A Guide To Video Editing

Hello

2 Bee Videos have been away for a couple of weeks due to a big project in the editing suite. It is now complete and I will be releasing a case study article about the project sometime soon. Now that I’m back it’s onto this week’s main article.

 

So you have finished filming your content, now you’ve got to cut it together. In this article I will go through the processes and techniques professionals use to create the structure of their final film and video projects.

An Introduction To Video Editing
The way your video is edited together is something that should be thought through in the pre-production process when choosing how you are going to capture your subject on video. We all process information sequentially, so the job of the video editor is to make the audience forget they’re looking at a screen filled with a series of images and concentrate on the fact that they are watching a story. In summary the video editor has to hide the fact that they have created cuts, this is called seamless editing. This is done by joining two separate shots that have a physical or emotional connection between them. So if you make a list of shots contained in your video, you are also creating cut points and how the video is edited together. It’s important to know how your shots will be cut together before you start filming.

Before I move on and talk to you about the different kinds of cuts between shots, I should mention one more thing. Just like when I mentioned in my previous article about framing shots and how it has an emotional effect on it’s audience, the same is said for video editing. If I have less frequent cuts and/or a long shot duration with no cutting, then the video gives a slow expression. This intention for not cutting very much is perfect for scenes of a calm nature because the slow nature of the editing matches the emotion of the scene. It’s the same for more frequent cutting, lots of cuts between shots gives a fast expression and is perfect for past paced action scenes because the fast nature of the editing matches the emotion of a fast paced action scene.

Before, On & After
Most cuts in film and video happen around a specific action within the frame. Simply put, you can cut before an action, on an action or after an action. Each way of cutting effect the emotional outcome of how an audience reacts emotionally to the scene and the story.

Match Cutting
Match cutting is a technique in which two images that have a physical likeness are cut together. Edgar Wright is a brilliant film director and a master when it comes to staging shots for the edit. A good example of match editing from “The World’s End”, the use of empty pint glasses on a table outside during the day with someone walking past frame is used to cut into the next scene starting with someone walking past frame to reveal full pint glasses on a table inside during the night. The two shots are framed perfectly so that the table and pint glasses physically match the same space they occupy on screen, as a way of transitioning from one scene to the next.

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Using The Frame Or Camera
Using the camera and frame in order to make a cut is a great way of making seamless cuts. This is done by matching the movements of the camera or frame from one shot to the next. A great example I’ve used previously is the camera swipe cut. This is using the camera to pan quickly in one direction at the end of a shot, and then continue the same movement at the start of the next shot to create a transitioning cut between the two.

Cut-in & Cutaway
A cut-in and cutaway edit is the cutting together of two shots with the same angle but at completely different lengths. The use of and effect of a cut-in edit is to identify details that the camera cannot see from a distance, and the visa versa for a cutaway.

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Scene Transitions
There are two typical uses for transitioning from one scene to the next. The first is cross dissolve, involving blending the end of one shot to the next with a fade. The other is to fade the end of one shot to black, and then fade from black into the next shot. The effect of both these transitions shows the movement of time and space in the story.

Using Light
The use of light can be used create edits also. Most commonly a crescendo in overexposure at the end of one shot and cutting into an overexposed shot ascending in exposure. The effect has a thriller intention with the film’s audiences.

Editing On Sound
Using sound as an edit point is also used to create effective cuts. Usually in a dialogue scene the cut is made on the moment the sound of the other person starts talking, not before, to create a more seamless cut. Matching sounds from one shot to the next is also a good way of editing between two scenes.

 

In summary you can make a great edit for your video or film using the following kind of editing techniques:

  • Cutting Before, On or After an action.
  • Creating a Match Cut using two shots with a physical resemblance.
  • Using the Frame or Camera to create an edit point.
  • Enhance details by using a Cut-ins & Cutaway.
  • Using cross dissolves and fades to create Scene Transitions.
  • Using Light or overexposed shots to create edit points.
  • Editing On Sound to create seamless cuts.


Content Strategy For Video – 2 Bee Videos

It’s All About Planning
Content strategy is the planning of what will be presented within the video. A job conducted by the producer. This relies on information about the subject and the target audience. Knowing the target audience is key to producing a good video. A producer must think, “what is it that the viewer wants to see in order for the video to make an impact?” From this a production is devised, with the producer at the helm making sure all marks are hit.

Some videos fail to achieve their desired effect based on this fact. No thought has been given to what the audience actually needs to see and hear. Audiences react emotionally. When they see themselves within the context of what they are watching, you have their undivided attention. This is also important when a producer takes into account the tone of the video, it’s length and pacing. If a client does not know what they want their video to achieve, then it’s useless for them to approach a video producer.

A Producer’s First Meeting With A Client
The content strategy starts with the first meeting between a client and a producer. “I just want it to make my website look pretty”, is at the top of the list of what a video producer does not want to hear. The video has a purpose and is their for a reason. That reason is dictated by a goal. That goal is what the producer needs to know. A video producer will get to know their client and their product. That product has a target audience, and therefore the video for that product is designed to engage that target audience.

If you are someone who just wants some video that looks pretty on your website, you want a videographer, not a video producer. A video producer is there to craft an emotionally engaging video that speaks to it’s audience in order to make them react and hit that call to action.

Knowing The Product And It’s Target Audience
Once a producer knows the clients product and it’s target audience, they will set in motion the pre-production materials based around this information. The script, an important video production blueprint that must be constructed correctly. And when I say script, I’m not just talking about pages of stage directions and lines. I’m talking about all the points a video needs to hit in order to make an impact on it’s audience. This is where most videos fall short. “Let’s just shoot” is something I hear sometimes, and can be damaging to a video production. Hollywood director Ridley Scott said “Once you crack the script, everything else follows”.

A script always follows the same structure, one that always works. It’s the details that are different in every script. It’s not just Hollywood films, it’s all kinds of videos out on the web that have been carefully constructed to engage it’s audience. This is because story is everything. Tell the story in the right way, and people will engage with it. If the client’s video has a call to action, the story in the video needs to emulate the needs of that of the audience. Put those needs in a theatrical production and audiences will engage on an emotional level that will make them react. The same is said for how the audience also engage with the tone, length and pacing of the video. A great way to keep your audience engaged is the 3-2-1 technique. Start by showing your audience what will be shown keeping your best till last.

The Call To Action
Once the video has effectively pulled on the emotions of the viewer, their next thought should be the where and how of getting their hands on or engaging with what they are watching. What do you want your audience to do next? This call to action will go at the end of the video.

So to summarise, a content strategy for video should:

  • Know the product and it’s audience.
  • Hit goals to present.
  • Have a good script that emotionally engages it’s audience.
  • Have a call to action.