After Sex Offender is a story on my 2011 NPPA Editor of the Year entry.
This general news story I edited in just over an hour. The photographer was invited to follow the Adam Walsh Task Force rounding up sex offenders. Marking an In on your clip midmotion practically helps every edit you will ever make.
Our story starts with a medium shot of a Marshall knocking on a door.
The 2nd shot [:03] of the story is this a shot of a resident and the Marshall opening the screen door. Notice, I wait until the Marshall has already started opening the door. You are going to see edits taken midmotion A LOT throughout this story. I’m a big fan of midmotion
Starting an edit midmotion does several things. When you edit midmotion, the feeling the viewer gets is they are watching something un-staged. If we start the edit and then he opens the door, the act feels more staged. Like someone saying action and then it happening.
You want edits to hide as much of any staging a possible (None of this story was staged, and I never want the viewer to even remotely think that). Speaking of staging, watch reality TV for an excellent example of this. Most of you reading this already understand nearly all of reality TV isn’t all that real. How else could the camera be in the right places unless they knew what was going to happen? It’s the editing that makes reality TV seem so, well real. Editing midmotion, starting the edit after an action has begun, hides (which is what editing is supposed to do) a lot.
The third shot [:05] we’ve moved inside a residence. I use a J cut to help with the transition inside. The sound of the Marshall before the video of the marshall inside blends the edits together better.
The 4th shot [:08] is also inside. I don’t let movement stop in the previous shot (they are walking in, and the photographer following them is moving). I take the edit on this 4th shot just before the photographer walks into this bedroom. I use the movement of the photographer to help with my edit.
Notice a theme here.
There is movement/motion at the beginning of each shot. Something I also pay attention to is eye trace and eye movement. Notice the last frame of shot 3 and the first frame of shot 4 (previous two stills), the Marshalls are in the center of the frame. I’m placing the viewer’s eye exactly where I want it; in this case, in the center of the frame.
- There is movement/motion at the beginning of each shot
Here is the last frame of shot 4.
Here is the first frame [:12] of the next shot I chose.
Both gentlemen are in the frame at the exact same spot. That’s no accident. When I get an opportunity to place the viewer’s eye exactly where I want them to be, I do it in an edit.
Again in this shot, I’m taking the edit midmotion.
This is a, I think it’s cool edit. I take the edit midmotion just like I have done before. I chose to start the edit on this frame, not because of eye movement but because the Marshall looks ‘cool.’ Coming out of the vehicle, he’s got this driving look on his face. He looks around while putting a piece of paper in his pocket. I think he just looks cool.
The next shot [:17] taken midmotion, and I utilize a J-cut here. Why? If we were following, we wouldn’t constantly be looking at him. Once we heard him say something, we would turn our heads and look at him. The J-cut imitates that (imitate the eye).
The next 7 edits are all taken midmotion. I don’t do that on this shot [:44], however.
Why? Well, he has a caught criminal. He is just sitting there. The action of him sitting in handcuffs would draw your eye alone.
Another J-cut [:46] here. Why? Well, you would be looking at the arrested individuals, wouldn’t you? You would hear the Marshall speak and then turn to look at him. That’s why a J-cut is here.
For this edit [:50], notice I time the edit so that he puts the head down just as the Marshall is saying they admitted to being here illegally.
In the next 4 shots, there is not much going on, so my emphasis on movement isn’t as important. The Marshall is also doing some interviewing, so I let those shots play out.
In the final six shots, there isn’t an emphasis on movement as well. The Marshalls have wrapped up today’s work. I’m merely looking for a shot to help convey that as much as possible. I’m also looking for shots that look ‘cool.’ I particularly like this one.
I like the rack focus [1:05] from the back of the vest to the Marshall.
It really is the simple things that make you a better editor.
This blog’s primary focus is on the editing of stories. I would like to point out a few things about the videography.
1. The photographer stayed with either a medium or wide shot whenever an opportunity to catch an apprehension on camera. An excellent idea.
2. Only when the environment was under control, like after an apprehension did the photographer shoot tight shots or try to get sequences.
Thanks for reading.