Video Editing –
Know what you are getting into
Just recently, I came across several online articles which implied that editing is easy and that anyone can do it.
That is true in the same way that you might say driving is easy and anyone can do it. All you need is a vehicle and an ignition key right?
Editing at its most basic form is a very simple concept; after all it’s just cutting and joining clips together. It’s through this process that your footage transitions from a collection of shots to the final story.
Good editing, however, is not such a simple concept. It doesn’t matter how visually stunning your individual shots are, poor editing will result in a mess of a final film.
In other words, you can add music, graphics, funky transitions, effects, whatever, but if there is no visual flow, your video will be very jarring, if not unwatchable.
For this reason, there are some very important rules for editors to follow; some you learn, some you know instinctively, but all are key to a great video.
Occasionally these rules can be bent or even broken (to achieve a desired effect), but generally they are the result of decades of editing evolution and only a fool would ignore them.
“Editing well, however, is not a simple concept. It doesn’t matter how visually stunning your individual shots are, poor editing will result in a mess of a final film.”
What I’m saying, I guess, is that although in theory anyone can edit, the myth that all you need is a computer, an editing suite and some footage is extremely misleading.
I began editing after spending a week in an editing studio watching someone glide around a ridiculously complicated looking piece of software. I had no idea what he was doing or how he was doing it, but gradually our footage turned into the film we wanted it to be.
So intrigued was I, that I went home, downloaded my first editing software and attempted to play around with the clips myself. You know what? I didn’t have a clue what I was even looking at.
For starters it wasn’t the same software as our editor had been using; the layout was completely different. I didn’t know where to start.
After eventually working out how to add my footage, I subsequently set about reorganising the folders on my hard drive where I kept the footage as it was a bit chaotic. I consequently became aware of “Media Offline” messages!
If that means nothing to you, that’s exactly my point. You need a lot more than a computer, an editing suite and some footage.
You need a certain knowledge base, access to forums, a suitable filing system, a decent computer spec, and, perhaps most importantly, the patience to persevere, learn from your mistakes, and understand your errors.
Ideally, you also need a good balance of creativity and pragmatism; too little of the former and your film will be dull, stagnant, bland; too little of the latter and it will be all over the place.
This post is in no way intended to put someone off having a go, rather it is intended as a “know what you’re getting into” message.
From start to finish, the editing process is a wonderful journey; it could almost be a movie in itself. It has a protagonist (the editor), many potential antagonists (internet connection, computer spec, deadlines, directors, producers), many obstacles to overcome, lots of learning curves, and ultimately a great ending.
So if you want to give it a try, enjoy it. On the other hand, if you want a great finished product, I strongly recommend you hand it over to the professionals…or in our case, Alan.