In the world of digital content creation, video editing plays a crucial role in captivating audiences and conveying powerful messages. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced video creator, mastering the art of video editing will take your productions to the next level. In this article, we will explore six essential video editing tricks that will help you create amazing content.
1. Organise your Footage First
Before diving into the editing process, take the time to review your footage, organise the usable material, and name your files appropriately. By taking notes of key moments in the timecode, you can save a ton of time down the road searching for material. Organising the footage into scenes and even shot types will allow you to quickly transition the vision from your head into a tangible timeline.
It may take a while to go through everything at first, but it will save that extra time and then some when it comes to building your timeline.
2. Reference the Script and Storyboards
The DP should have shot the footage based on at the very least a simple script or shot list. As an editor, you should request a copy of this if you haven’t been provided one already. By referencing the script you can achieve an instant understanding of what the DP was going for and what the intentions of the director were.
This will get the edit a lot closer to the brief for the final delivery.
3. Cut Naturally
A dead giveaway to an amateur edit is poor pacing when it comes to cuts, especially with the dialogue. When a video is cut well, the viewer shouldn’t be noticing the cuts at all, the content and dialogue should be flowing naturally between each other. Unless done for stylistic choice, an average viewer noticing cut decisions is a red flag, as now the editing itself is taking the viewer out of the production.
Top tip for cutting between 2 camera dialogue scenes: Pretend you are a third person viewing two people talking in real life. Let the camera cuts mimic your head movements when observing the two individuals in conversations. Pay attention to breath and treat the camera shots as your own line of sight to help make cut decisions feel seamless and natural.
4. Be Prepared to Kill your Darlings
Whether you have 30 minutes of footage that need to be cut down to 30 seconds, or 30 weeks of footage that need to be cut to two and a half hours, you will be scrapping most of your material.
This can become especially difficult if the editor is also the DP or director and has sentimental attachment to certain shots due to the amount of work that went into them. Learning to cut emotional ties by “Killing your Darlings” is imperative to making the final edit best service itself.
5. Take a Break
After hours, days, weeks or even months of cutting a project, you need to take a break and refresh your perspective. Whether you’re working on a musical mix or you’re cutting footage, hours and hours of going over the same material warps your perspective and fatigues your ears and eyes, prompting poor decisions you otherwise wouldn’t.
Just in the same way you should take a break when driving before an accident, taking a break from editing will allow you to come back and see the project as a cohesive whole again, realigning your perspective and improving your decision making.
Almost always the first draft will not be the final version of the project. Work with the client or director and watch/listen to your work in a couple different environments while you review the project and how the content is conveyed.
Listen to feedback so that when you go back to iterate you can focus on the areas to improve and avoid making unnecessary adjustments.
By the nature of working in a creative industry, there are no hard rules in how a project must be tackled. That being said, veterans and experts utilise these 6 tried and true tips to improve their workflow and deliver consistent results.
Book a call with Viostream and take the first step to turn your videos from woe to pro.