Video editing – where do you start?

So, the others have gone out and captured the footage, and let’s face it they will probably get all the glory. But editing is the last defence. You could take the same footage and give it separately to 3 different editors or more and come out with entirely different films with a different meaning and genre. Ideas of how things should be edited have adapted over time, however the fundamentals are still the same. Here are some points to help you out.

Pacing and tempo

The process of editing is about telling a story. You have a beginning, a middle and an end. If the edit is too fast the information will fly past and none of it will get absorbed – which isn’t great when you’re trying to tell people about your business or a new product/ idea. Equally – music plays a huge part. The right song needs to be chosen to reflect the pace of the edit, and quite often the music acts as a good guide to edit to the beat. However both these factors – pace and tempo, entirely depend on the style or genre of the film you’re making.

Never too much footage

It’s simple really. There is never too much footage. This means that you have multiple options of how to do things and directions you can go. Speaking about online video (corporate/ promotional/ testimonials), generally the pace is best kept quick to keep an audience engaged, as everyone has somewhere to be and a busy life to lead. With this in mind, if you were editing a testimonial or someone speaking on camera you’d want to cut out the ‘ums’ and ‘arrs’ which people often say without even realising. So other footage, and plenty of it, needs to be captured to cover mistakes and to keep the edit flowing.

Don’t forget about audio

A short film is as much about audio as it is about the visual. Think about it, (unless you’re in a vacuum or currently in space and somehow still surviving) there is always going to be some kind of sound. A film can be ruined by bad quality audio and can cause people to switch off and find something better. If its on-site audio that’s needed, make sure the filmmaker has suitable recording equipment for the job. If the sound is being added in post – ensure the voiceover is clean and not distracting with unwanted sound, and again choose the right soundtrack! If you’re making a silent film, then go back to 1900.

The last defence

As mentioned previously, editing is the last defence and however the footage was captured and whatever it currently looks like (whether that’s bad or good), it’s up to you to spot these before the film is released and shown to ‘the general public.’ Choosing the best take, and noticing that all the words are spelt correctly are things that people will look at and say, “Well that wasn’t edited together very well”. You’re the last person in the production line, so make sure you’re watching things in a scrutinous manner. Finally, if someone else is quality controlling it for you, then don’t get offended by corrections and constructive criticism. You’re a team and you’re working together to create the best possible video or product, so take the suggestions on board, try it with a smile – it works wonders.