You are an editor. Occasionally…. wait…I’m mean you’ll always have to convey emotions when you edit. Sometimes it’s easy. Your subject is laughing, crying, showing emotion, and it’s easily seen and understood. Quite often, it may be more subtle, and you’ll need to help convey the emotion with the help of some editing tools. Here is a story I produced and the tools I used to help express how Kellie felt as she went into a shark-tank with sharks.
The first thing I did before I edited this story was to find music. Using something from the soundtrack to Jaws or any other scary aquatic movie wouldn’t be appropriate. It’s also a cliche. People already have an emotional attachment to the theme from Jaws. I want to help the viewer understand how scared Kellie is to actually do this all the while, not making a mockery of the dive. Music isn’t an easy thing for me. I’ll often spend hours and hours listening to finding the right music for a story.
For the opening portion of the story, I choose something the average viewer wouldn’t recognize. The song is Heed Our Warning from the Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen The Score. I start the story with music up full for 3 seconds to establish mood.
The 1st five shots of the package are all from the HD underwater camera. Notice all 5 shot I take the edit with the shark predominantly in the middle of the screen. I always have eye trace in mind when I edit. I want to keep the viewer’s eye right in the center of the screen for all these shots. Why? The impact of the shark in the 5th shot shown here…
That shot really grabs the viewer’s attention. I bring the music up full for just a beat during this shot to give it just another second of impact.
At [:11] When Shane Taylor, Kellie’s instructor says,
“We’re going into their world, you know I think if you just respect what they’re to do, things will go really, really smooth,” I take a shot from above the tank. I added a slow push-in to this shot.
Why do I choose this shot? During the interview at [:11], Shane looks down. What’s he looking at? If you place the camera at his eye level and pan it down, this is what you’d see. This is another example of how I use eye trace. I know this post is about helping convey emotion, but there are always other elements going on in editing, and I like to point those out.
At [:24] I have a shot of a shark swimming shot from above,
followed by a shot of Kellie looking into the tank.
Look at this shot closely. I wait for Kellie to have some expression on her face. I want to show the viewer she’s nervous. I then cut back to the sharks swimming from above. I’m following the logic of eye-trace. Kellie is looking at something, I show the viewer what she’s looking at (eye-trace). But it’s not just eye-trace. It is also finding something in the video to show the emotion of the moment.
At [:32], I show Kellie, and she says, “I’m nervous.”
The next shot I choose is that of a shark opening its mouth. Wow, looking back on that edit, I love it. I’m really conveying the emotion of the situation. The shark opening its mouth really works here.
With this shot, I bring up the music full again. Why did I cut away from Kellie to this shot? In the sequence of Kellie in the water, I didn’t like my choices of shots. They were either jumps cuts or cutaways, adding nothing to the story. I’m trying to keep the viewer engaged as much as possible. Cutting a sequence of Kellie dropping into the water isn’t nearly as powerful as cutting back and forth from Kellie to the sharks.
At [:58] I bring the music up full again and show a great shot of Kellie. With the music up full and her expression, you can really feel the tension she’s feeling. That’s good editing.
Notice coming out of this shot at [1:00], I wait until she slightly moves her head. The next shot wide, her head continues to move. I like using match-action to help hide edits. Little things like this make an average editor better.
At [1:25], Kellie goes underwater, and I change the music. I’m now using the song Grand Central from the soundtrack to the movie K-Pax.
This song has a feel of discovery. I want the viewer to realize Kellie is not so nervous anymore. She is intrigued by her dive.
I bring the music up full several more times. The shots are beautiful. Kellie’s taking this all in. I want the viewer to take it all in too. So, I let a few shots just breathe.
This was a fun piece to edit. Great underwater shots to choose from. I kept editing very simple. Trying to let shots breathe. Simple music and notice no dissolve.
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