Cut my life into pieces (this is my last resort)

Windows Movie Maker - The program that got me hooked on video editing

This isn’t an editing tips post (I’ll save that for another time), but it is about editing. You see, editing is a very special process.

Editing is where the magic happens. Not always the special effects either. It’s where the footage actually begins to look like a film. Anyone who has edited footage together (in a non-fan based music video type way) knows of this. Before this, they were simply clips – shots of dialogue or action. It’s the sequence that we’re really looking for though…

Consolidating - Very dialogue heavy, which helped me understand certain truths about the video editing process

And knowing how to build a sequence isn’t the actual magic for editing. I’ve experienced this many times before when editing – where footage seems disjointed, almost as if each shot was from another film entirely. It’s when you actually start trimming where the magic happens. A good editor, nay a competent editor knows when to cut, and when to leave the footage. Timing can be incredibly important, not just for pace, but also for meaning. A simple change of expression or delivery of dialogue can change this, which is part of the reason that you must know when to cut. The other part of the reason is you need the images to flow. And there’s a number of ways to do this:

The first way is simple. Cut on the action. Action and flowing action gives the impression that the time is continuous – that you haven’t skipped ahead. Obviously, the opposite can also be used – especially with fades, to give the opposite impression – that time has passed.

The second way is actually a little bit technical, but also important. One of the ways that student filmmakers can fall down when it comes to editing, is by not employing the trick of sound bridges. This is when the sound of one shot overlaps into the next shot, creating a bridge. Obviously this can either be used within the scene (to create that important level of time within the scene) or onto the next scene, which links the end of one scene and the beginning of another.

This can easily be done in AVID with the trim tools. It can be done in other programs too, although I’m not as familiar with those.

The recombination of a sequence is simply the beginning of the editing process (although some employ other people to do the rest). The rest of it involves adding a soundtrack as well as colour correction and grading. Once again, plugging AVID, it does have easy to use features on these, allowing you to superimpose grading along an empty track in the timeline.

Colour correction/grading - a lot of tools available including colour wheels and histograms

I have skipped a number of items here, such as graphical effects, titling and CGI, since I will most likely go into those further in a future blog post.

Overall, I will say the editing is both my favourite and least favourite part of the process – most favourite because it’s such a magical experience and incredibly rewarding, least favourite because of the problems that can come up, the loneliness of it and because of the waiting (rendering times can be a bitch, but are worth it).

Just remember LEARN:

Logic

Energy

Absorption

Rhythm

Narrative

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