Tag Archives: Video Editing

It takes time to figure out how to use Music in Video Editing

I love using music.  I use music whenever I can.  I use it improperly.  I abuse the use of music.  I use the wrong type of music.  I force music into an edit just because.  You should be doing this too.  You read that right.  Force it, use the wrong music, use it as a bad.   Use music as much as you can.  It takes time to figure out how to really make music work for a story.  Pay attention to how you hear it in film, commercials, documentaries and television shows. When an edit adds music it can change so much about the feeling of a story.

Practice, mess up, practice, get it right, practice, change your mind about what you got right and what you messed up and then practice some more.  You’ll get it, but it’s going to take time.  Crafting a good edit is one thing, adding music and making it work for the edit is a whole other set of skills.

The story for this post is Journey of Hope Pt. 4

I won an Emmy for this documentary.  The journey of Hope is the story of a man with Parkinson’s disease.  Scott Orr decides to undergo life-changing brain surgery to help control the tremors associated with Parkinson’s.  I’m just going to use part 4 for this post.

When I edited this documentary I worked where real music is allowed.   I used the soundtrack to Erin Brockovich.  This is the only soundtrack I used for the entire documentary.  By using the same music from the same source and same composer the entire documentary felt connected.

Don’t have the ability to use real music?  Search HARD through your library to find music that works.  I edited another documentary for the Discovery Channel called After Obesity, The Final Cut

I found a disc with music from one composer that had an extremely similar feel to the Erin Brockovich soundtrack.  I created a feel for this documentary as well as using one composer.

If you can use popular music I recommend using something that’s not too mainstream or current.  I’ll use popular music that you don’t recognize immediately.  The reason I do this is music usually attaches itself to people on some emotional level.  I don’t want people to come into one of my stories with a pre-convinced emotion.  I want them to gain their own emotional attachment to my story.

  • Music can help the pace of a story
  • Music can add an emotional draw
  • Music can help reveal a moment in a story
  • Music can help with transitions between story elements

The journey of Hope Part 4  begins with music up full.  It’s rather serious in tone.  My music selection is helping set the tone in this section of the story.

This section of the documentary begins on a medium shot of the operating room.

The next shot is that of Dr. McVicker [:04] looking down seriously.

At [:07] the narration begins, We all know in life there are risks.  That’s followed by a soundbite by Dr. Kumar asking Scott a question.  The combination of music and selected soundbites gives the viewer a sense of something wrong during the surgery.  So at this point, the music is the establish-er of the mood and the soundbites and narration are secondary.  I keep the music volume low so you can hear the narration and soundbites.  How low you ask?  Each story you edit will be different.  There is no magical number that will work.  You really have to understand the logic of audio.  

Let’s continue with the post.  

The music stays low until [:24]. The narration is When something appeared terribly wrong.

It’s at this point when you see Scott open his eyes and look to his right.

The music comes up full and I let the shot breathe letting the viewers understand the gravity of the moment.  It’s just a small moment.  It’s a reinforcement moment.  A moment to grasp the possible seriousness of everything that’s come so far.

Now listen closely.  From [:34] to [:38] the music fade down.  It’s very subtle and takes a full 4 seconds to fade away. The moment has passed. The minor scare is no longer an issue.  I want the music to fade away, but I don’t want the viewer to notice it fading away.  I want them to just focus on the story.

At [1:20] I cut out of the operating room and into the waiting room.

 

A few emotional moments are about to happen.  Earlier I used the music to set the tone.  Now I’m going to do the opposite.  The soundbites and emotion in the frameset the tone.  The music just supports it.  Everyone is happy the surgery went well.  These are positive soundbites.  I call this a feeling of relief.  Everyone’s relieved the surgery went well.  The music helps convey everyone’s sense of relief.

At [1:24] the music starts midway through Scott’s fathers’ soundbite.  I’m using the soundbite to help bury the start of the music.  You don’t really realize the music is there right away.  The less the viewer notices the better editor you are.

I carry the ‘relief’ music underneath this whole section of Scott’s parents, his wife, and his best friend in the waiting room.

At [1:44] I bring the music up full.

There is a shot of Scott lying there calm. I’ll bet he’s relieved the surgery went well too.  I’m conveying that feeling.

 

At [1:43] I bring the music up full to [1:45]. There are two shots.  One of Scott’s head and one of his hand.  His hand isn’t moving.  That shot is the reason for the entire surgery.  The tremors have stopped. Very poignant moment don’t you think?  Guess what?  Music full and a moment for the viewer to take it in.

If you are not familiar with Parkinson’s Disease, go here for a good explanation.

At [1:57] to [1:59] the music ends with a small moment.  That part of the story ends as well. Coincidence?  No.  I back timed the music to end right there.

  • I use music to help tell the viewer to understand that this is the end of this part of the story.

I’ve used two different pieces of music now. I’m not using it constantly.  I’m only trying to use it when I want to help reinforce the emotion of the moment.  The most important aspect of using music maybe when you don’t use it.  I don’t use music again until [2:53]

At [2:52] Scott’s about to test the Pacemaker for the Brain he’s had implanted to help control the trembling in his hand.

  • This is the reason for the surgery.
  • It’s a very important moment in the story.

Well based on those two bullets points and everything I’ve done so far with the story It says time for some more music.  I chose something light and not overpowering.  I start the music up first and then the scene’s narration.

At [3:07] is the first time Scott sees his hand not tremble after the activation of the Pacemaker for the brain.

I let the shot breath with the music up.  Again, I’m allowing the viewer to take at the moment for just a little bit longer.

At [3:18] I let the music come up again.  Scott says, “Wow, haven’t seen that in a long time.”

Another moment I want to just let breath for an extra second.

  • Each time a moment or something poignant is said or seen music comes up full in this section of the documentary.

At [3:25] Scott twitches his fingers as he’s looking down.  I let that moment breath as well.  It’s also the end of that piece of music.  Again, I’m telling the viewer that’s the end of this part of the story.    Again I back-time the music so the score ends right as this section of the story ends.

At [3:50] I start the music up again.  You have to listen very closely.  I bring it up subtly.  As you can hear I like to bring up music subtly.

  • I don’t like music all of a sudden there.

At [4:09] I bring the music up full again. The narration is, There is no cure for Parkinson’s or it’s symptoms.

It’s not a moment but it’s a poignant statement.  I decide to bring up the music because is poignant.

At [4:26] I change the music.  They are about to take the go-kart on the track  I wanted something upbeat and fun but something that still fit with the rest of the music.  I use this piece of music for the rest of the story.

At [4:54] the music ends as our story ends.  Again, I back timed the music to make this happen.

I hardly ever use the music as it was originally constructed. I’ll use bit and pieces and rework the music to fit my story.  I strive hard to make cuts the viewer won’t notice.

So, I may use the beginning of a piece of music, cut to the middle piece I like to bring up full, then make another cut to help with my back timing to the end.

Thanks for continuing to read The Edit Foundry.  Don’t forget to like The Edit Foundry on Facebook and follow me on Twitter @shawnmontano

 

The Why of My Simple Motion Effects in Video Editing

A motion effect changes the size, shape, opacity, duration, the position of your video, image, text or graphic in your projects.  Motions effects are easy.  I’m not going to explain the how of motion effects.  I’m going to explain why.

Our story for this post is We haven’t heard that word in forever.

The first shot [:00] is Garrett shooting a basketball around in an empty gym.

There is a slow zoom.  The photographer didn’t shoot that, I did that in post.  I want to pull you into the story visually and symbolically.  I change the scale from 100% at the start of the clip to 130%.  130% of the original resolution is about the maximum I scale video.  Beyond 130% your video starts getting blurry.

The next shot [:07] is of the scoreboard.

I start the scale at 125% and create a slow zoom to 100% scale.  The speed is 75%.  The shot is blurry.  I like the way the light coming from the scoreboard blends with the silhouette shot of garret playing basketball.  The cross-dissolve between the two shots is 4 seconds.

The next shot [:11] is a super-tight shot of the scoreboard rotated -30 degrees.

At 130% scale and scaled it back to 100%.  I copy and paste the motion attributes from the previous motion effect to save time.

You should think backward when you’re creating a motion effect.  Think about what you want the effect to be at the end of the clip. Do you want to zoom in, zoom out, change the duration?  In each of these cases, I think about the last frame before I decide what to do with the first frame of the clip.

The next time I do a motion effect [:27] is between George Carl’s sound bites.

I change the speed of this clip.  The real reason, the shot doesn’t last as long as I want it, so I slow down the speed to 50%.

Ok, back to Garret playing basketball and back to me with a slow zoom [:55].  I’m just trying to pull you into the story.  I don’t want it to be always so obvious I’m doing this.

Scale from 100% to 115%.  It’s subtle.  The viewer barely notices it.

Another scaling from 100% to 120% [1:31]

Another subtle scaling from 100% to 120% on this interview [1:42]

I like zooming in on moments of emotion or revelation in soundbites.

This story is video light. I didn’t have much time to work on it either.  I use what I have and get creative when needed. The reporter talks about the doctor’s office; the video I don’t have.  So, I change the speed of this video to 33%.

I know where I want my shot to end, right when the camera is up close in his face.

I want the shot to start right as the camera stabilizes and the photographer is just past his light stands in the shot.  Using fit to fill it calculates 33% speed.

The next shot, same logic.

I know I want to end when the camera is in focus.  I know I want to start while the shot is still blurry.  I fit to fill for a 50% velocity.

Many times in editing I think about where the shot ends more than where the shot starts.

These motion effects that are quick and easy.  Great to use when under a deadline and you have a 4 minutes plus story to keep the viewer engaged in.

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Match Cuts and Hiding The Edits

You see match cuts all the time;  movies, television shows, and commercials contain match cuts.

Take this Heineken commercial for example

At [:13] you see match cut of the gentlemen in pink juggling the beer in glasses.

At [:18] is a match cut of the gentlemen throwing beer bottles from the stage to the men on the couch.

At [:27] is a match cut of a man serving beer balancing a glass on his chin.

Match cuts are an edit that connects two shots together via the action within the two shots.  Editors who are meticulous with match action understand how edits work.

The idea is to edit to shots together using the action within the shot.  Having movement in both shots, editing on that movement hides the edit.

In the commercial you see
The action continues in two uniquely composed shots
• It appears as if the shots are done with two different cameras rolling at the same time

• It’s an easy way to create a very clean looking sequence
• The match cut edit hides that there is, in fact, an edit
Editing two shots together on a movement will often make the edit invisible.  Good edits are invisible edits.  Good edits are edits your audience doesn’t notice.
Our story for this post is Michaela.

There a lot of match action in this story. I mean a ton.  I mean…well you get the point.

The beginning of the story is a sequence of Michaela and her mom in the kitchen.  Within that sequence I use match cut from the shot of Michaela tight at [:11]

to the wide shot of her and her mom in the kitchen.

Match cuts make edits very smooth.  Match cuts are not always made with a person, you can use an item.

In this next example, you see Michaela lifting the weights and then begin to put them down.  She doesn’t complete the action of the weights going to the ground in this shot.

In the next shot, you see the weights land on the ground completing the action.

When the barbell leaves the frame your eye naturally dropdown.  Your eye expects to see the barbell hit the floor.  The match cut is very natural.

Here is another match cut beginning with the barbell on the ground and then Michaela picks it up.

I make an edit while the barbell is moving up and out of frame.  The next shot you don’t see the barbell right away.  You do see Michaela coming up and then the barbell.  So the action completes in the second shot of the sequence.

It looks like what you would see if you were in the room with her.  This is one of the tools to help take your audience to your story.  When Michaela drops the barbell I again have a match action shot at [:38].

This is a simple three-shot sequence with match cuts connecting each shot together.

Here is another three-shot sequence with each edit connected with match action [:42].

Michaela comes up a machine, takes the weight and does a squat.

Starting at [1:22]  my match cuts go into overdrive.  Can you tell how much I like match cutting?

I try to use Michaela’s movement of starting and stopping points for my edits. Here’s another one at [1:44]

Michaela’s entire family is at the weight-lifting competition. From [1:41] to [2:03] is all match action except for one cutaway of Michaela’s mom.
I had a lot of fun putting this story together.  I had even more for honing my match cut editing abilities.

The Beginnings of Video Editing

Forgive me if you know what video editing is. This post is to those just beginning their journey or those that need a refresher.

Classes all over the country have begun teaching your eventual replacements.  On September 2nd, 2014 my students at Emily Griffith Technical College begin their journey into video editing.  On Tuesdays, for the next 15 weeks, they’ll learn the theory and technique of video editing.

They’ll learn how to tell a story from me.

I spent the last 17 years of my life trying to learn everything I know about video editing;

  • in broadcast news environments (6 different newsrooms)
  • at post-production houses editing documentaries and television series.
  • editing entertainment shows.
  • freelancing in the corporate world producing small business profiles, documentaries, training videos

Every situation I try to learn from.  Every edit I try to take a moment to understand what I did and how I can learn from that edit.  You’ve got to keep learning.  Why?  Those replacements are coming and they are hungry for opportunities in the workforce. My students will learn everything I can fit into their minds including the origins of video editing.  I’m here for you t0o my good friend.  I’m still learning.  Sometimes I learn a lot by simply refreshing what I already know.

All you have to do is ead and lear.

One of the first films ever created is Round Hay Garden Scene (1888).

 

Some may argue that Horse in Motion (1878) was the first film. That film was accomplished using multiple cameras. These were still photographs assembled into a motion picture. They used 24 cameras to capture this.

Actual motion picture cameras weren’t developed until the 1880s. That is when the camera started capturing all the single images on one reel. As this time there was no editing. Each film ran as long as there was a film to roll.

Filmmakers often would shoot and just stop the crank of the camera when they felt they completed capturing that scene. Then they would reset for the next shot and start cranking again when the next scene was ready. You could say this was the beginning of editing. It was editing in the camera so there still was no manipulation of the reel.

It wasn’t until the 1900s that editing really began.  Did you know that one of the very first reasons for editing is that studios wanted films to be longer? They wanted multiple film reels compiled into one continuous movie. After that revelation, they started putting images together to try and tell a story.

One of the very first films that not only combined reels but began to develop some rules (or guidelines as I prefer) for video editing is The Great Train Robbery (1903)

Watch this movie and realize

  • There is action/movement in every scene
  • They maintain screen direction (except for one edit)
  • There is sequencing
  • Each edit advances the story
  • There is an effort made in pacing/rhythm
  • Editing hasn’t changed much in over 100 years.

 

You Better Know Your Trim Tools for Video Editing

I’ve been editing on non-linear systems for 15 years.  With each passing year and each new NLE, I learn, I’m happy to say I’m still learning.

One of the tools that took me a while to really grasp was the trim tools.  In fact, it wasn’t until I had to learn Final Cut Pro about 10 years ago that I truly started to appreciate the power of the trim.

A few years ago when I had to learn Premiere Pro. I once again spent extra time understanding the power of the trim tools.  I don’t care which NLE you’re on.  You better have an excellent grasp of trimming.

I think this is THE MOST important set of tools on an NLE.

I use the trim tools daily, hourly, probably many times a minute.  The trim tools make an editor’s life easier.  Trimming is like the way you put on your car.

Sure you washed it and it looks good.  To get that extra shine without doing any more washing you put the polish on.

Trimming is polishing your edits.

I think trimming is one of the hardest concepts to grasp when you’re learning about editing.  I still get frustrated.  With my frustration comes education.

What is trimming?  I took this definition from Final Cut Pro HD Hands-On Training by Larry Jordan.

“Trimming is the process of removing, or adding, frames to the beginning and end of your shots so that the edits flow naturally, maintaining your story, without calling attention to your editing.”

So why should you trim?  What’s a great benefit?  These are the tools that make your edits better and it’s quick.  Eventually, it’ll make you better.

I’m going to speak about trimming in general and why and how.  I currently edit exclusively on Premiere Pro where I work and where I teach.

I used to edit on a non-linear system very linear-ly.  Meaning I would mark an in and an out and place it into the timeline.  If I didn’t like the edit I would undo and reset mine in and out.  That’s a waste of time.  The material you want is already down in the timeline.
Once you place clips onto the timeline, you should never go back to the preview window or re-load the clip ever.

If you don’t like the In, then trim it.

The tool I used the most is extending edit (In Final Cut Pro 7).

I’ll use the story, Swinging on the Trapeze on my YouTube site to show you how I utilized some trim tools in the edit.

This is a story I edited on Final Cut Pro 7.  The images are from that edit, but the concepts still apply.

At [:21] into the story you hear the beginning of a sentence from the gentlemen helping Kellie with the harness.  He says “It’s gonna be…, then I show him.

I place the edit of Kellie and the gentlemen down on the timeline.  I then ripple the video of the woman on the trapeze just over this new edit.  I made a J cut (Whoohoo!).

Simply select the edit you want to extend.  In this case the end of the clip that has the woman on the trapeze (ONLY THE VIDEO).

In Premiere Pro I love I can just hold down the option key and I can select just one track (basically unlinking a video and audio track)

At [:35] I make another J cut.  You see other women on the trapeze.

And you hear Kellie say, “So this’ll keep..”  and then I cut to Kellie after that.

Between these two shots, I select the edit.  I select the rolling tool and drag that edit forward to where I want it to be.

At [2:06] is a match-action sequence of Kellie swinging on the trapeze.

The 2nd shot in the sequence is Kellie swinging from the platform and then all the way back to the platform.  I’m confident the action is matched here.  But maybe I want to tweak it a few frames.  I like my duration of the clip (two seconds) I’ve laid down.  I want to slip it a few frames.

Meaning I’m going to change the in and the out with one tool.  I’m going to zoom in to the clip on the timeline,  select the slip tool, and drag the clip forward and backward until I like my new in and out point while maintaining my duration.

The Slip tool works great for a situation like this.  Trying to help with your match-action in a sequence.

Slip, roll, extend edits are the easiest I think to try and explain.  A ripple while isn’t any more complicated, It’ just a hard to explain in a blog.

What do I want you to learn from this entry?  The next time your editing and you want to change something, use a trim tool.  Sometimes just playing around with the trim tools are your best way of learning.  I still discover new uses for each trim tool everyday.

Play and learn.

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Imitate The Eye

I first heard the phrase, imitate the eye, from Lou Davis.  Lou is a photojournalist in North Carolina.  “Capture the world as your eye sees it,” he’d say.  I’ve taken this and applied it to my everyday editing.

When you are at an event.  What does your eye focus on?  Put those same shots together on the timeline.  You’re now basically editing via imitating the eye.

Please watch Run Fast, Shoot Slow.  This is a natural sound video I edited several years ago.

Let’s start with the opening sequence. I’m trying to make edits as close to the action as possible.  So, a gun is shot and it recoils immediately. Like in the edit at [:12]

>

and the edit at [:15]

Notice I don’t sit on the shot for more than a few frames before the action happens.  Once the action happens, I move on to another shot.  I’m attempting to imitate the eye as best as I can. I still need the viewer to comprehend the shot.  If you were there at the shooting range your eye would probably move faster.

Would your eye capture everything from the beginning?  You would catch several things in mid-action.  Just like many of my edits.  Go back and look at my edits from [:10] to [:16].

Notice some of the shots the action of the gun being fired has already begun.  Imagine if you were there.  Wouldn’t your eye ping-pong around the shooting range just like that?  Q

Please watch the story again and notice just how often I take an edit right on an action of just after the action has started.

Here are a few examples;

at [:17] the car door is already opening.

at [:27] running onto the firing range.

at [:41] going over the obstacle course.

The shot at [:47] I start the edit well after the participants have started running.  If you were on top of the hill watching this is where you head my turn and pick up the action.

 

Not every edit in this story follows the imitate the eye concept.  I still have to tell the story.  I do back-time natural sound moments and I’m going back and forth with the interview and there are a lot of other elements to the edit.  For this post I just wanted you to pay attention to your eyes the next time you are out shooting.  When you come back to edit try thinking about this concept.

 

Thank you for reading.

 

 

She’s nervous. As an editor it’s my job to help convey that in the edit.

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 convey how Kellie was feeling as she went into a shark-tank with sharks.

The story for this post is We’re Going into Their World on my Youtube page

This is from the ‘Extreme Kellie’ series I produced for KWGN. In this story, Kellie MacMullan (now DeMarco) takes a dive with sharks at The Aquarium in downtown Denver.

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 is 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. Its 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 shot 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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It Went Viral! But did the editing help?

In my post-news career in the freelance world I do many different types of productions.  I do corporate videos, presentations, music videos, business profiles and much more.  The rules of editing I learned in my news career I still apply as often as I can when I produce material today.

This productions went viral.  This Ignite talk by Ash Beckham is the #1 Ignite talk viewed ever on Youtube.  It’s been viewed over 550,000 times!

My editing had nothing to do with this video going viral.  The content drove it to be viewed by so many.  I do think my editing helped in the viewing and understanding of the content.  Yes, there is logic in editing this video.

If you are familiar with Walter Murch you know about blink points.  If you’re not allow me to explain.  When you listen to someone talking to you your blinks may in fact coincide with your understanding of the information.  You quite often blink when you’re brain has processed some information.

Walter Murch has a theory that the human blink is an emotional punctuation.  Murch found that nearly every single time he decided to make a cut, a character in a movie he was editing would blink very close to the frame he chose to make an edit on.  He concluded a person will blink every time they understand a thought or emotion.
“So it seems to me,” Murch says, “that our rate of blinking is somehow geared more to our emotional state and to the nature and frequency of our thoughts than to the atmospheric environment we happen to find ourselves in.  The blink is either something that helps an internal separation of thought to take place, or it is an involuntary reflex accompanying the mental separation that is taking place anyway.”

As I was editing the Ignite Boulder presentations I used this ideal.  The first sentence Ash says is “My name is Ash and I can say unequivocally I am so gay.”  and right after she completes that thought I make an edit.

>Screen Shot 2013-03-08 at 1.46.43 PMW

I put her graphic on the screen full and she says “… eliminating the word gay as a pejorative from our lexicon.” She completes the thought, and I make an edit.

I am using her completions of thoughts to make edit decisions.  I’m not using her complete sentences.  Quite often you see multiple edits make before she completes a sentence.  Now I will sometimes use other cues to make my decision.  Perhaps I make a decision because I want cut to the full screen graphic because she talking about it.  For the most part in this edit I used what I felt were thought completions. Here’s an example.

Explain to you the difference of what I just said and what this image conveys (CUT).  Now you may be saying Ash we live in Boulder we love gays here, (CUT) we have pride, we have BCAP all true, (CUT) but I guarantee you there are places you go every day (CUT).

As you can see I’m not waiting for her to complete a sentence but a thought.  Watch the entire video and really concentrate on when she makes a complete thought.  Watch how often I have an edit at that same moment.

Here is another example in the edit when I use blink points.  At [1:38] she says

“The top row they’ve all come out, (CUT) now the bottom row we cross our fingers but (CUT) until they do, their cartoons and muppets so at the very least they’re happy (CUT).  Now there is a long list of things that you should never call so gay (CUT), an assignment you don’t wanna do is not so gay(CUT).  Someone’s new haircut is not so gay (CUT). A workout you don’t like is no so gay (CUT).  A test that you bombed is not so gay (CUT).  Someone’s car is not so gay (CUT).   Now again I may be preaching to the Boulder loving gay choir (CUT).”

Blinks point can be used in ANY type of edit.  Blink points should be used in EVERY edit.  Next time your stuck with where to make an edit, think about blink points.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

In Deadline Video Editing I’m constantly thinking Wide, Medium, Tight and Match Action

This story led my 2011 National Press Photographers Association Television Video Editor of the Year entry.

I’m honored to receive this award for the 4th time in my career.  There are teachable moments in every story.

Gratitude is a Common Denominator is the story to watch for this post.


This is a one hour edit.

Here are some tips for editing under deadline.

  • Lay down all your narration to the timeline
  • Create a raw sequence
  • Lay down all your SOTS to the timeline
  • Lay down as many natural sound breaks and you are aware of (more on this later)
  • Don’t worry about these edits being clean just yet

The first thing I do is lay down the narration in it’s entirety.  I DO NOT place narration in the preview window.  I load straight to the timeline.  I’ll go through the narration and delete what I need to, meaning I delete the 3,2,1s and the pauses, etc.

Next I place my SOTS in the preview window.  I mark ins and outs and drop to to the timeline.  I’m editing for speed and I know I’m going to trim and clean up final edit as I go so I’m not entirely worried about clean mark Ins and Outs. I just want to get them down on the timeline.

Next I’ll place as many natural sound breaks into the timeline as I immediately know.   Did I look at the video first?  Did the writer note natural sound moments?  Are there obvious ones?  I don’t waste time searching for natural sound breaks now.  As I scroll through the video I know I’ll find more.

I start with a tight shot.

Everyone knows the red bucket.  When you see money going into the red bucket and the sound of bells, your mind immediately evokes the memory of A Salvation Army volunteer.  Good natural sound selection is a great way to put the viewer’s mind into the subject matter.

  • Good natural sound selection is a great way to put the viewer mind into the subject matter

The next 3 shots are of musicians playing Christmas carols with natural sound.

I’ve established the story, what its about, and set the mood in 4 seconds.  Pacing is often a very hard thing to set up early.  Often stories start fast and then slow down or do just the opposite.  When I’m under deadline, I like to discover my pace as early as possible.  I’m also going to go back to these gentlemen playing at the end.  This is my bookends to this story.  If you can find some element of a story and place it in the beginning of the story and have enough video and the ability to return to that element it’s a great and easy way to bookend you story.

At [:06] into the story I establish my central character with a visual introduction as well as natural sound of him saying “Here we go, help Salvation Army right here.”

Another thing I am constantly thinking about is my shot selection.  I like to keep up the variety.  The next shot in the story at [:10] is a tight shot.

In deadline mode I can’t always pick the optimum shot.  I constantly think wide, medium, tight.

  • In deadline mode I’m constantly thinking wide, medium, tight

If your thinking shot variety along the way it will eliminate problems as you edit.

Another element of editing I have constantly on my mind is match action.

Notice in the next three edits-I start wide here,

then a medium shot taking the edit right as he turns his head (trying to hide the edit).

Follow by a wide shot starting the edit right on his movement (again trying to hide the edit).

 

Notice how often I use his head movements to help me with selection edit points.  It’s a great trick to keep in your back pocket to help keeps edits clean and hide the edit.

I’m very proud of this deadline edit.  It’s simple and clean.  However I do want to point out two things that bugged me.  I simply ran out of time to change/fix before it aired.

The first one is here.

Notice that gentlemen looking at the camera?  So did I but not until it was too late.  When someone acknowledges the awareness of a camera it’s called breaking the 4th wall.  You don’t want the viewer aware this is a story being recorded.  You just want them to watch with no conscious elements to make them realize anything other than that.  Well, this gentlemen looking at the camera and then moving out of the way is a distraction to the story.  I would suggest you avoid this as much as possible.  Silly me!

The other one is at [1:14]

My photographer was hand held at this point.  The camera shakes.  It subtle but still noticeable.  You want to do everything you can to keep the viewer from realizing their watching something being captured on a camera.  Camera shake is one of them.

Movement in Every Edit (well almost every edit) in Video Editing

I’m a fan of movement.  You should be a fan of movement.  I like to have as much movement in a story as possibly.  Often, I base my edit decisions on movement.  If I’m choosing between two shots, I’ll choose motion over a better composed shot with no action happening in the shot.  We are a visual medium.  Give your viewer as much to look at as they possibly can handle.  Our story for this post is It’s Bad.


This is a spot news story edited in about an hour.  There are practices you can learn here and apply to any edit. The idea of motion isn’t a new one.    Next time you are editing a story, think about the exact frame you are choosing as your In point and the motion in that edit.

There are a lot of static shots.  The standard video for stories like these is;

crime tape,

paramedics working,


cops observing,


and spectators watching.


We know what the video is going to be like in any type of story like this. So often in stories like these I see edits chosen with nothing going on.  In this story there are only 6 shots I choose where there is no movement.

Pay particular attention to the next few shots and what I choose as the In point.

:07 – I wait until the S.W.A.T member puts on his helmet

:08 – I wait until another S.W.A.T member move his head

:09 – I wait until the Police Officer takes a step

:11 – I wait until just before you see many S.W.A.T members moving forward

I’m trying to keep the story moving.  This may sound obvious, but watch a newscast.  Look at how often there is a shot and nothing is going on.  I strive to have something going on in as much shots a possible.  Even little things like;

:15 – the Crime tape blowing in the wind,

:20 – cops walking from frame right to frame left,

:38 – and officer’s arm moving in the left hand corner of screen,

I’m waiting for something to happen in the shot before I set my In point.

Watch It’s Bad again.  Now that you know what to look for, notice how much all the little things like a little movement adds to the story.  Next time you edit a story like this think about it

  • Think about what’s in the shot
  • Is there something going on you can show instead of just a static shot
  • Wait for something to happen and then set your IN point