Archives For video editing

Editing Lesson #1

December 23, 2012 — Leave a comment
 There are quite a few books/lessons out there that detail all the “rules” and “theories” of editing. Some of them you really can learn a few things from, but I have yet to find one that really details the more important parts.

Anyone can learn to push this button and enter this number, but learning how to make a complete composition is entirely different and takes a different type of lesson. I am striving to write some of those lessons now.

Step 1: Understanding Why

If you have any desire at all to learn to edit there is one major hurdle you need to climb first; understanding why.

I am talking about understanding why you edit. Why do you place this clip after the other, why does this audio work here and not somewhere else, and (most importantly) why you are even bothering to put this piece of work together in the first place.

Lets start with the 3rd part first, since it is the most important.

You are editing because you are a storyteller. You are out to use the tools in front of you to evoke emotion in other people. Monetary payment should always be less important than the satisfaction of knowing that what you created has given others some type of emotional reaction after they have watched/listened to it.

If you want to edit to make money, or to get your name out there for public recognition then you are wasting your time reading this because you will never have the drive necessary to become a great storyteller and as such you shouldn’t be an editor.

The 1st and 2nd part can really be answered in one word: flow.

It is all about how things flow in editing.

Keeping your story flowing is about starting on the right path. Think your story out before you actually start the process and even though it might change as you are working you will always have that “base path” to go back to and go full circle with.

Knowing how to make things flow is the hardest part about editing and storytelling in general. You can’t learn it from a book, you can just learn it from watching and imagining.

I always attribute my development in storytelling to how I would imagine making music videos to my favorite shows back in elementary and middle school. Over and over I would picture this piece in my head (always with a specific song) and each time I would refine it a little bit.

For some unknown reason that is how it worked for me.

For others it is watching and imitating (I did a lot of that too).

When you see a scene in a movie that you really like, break it down! Don’t just say that was really good, ask yourself WHY that was really good. Was it the music? The acting? A combination of things? Take the scene apart mentally and study how and why the story was shown.

That is essentially the first step. It is a lot easier to write than it is to do.

Script-notes version of this lesson:

– You have to want to tell a story to be a good editor
– You have to know how to make things flow
– In order to know how to make things flow, you have to understand WHY things flow