Editor Haansol Rim shot by Koon W. Ya-inta
The late great actor Philip Seymour Hoffman once said, “The film is made in the editing room.” And he couldn’t have been more accurate. In fact, regardless of whether it is a film, commercial, music video, television project or something in between, the same is true for every form of visual media based storytelling.
The director can envision and plan out the perfect cinematic story, the cinematographer can capture brilliant footage and the actors can give show stopping performances-- but none of these will matter if the editor behind the scenes doesn’t have the creativity, technical skill and intuition to weave the shots together in a way that carries the story home to the audience.
With the editor being the one to really turn the director’s vision into something viewers can watch and enjoy, it’s not surprising that many great editors become directors later on in their careers. This is the case for acclaimed editor Haansol Rim, who recently directed the breathtaking music video for Sailli’s “The Light,” which was chosen as an Official Selection of 2018 San Francisco Film Festival and the 2019 Atlanta Film Festival, and features Danielle Derisse from the film “Frames.”
As an editor Haansol, who’s Korean but grew up in Germany, has been the creative editor behind numerous successful visual campaigns and commercials for the likes of Adidas, Prada, FNT (Friday Night Throwdown), the Under Armour & AWGE collab that launched the release of A$AP Rocky's new sneaker (the SRLo), the popular furniture and interior design company CB2, the video campaign for the popular electro band The Chainsmokers’ World War Joy Tour announcement, and more.
“The reason why I’ve kept the title of editor, is because while editing, I realized that the titles of editor and director are synonymous. The editing is the final piece of the directing. The editor is the director of the post-production, the finalizer. It’s similar to publishing a book. There is a writer, aka the film director, and the editor,” Haansol explains.
“An editor reads different manuscripts, different styles, and ultimately designs and edits the book to best convey what the writer intends to convey to the world. ‘Reading’ so many different works by different directors, allows me to recognize what is effective… I am able to visualize the final product which in turn helps me during the pre-production and filming part of the project. Editing definitely contributes to one’s skills as a director, and I recommend it to all who want to pursue directing.”
That being said, Haansol is first and foremost, an extraordinary creative editor. Earlier this year Haansol was the editor on the Fades & Braids campaign film for Far-Near Magazine, a cross-cultural book series that aims to broaden the global perspective of Asia. Curated to celebrate the release of Far-Near Vol. 2, the film Fades & Braids directed by Amber Grace Johnson focuses on cultural heritage through various hair styles.
“During editing, I talked with both the director and the creative director, and based on their conceptual goal, we came up with the concept of keeping it minimal and raw to accentuate the raw heritage behind each subject,” explains Haansol.
“I wanted to highlight the raw element, so I played with the sound and added a lot of nature sounds, and tried to keep the speech as raw as possible. My focus was to edit the film’s pace to be seamless and natural, like water streaming down a calm river.”
In a matter of seconds, the video manages to give us a beautiful glimpse into the life and personality of each of the people portrayed. Much of the ‘closeness’ that the film allows us to feel with each of its subjects is due to the way Haansol chose to approach editing the project.
He says, “I’m Asian myself, so this was a project I could empathize with. I approached the project as an Asian editor, and tried to reflect all aspects of the film to be Asian, be it in the pacing of the film, the sound, and highlighting the bits that maybe you would catch certain cultural elements from Asian art peace. As an Asian person, this was a personal project that led to self-reflection, and I focused on making sure that the representation would not be skewed.”
Not only did the Fades & Braids film capture the attention of Far-Near’s audience and expand the magazine’s global reach, but the film also caught the attention of multiple media outlets, such as Document Journal, Nowness, Director’s Notes, Inssaidor and others, which published features on the film.
When asked about working with Haansol, director Amber Grace Johnson said, “When he edits, he understands innately the rhythm and pace of the film, making him very fast and efficient, while maintaining his aesthetic integrity. Plus, he adds his own twists and adds a perspective that I hadn’t thought of, elevating the film to what was initially imagined.”
Haansol was also the editor on the uber rad set of video installations for the Under Armour & AWGE collab that launched the release of A$AP Rocky's new sneaker (the SRLo). As the creative editor and video artist behind the installations, Haansol’s pacing, shot sequences and his killer use of angles all combine to create the video’s overall grunge skate vibe loosely reminiscent of the 90s. There’s no question that he once again nailed the mark with his edits.
The video installations Haansol creatively edited promoted both the sneaker and served as a main feature at the Under Armour X AWGE x A$AP Rocky launch event, which took place last year during Fashion Week at a three-story activation space in Harlem, NY complete with a skate park and an all night rave. The event had a massive turn out, 500 pairs of the SRLos sold out, and the project garnered major attention from some of the leading street style publications, such as Hypebeast, Highsnobiety, Sole Collector, Fader, COMPLEX Magazine and more.
“I got the chance to film A$AP Rocky personally, and film his portrait with my 16mm film camera at the event. It was cool that A$AP asked me to stick next to him and film him, since he found my film camera cool,” recalls Haansol laughingly. “I made a personal short of the portrait I got. And also ultimately, part of that footage was included in the final commercial as well.”
As an editor, it’s easy to see from Haansol’s work that he has a visionary style and a unique way of capturing what his director envisions. There’s no question that we’ll be seeing a lot more from this talented artist in the realms of directing and editing in the future.
“As an editor, I choose works in which the director’s vision aligns with my editing style. Naturally, if a director has a desired style and vision that is very different from what I am naturally inclined to or good at, it would make the job harder, not impossible, but definitely harder,” says Haansol. “I think synergy between the director and editor is essential to really bringing to life the best version of the project.”