6 Editing Tips, Tricks and Drills - Monday Filmmaking 101 - Basic Filmma...
This is the first real website entry for me, so I hope you'll be gentle, and like this format.
In the past, this has been a repository to dump my videos and have a website for later, where I could provide more information to filmmakers who like that sort of thing.
It was intended as a place for you to get additional info on my videos, some dry humor, opinions, bad analogies, behind the scenes, jokes that make a 5-year old laugh, and even lame excuses for why I did or didn't do things.
Well, fast forward YEARS later - maybe it's time I actually start doing it.
Oh, and just so we set the mood for these, let me say this...
Some people say I am not a writer. Maybe. Maybe not. But at least I'm writing. So, to all you "experts" on writing (usually by people who don't), [insert bad word] you if you don't like how I write.
Let's start with this "BECOME AN EDITOR" video.
As with many of my videos, this was also a test of, "How many cut/zoom shots can a person tolerate? What's the breaking point when doing cut shots, and how far can you zoom in when doing them?"
I do a lot of "testing" (playing) around to get feedback. Feedback is really useful as long as its really feedback, and not a bunch of blah-blah.
Now, that doesn't mean I use subscribers or viewers as lab rats. What I do is see what the bottom line or threshold is for the moving pictures and sound on videos I produce for YouTube. Once I've nailed that, I then know to NEVER cross it ever again.
I don't know if that disturbs you, but that's what I do, and it gives me information. Let's say most people hate the sound quality of my wireless mics. I use that, such as, "I'm going on a shoot and it's a live gig for my subscribers. I have a wireless system, and they've commented they don't like the sound. That means I am going to haul my recorders and shotgun mics with me." Like that.
Anyway, this editor video is something I knew editors do, and have seen editors do, but it never occurred to me that no one knew this. It's one of those "everyone knows [insert something here]" things, that you find out everyone does not know.
So I isolated what that thing is and turned it into something simple - a drill - that anyone can practice day or night, editing, or not.
The thing I DID NOT go into length at in this video is how this applies to all sorts of activities - music, art, painting, writing - you name it - this can be applied to all facets of life.
And it's something REALLY useful to one-man-band filmmakers, which is the majority of my subscribers on my YouTube channel. These guys/gals are a marvel. You think having a job in Hollywood is hard? Well, it's usually just ONE job. Try being the EVERYTHING. That's the one-man-band filmmaker.
The drill here is basically looking at your video, playing a segment or a bit, and looking at it as if you know nothing about it (other than the video's message and intended audience), and chopping the hell out of it.
And doing it again.
And then again, and again, and again over and over and over.
You probably need to watch the video to fully understand the concept on this one.
I also really drive home this is a "drill." It is something continually practiced until you don't even have to think about it anymore, like driving a car.
There are also some things I cut out of this video as it was too long, but you might find useful as background.
I was coaching a subscriber on editing. He had an 8 minute video, really funny idea, about an alien conspiracy. As an exercise, I told him to cut everything not needed out.
He came back with a 4 minute video. Did a great job.
To show him what I was talking about, I downloaded the video straight off YouTube and cut it to 2 minutes.
I left the opener, kept the funny conspiracy shots, some humor shots, let it buildup, and the shocker at the end.
He was probably thinking about all the time he put into the shots, his daughter, which I ended up cutting down to 5 seconds, and frankly I didn’t want to piss him off, as her part should’ve been a 1 second cut shot at most.
It’s not that I am “better” at editing than him. It’s that I was editing like an editor.
I saw the message, or in this case the story, that would be delivered to a specifically defined audience - people who like funny and ridiculous conspiracy skits. Didn’t give a crap about his daughter, at least as an editor.
I showed another silly example of someone doing a video on exposure.
It was really long, as I cut each part out and then did the drill, and although that really is part of video editing until you get really good at switching from your editor "hat" to your "audience never seen it before" hat, that's kind of what it is like.
But I cut most of it, as I didn't want to scare anyone. :)
The other thing I cut was a shame, but again, the video was getting too long and would have been too much information for one video.
That's the WHY WATCH EDITING TRICK.
This one always breaks my brain when I remember to do it.
It’s a brand new second pass on your video after you’ve cut all the fluff out. You start from the beginning, editing as if you’ve never seen it before, and you switch to being the intended audience. You play the first 5, 10 or 15 seconds of the video.
Now you ask yourself, “Am I interested enough to continue watching?” No?
Then re-edit the video, watching it newly as the intended audience, fixing it until it works.
Now watch again newly from the beginning, for say 30 seconds or a minute, being the intended audience.
Ask yourself, “Am I interested enough to continue watching?” Just keep doing that over and over until you’ve nailed it as best you can.
Or chalk it up to experience and keep that in mind for your next video.
In my real work, let’s say I am doing a commercial. I may be watching the 750th edit, but, I have to watch it newly each time as the intended audience...and ask myself if it compels me to continue watching along the way. If not, it’s back to the editors.
It's really the only way to go if you want something that is watchable by the intended audience and does what it is supposed to do, get a message across to the viewer, whether it be teaching, selling something, or simply informing.
Unless you don't you don't have a message or intended audience!
I really hope you like these "behind the scenes" notes from the Basic Filmmaker's mind - something a few people have questioned the existence of. :)
The Basic Filmmaker