice, experimentation and experience. 

But as I mentioned before the earlier, you get involved in the project the better prepared you are to understand the mood of the film and of course watch all sorts of films whether they are commercials, music videos or movies, as well as reading, listening to music and even through paintings. Anything artistic can help you understand how to convey an idea or sentiment.

LBB> How important is an understanding of story and the mechanics of story?

Julian> It's crucial but not always easy especially when you are trying to condense a story in 30 seconds. You also have to keep it objective and try and watch the film every time as if it was the very first time which is easier said than done.

LBB> Rhythm and a sense of musicality seem to be intrinsic to good editing (even when it’s a film without actual music) – how do you think about the rhythm side of editing, how do you feel out the beats of a scene or a spot? And do you like to cut to music?

Julian> Sometimes the footage already has some kind of intrinsic rhythm but usually, you find the rhythm as you build the scenes and the film starts to shape up. In my opinion, it's best to cut without music, if a scene works without music or even sound effects it can only get better once you start polishing and adding other elements. Music helps emphasise emotions and when you find the right track it can be magic but music can also be restrictive and sometimes be deceiving as it helps hide problems.

LBB> Tell us about a recent editing project that involved some interesting creative challenges.

Julian> Last year I worked on a Renault film for fathers day celebrating the 25th anniversary of the iconic Papa Nicole campaign. In the film we see three young women and their fathers talking about their relationship. As the film progresses from the present time to the day they were born, we reveal that the girls were called Nicole because of the original campaign from the '90s.

It was fun to put together interweaving all three stories and using their archive of home movies and photos.

LBB> How important is your relationship with the director and how do you approach difficult conversations when there is a creative difference of opinion?

Julian> The director is the person that knows the project best as it is his/her vision that you need to help realize and like in any relationship trust and respect are key. You need to be able to trust each other and be open to explore any available avenue in order to achieve the best result. Having a good sense of humour and the ability to laugh at yourself and each other is also very important as you spend a long time together under some pressure so laughing is always good.

LBB> What’s harder to cut around – too much material or not enough?

Julian> Not enough. If there isn’t enough footage you are going to struggle to put something decent together.

LBB> Which commercial projects are you proudest of and why?

Julian> I will always remember the BBC Radio 5 Live commercial fondly. The late John Selby gave me my first shot at a proper commercial and I will be forever grateful.

I also have good memories of the Heineken's 'Worlds Apart' which was a real social experiment and was great to be involved very early on in the selection process and during the shoot with the whole crew and cameras hidden from the contributors.

LBB>There are so many different platforms for film content now, and even in advertising something can last anything from a few seconds to a couple of hours. As an editor, are you seeing a change in the kind of projects you’re getting from brands and agencies?

Julian> Mainly that the hero film these days is usually a longer film and then the TV version is made out of that longer film.

LBB> Who are your editing heroes and why? What films or spots epitomise good editing for you?

Julian> I started my career many many moons ago as a runner and moved up the ranks at Final Cut London working alongside some amazing people that also happen to be some of the very best editors in the advertising industry. 

LBB> Have you noticed any trends or changes in commercial editing over recent years?

Julian> The ever quicker turn arounds and the many different versions for social platforms are the things that spring to mind. Also remote editing and collaboration is more common now.


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Splash Studios, Thu, 26 Jan 2023 16:48:00 GMT