Top 5 Video Editing Tips
Posted on 03/03/2016
At times, video editing can be stressful, here are 5 top tips to help you improve your edits.
5. The J-Cut
A J-cut refers the shape of the letter J, where the lower part of that letter form goes further left than the top section. What this means in an edit is having the audio from the incoming clip play before actually seeing the video it corresponds to. Here’s what I mean:
Don’t overdo it, as a second or two works fine. Mentally this feels very natural because in real life when a noise occurs, we often turn and look to see what that noise was. In editing terms, that means we hear something slightly before we see it, making a mental “cut” with our eyes from the original thing we were looking at to turn and see this new thing that is creating audio. Pay close attention next time you watch a suspense thriller, and you’ll notice this type of edit happens all of the time.
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4. Get Critiques
Have your friends watch and critique your video. You may think your video is done and perfect but sometimes we get so closely attached to our projects that we miss small things that should be changed. Having a friend or colleague watch your video and give you notes is a great way to improve your final product. Be open to any criticism they may have. I know this is hard. I’m a stubborn person in general and having to listen to someone else critique my projects is sometimes very hard. But I know it is always for the best. You don’t have to take everyone’s notes and make changes. But having them is better than not.
If you think about it, this is how all businesses are run. Ice cream makers don’t just send out new flavors without testing them and having many other people test them. This goes for major films too. After any Hollywood film is finished, they usually do screenings for private audiences to give feedback. This is crucial for production companies who want to make a great film for their target audience. Sometimes entire scenes can be cut out or endings can be changed because of these screenings.
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3. Temp Music
Many editors like working with temporary music as a placeholder. I advise against this for two reasons. First – people tend to fall in love with the temp score and then it’s hard to get real music that feels as good. Second – temp music becomes a crutch. You tend to be more forgiving of a weak scene when there’s interesting music than when the scene is naked. I prefer to cut a strong scene and make it work through editorial solutions. If a scene can stand on its own, then the addition of sound effects and a score will make it that much better. The exception is a visual montage set to music. Here, I tend to do better when I’m cutting to music rather than the other way around.
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2. Tell The Story
Most importantly, always tell a story when you are editing. Keep in mind the basics of storytelling: beginning, middle, end.
Editors – as a profession – are some of the best storytellers out there. Without them, you would have a collection of random shots with nothing to tie them together. They provide the structure for the finished video, and the best ones are some of the highest-paid workers in the film industry.
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1. Organize Footage
Organization is extremely important, much more important than you might think. With today’s huge hard drives and your own ambitious creativity, you can easily be working with hundreds of media files (video, audio and stills), even on a short project. As I go through my source footage, I organize all my clips into bins with keywords (for searching) and I use the color codes and the “good” check box option that Final Cut Pro has put in its Browser window. All advanced editing programs come with some sort of organizing tools and you would do well to check them out. When you want to find that great quote buried in 30 hours of raw footage, you’ll be happy you took the time to use them.
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