film and video makers who involve themselves in the editing process
for the first time often find themselves faced with the sudden realisation that
`if you didn't shoot it, you can't use it!'
By the editing stage it's a bit too late to start going out and shooting
scenes you didn't get the first time round - so: make sure you work from a shooting script (a list of ALL needed shots) mark off successful takes! shoot what you need, might need, perhaps could need but certainly not what you don't need - you're going to have to go through all of your footage in the editing process and the more excess footage you have, the more time it will take!.
have all your material together when you're ready to edit!
Editing, with today's tools, isn't a major feat demanding great artistic
talent or technological expertise. All you need to do is cut and paste
a few scenes together to construct a lucid story – just as you would
with a word processor.However, it helps
if you have a perceivable beginning, a revelatory middle and a conclusive
ending. it's also a great help if you have good pictures to work
with, and you learn a little of the poetry of editing so you don't
leave the odd scene lingering on screen for too long, or too short
for the viewer's pleasure.
On the other hand, it can be a Herculean task to edit a bunch of badly
shot, incompletely staged scenes together in order to make a sensible
sequence that not only has a beginning, a middle and an end, but can
go further and maintain the fragile illusion that the material was
shot and edited by a professional. So, before
- decide the pacing of the video, and its style of presentation. work out a time frame to complete the edit in.
- work to a comprehensive storyboard or script.
the rise of affordable, powerful nle's (non-linear editing) systems, it
is almost impossible to give any practical technical advice. Nor
is it easy to suggest which system / software is the best since nle's are still developing with new systems / software being introduced
constantly. Nor has there been a 'right time' to buy - what's new
today is obsolete tomorrow. Fortunately, there are now numerous off the shelf systems
available which will provide reliable, and quite sophisticated results
for a reasonable outlay. As a
very rough guide to system basics you will need a minimum of:·
a minimum of two seperate hard drives, one for the system (250gb should suffice) and 500gb upwards for video storage (additiona external hard drives, such as usb3 portables are also adequate for video work nowadays)
as powerful a cpu as you can afford - an i7 being the minimum for hd work
as powerful a gpu as you can afford - with at least 4gb of on board ram
a minimum of 8gb system ram
a robust operating system, windows 7 or better or mac
at least a 27" monitor (eye strain is a major problem with most video
and remember, should you have problems - DON'T
a. if your system was working in the first place, it will work again!
b. most 'problems' can be traced to user malfunction!
c. answers can usually be found by googling, or if you're more serious, joining any of the numerous forums devoted to editing software / hardware (if you come across the acronym RTFM in a reply - it means read
the f**king manual.)
In its purest form editing
is simply changing from one picture or scene to another. In movie and television
programs most scenes change very simply, ie., they CUT from one scene to another.
Another commonly used effect is a dissolve, where one scene merges (dissolves / crossfades)
in to the next.
There are now near limitless, and sometimes highly complex
looking, effects available in even the most simple nle programs.
However, these effects should be used sparingly and in context - used
improperly they simple make your program look amateurish and cheap.
watching television will give you a good idea as to what to do, and
what not to do. Documentaries will teach you that showing a talking
head for half an hour is not going to capture your audiences attention.
Adverts loaded with special effects usually sell cheap products. And,
if you have a story to tell, a product to sell, or an idea to convey,
do just that, and do it as simply as possible.This
is a list of possible things a video might include:
- titles - to identify people, places, thingsnarration - to tell a story, explain the vision, an idea, or to
inform or amusemusic and fx - to aid the flow, to add dramatic / relaxing effect
- credits - to inform people who was involved
edit the footage you shot will make the difference between an interesting
and entertaining video and a deadly boring one. As a beginner you
might have a lot of unusable footage - times where you forgot to
turn the camera off, out of focus shots, embarrassing views, wobble cam, etc.,
In editing you will simply get rid of the bad stuff and make a story
of the good stuff. It helps to work from a script, and study the
footage beforehand in order to choose the best scenes.
you start editing view your material thoroughly, making notes as to
what, and where scenes you may want to use in your program are. Logging of your tapes is all important regardless of which
editing system you use, because this edl (edit decision list), will
be the foundation of your finial video, whether you use the shots
therein or not.
Paper Edit:For those
without access to an editing system, or projects beyond their expertise,
or for clients with limited time to spend in the edit suite, the
'paper cut' (based on burnt in time code) provides the perfect
1. Working from a script / storyboard shoot your
2. Copy the original camera material to a dvd or low res video file
the camera's time code.
3. View and log the material, noting all the scenes
you are likely to use
4. Match the best takes (scenes you shot) to your
script / storyboard
5. Supply the editor with with the original camera files,
any graphics, photos, etc., you want included, recorded narration,
music, etc. and then start editing according to your edl (edit
decision list) – fine tuning as you go along