Category Archives: Opportunities

The Goodbye Talent Edit

Over the years, I have cut many goodbye stories.  This happens in every market.  It’s a story you should look forward to editing.  It always has emotion. How can you not want to edit a story that has emotion?

For this post, our story is Goodbye Ernie

Ernie Bjorkman retired from television news in December of 2008.  He was on the air in Denver, beginning in 1982.  What can you learn from me editing a goodbye video? A lot.

The first thing to remember is this is an opportunity to edit a good story.  You should never turn down a chance to edit a good story.  It’s practicing your craft, and it’s a chance to make people laugh or cry.  Those are 3 good reasons to edit goodbye talent pieces.  Be the go-to person for these edits.

The process for you will likely be similar to mine.  A producer will hand you several pieces of file media, some talent saying their Goodbye and off you go.  The rest is usually up to an editor.  You may have to sift a little.  You may have to spend some extra time in an edit bay logging.  All these things will pay off when people thank you for your effort.  Make people laugh, make people cry, and get thank you’s from the staff.  I’d call that a good day.

My idea is to take the same route, you would if it was a story with no narrator.  Weave the soundbites into a story.  Add lots of moments from the talent’s career, and you have a great edit.

Just like in a story with no narration, I try and use as much natural sound as possible.

At [:03], We see Ernie working as a trash man for a day.

The reporter I use first says, “You know sometimes there is a man,” I then cut to shots of Ernie with a trash man saying, “Let’s pick up some trash, man.”  My natural sound reinforces the reporter’s soundbite.  Just like you try and do with your daily news stories, I apply the same logic to this story.

I try hard to keep this up throughout this piece.  The next soundbite is, “And I don’t want to say a hero, ’cause what’s a hero really.” I use this great shot of Ernie looking left.

He looks hero-ish.

The next soundbite is, “Sometimes there is a man, well he’s just a man.  He fits right in there with his time an place.”  Ok, well, he is a man.  I don’t want to show the reporter.  This is a goodbye piece.  I want to show our anchor as much as possible. I do use older videos here.

I have 9 edits in 18 seconds so far.  I’m averaging an edit every two seconds.  The final runtime of this story is 4:10.  That’s a long story.  I want to keep the viewer interested.  I want a brisk pace.  I’ve got my work cut out for me.

At [:28], I move on to another reporter.  A younger reporter.

She says Ernie’s been like a father figure to her.  I sift through my media to find Ernie working in a pre-school.

I am not just using any video.  I’m reinforcing the thought just like I would in a standard news story.

Next up was the main weather anchor.  At [:58], Dave says, “I can’t believe it’s been 8 years from the day I walked into the door.” I sifted through my video and found a shot of the weather anchor walking into frame.  Kind of like walking into a door.

It’s close.  I’m trying.  If you work just a bit harder, it’s these little things that will make your pieces better.

At the time of the edit of this story, Ernie was pursuing a career as a veterinary technician.  I used as many stories as I could find, which had animals and Ernie in them.

As you continue to watch, the story notices my use of natural sound spliced among the soundbites from anchors and reporters.

Also, notice the effort I made to find a relevant video.  At [1:39], a morning anchor says, “He’s been a Denver favorite for the past 75 years.”  I found this shot of Ernie with a mauve jacket.

That certainly looks like something Ron Burgundy would wear.

The final Goodbye is this story is from his co-anchor.  At [3:39], she speaks about looking up to Ernie.  I found this great shot of Ernie looking confident.

Just trying to do my best in this story.

At [3:55], I decided to add this part with her co-anchor and weatherman.  They are wondering if he’s gone yet.  Here is the final shot in the piece.

Can you have a better closing shot than this?

This was the best goodbye talent piece I ever did.  Why?   I applied the logic of editing I would use daily.  I thought all those moments splitting up all the talent soundbites really made this stand out from other goodbye talent pieces I’ve seen.

Thank you for continuing to read The Edit Foundry.

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Practice your craft of video editing within every story

This Route is Known for the Dogs is a story produced in every newsroom.

There is nothing special about this story.  It’s merely an opportunity to practice the craft of video editing.  This story is perfect for refining video editing skills.  The story was supposed to be a vo/sot.  The photographer gave it to me.  I wrote and produced a script, then sold the story to a producer.  Luckily she was light on this day and allowed the vo/sot to become a package.

  • The Beginning

The story starts on a tight shot of a mail truck back door opening.  I know the rules.  Start wide, go medium, and then go tight.  I understand why I’m breaking the rules (there really aren’t any rules, just guidelines).  I don’t think I need a wide shot of a post office.  I’m pretty sure the viewer gets it.

  • Match Action

Meticulous with match-action I am. (Yoda laugh).  Watch the shot at [:12].


The next shot [:13] is a match-cut.  Do I need to be this meticulous? Nope.  I am practicing my craft.  The next time I need to have a clean, tight match-cut, I’ll have practiced it with splendid execution.

  • Natural Sound
“I am loading up…(natural sound of her picking up crate)…my mail…(natural sound of her putting the crate in a truck)…for today.”

Why do I do this? The main reason is that she stumbles over her words in the sentence. By using the natural sound, I simply create a sentence that’s tighter and takes less time.

  • The Middle

Two pieces of natural sound transition her onto the mail route.  I had lots of videos, including a sequence of Lynn getting into her truck and driving away. I couldn’t figure out an efficient way to use it without it just being an extra sequence. I didn’t really need it.  Just because I have the sequence doesn’t mean I’m going to force it.

“Delivering the mail seems like a routine job.” “It’s not the easiest job, huh?”

This is a beautiful little moment, and I write into it.  It’s the little things that make the story fun. You’ll notice from here to the end of the story, the natural sound is simple. It’s easy to have a series of natural sound pops of Lynn putting mail into mailboxes. I avoid doing that for a few reasons, mainly because that’s not how your eyes would see if you were following here.  If you’re just practicing your craft, pretend your eyes are a camera.  How would your eyes see the event if you were actually there?

  • An Old Trick

At [:28] I use a shot of Lynn closing and locking the mail truck door with natural sound, then she says,

“Safety is really a big thing, too, with the post office.”

I then use the natural sound of her locking the mail truck door.

One-shot, two pieces of natural sound and a SOT.  This is an old trick.  Using the beginning sound and the ending sound of a shot and squeezing a SOT in-between those natural sounds. It’s quick and usually very easy to accomplish.  Just practicing the craft.

At [:32], did you hear that dog bark?  Subtle, wasn’t it.  I’m foreshadowing.  You’re gonna hear as much dog barking as I can put in without it overpowering the story. If you were with her, that’s what you would hear, right?

At [:44] is an interview, on paper it reads,

“Just one afternoon doing a normal delivery as I was walking, I noticed that the screen door was not fully shut and the dog just instantly came out and bit me.”

Now, look at the video and natural sound I use to break up the bite and make the story flow better. Natural sound can also be compared to a period. That sentence has a lot of information. By breaking up the sentence with the natural sound, it’s like breaking up a sentence into multiple sentences.

Also, at the end of that SOT at [:56], I milk the dog barking twice!  Again that simple idea of squeezing as much natural sound as possible from one shot.

At [1:03] I have a spokeswoman’s SOT, I cover the last portion of her SOT because I’m butting two SOTS together.

At [1:18], I bring Lynn back on camera.

The viewer knows who she is because she’s the primary person in the story.  It never hurts to bring people back on camera, especially if they say something meaningful or emotional.

  • Bring people back on camera if they say something emotional or essential.
“Yeah, it is a carrier’s worst fear to get bit by a dog.”

I’d say that’s both vital information and something with emotion.

At [1:29], I bring her back on camera again for the same reason.

“A lot of customers always say my dog’s not gonna bite.  And every carrier has heard that thousands of times, the dog will bite.”
  • The Ending

The last shot is the walking off into the sunset shot.  I bring the story to a close with a simple shot of her walking away, still doing her job.  I’m covering with a closing piece of sound, and I throw in one more dog barking.  No need to show the dog here.  If she were walking along, she wouldn’t necessarily see a dog barking; she would just hear it.

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