As with the applicants’ previous studies of the work and leisure uses of technology (Brown & Barkhuus, 2006; Brown & Laurier, 2005; Laurier & Philo, 2003) this project will take an ethnomethodologically-informed approach to studying editing. Akin to Bruno Latour’s (2005) remarks that actor network theory is not a theory but a methodology, ethnomethodology is not a methodology but an engagement with the methodologies of others. Its central ethos is to recover the skilful practical reasoning and practical action that orders and organises workplaces sui generis. With this methodological ethic in mind the planned project will employ a low key ethnographic method (Laurier, 2003). Its minimal formalisation being key in allowing it to easily blend into the methods being employed by the editing communities in each study site.

Working with the footage, the local methods are anticipated to be the viewing, logging, selecting, trimming, sequencing, selecting amongst types of cuts/joins (e.g. cut in/cut out, cross-cut, dissolve, fade in or out, L cut, axial etc.) which will combine with the assembly of sequences, deleting and adding soundtracks and more. Successful editing is not silent work and while each of these cuts are accountable actions in the process of editing they are also open to their conversational interrogation as well-made or not. As such the shoptalk of the editors will be of central methodological interest.

Following a classic ethnographic arc from outsider to insider, from observer to participant, the ethnographer started with only minimal skills. At the access point they made visits to other home movie makers, followed by a residency at a community resource centre during the fieldwork where they learnt the basic techniques of editing and simultaneously joined the setting as ‘legitimate peripheral participants’ (Lave and Wenger 1991) and finally they sat in on professional editing with the background competence in the craft from the earlier stages.

The videos below were made during the project by the ethnographer drawing upon the basic competence acquired in editing in Final Cut Pro.

Buffalo buffalo at Dialogues from Eric Laurier on Vimeo.

Glasgow Geography Centenary Video from Eric Laurier on Vimeo.

Angus & Victoria's Wedding from Eric Laurier on Vimeo.