Our story for this post is How Far She’s Come.
I’ll bet you’ve edited a story very similar to this. The story is great, but the visuals you have to put it together with are just ok. I strive to make every edit the best I can. Here are some tips and tricks to help you the next time you get a story like this or any story for that matter.
This is a story about a little girl that fell out of a window in an apartment complex.
Our story begins inside the apartment. The first shot is of the little girl.
I did have a few exteriors to choose from. I decided to start with the little girl. Would you rather see a cute little girl or an exterior of a building?
I use a lot of natural sound from the little girl.
This post is about adding elements to a story to help convey emotion. At [:15] is my first little addition. I do a match-frame from her cute face…
..and then I slow the video down 50% and increase the scale of the frame.
I increase the scale on the very next shot as well.
The next shot after that too.
My logic for using these frame scale increases is I like to pull the viewer into a story. It’s a subtle way of adding a little emotion.
- Tip #1 Increase scale to mimic a slow zoom as a way of pulling viewers into the story
Here another trick I use when I think a story needs a little help with emotion. I’m going to slow the narration down. I’m NOT going to alter the voice. Here’s my trick; between her sentences, I put 10 frames of nothing. When I think a reporter is talking too fast, a quick way to help the pace out and slow the narration down is to put ten frames of nothing or silence down. When I edit documentaries and use this trick to slow the down narration elements. It’s a good little trick, those 10 frames often give the viewer time to absorb information.
You can really hear it at [:24]. Now that I’ve pointed it outlook for other places in the story where you hear me putting space between narration sentences. There are more in this story.
- Tip #2 Add 10 seconds of silence between the narrator’s sentences to slow down the narrator.
At [:26] I pan down from the top floor of the apartment to the ground below. I am not a fan of pans.
Once in awhile, a pan works. This is one occasion where conveying the fall to the viewer works with a pan down.
At [:29] here me pausing her narration again. 10 frames make a big difference!
Another scale increase at [:31]
You’ll also notice every shot from [:18] to [1:03] is a dissolve.
A series of dissolves with several shots and frame scale increase. All my little tools to help pull the viewer in and add a little emotion.
I also decided to add music to the story. I chose something straightforward and unrecognizable.
At 1:03, there are no more dissolves (well for a while) and no more music.
Back to go old storytelling.
Why? I don’t feel a need for any music now. The little girl is recovering, she’s in therapy, and I have lots of good stuff to convey the feeling of the day. I don’t need music here to help.
It’s not till [1:54] that my story needs a little help again. We’re going back outside, back in time talking about the fall. I use dissolves, and the frame scale increases again to convey to the viewer were in the past still.
The reporter stands up is something that was shot on a different day at a different location. I tried to convince the Reporter and an Executive Producer I could make the story better and work without the stand-up. Obviously, I lost that one. You can’t win every editing battle. But I’m happy I tried.
The closing shot is that of the little girl again playing being cute. I’m bookending the story keeping the opening and closing shots similar. I also think this is a much better shot than say an exterior.
Thanks for reading