Editing – key to the video

I was recently at a networking group where the speaker spoke on the topic of Engaging Your Audience with Video. The speaker made several good points, but the one that hit home for me was that with all the technology out there it is easier today to make your point visually and with sound than ever before. From the smart phones that take video to free video editing software for your computer the opportunity to use video is there for you at a very inexpensive starting point.

The one place where most of us fall short is actually making the video do what we envisioned it to do. Nothing takes the place of experience, but there are now ways to gain that experience (through trial and error mostly) without refinancing the house and taking a leave of absence from your job. We can do it in our spare time (ha ha) and for very little monetary investment.

Editing can make or break your piece. It is the last phase of the production, however if you think about the editing before or while you are shooting that phase can go a lot smoother. We are essentially telling a story every time we produce even the shortest video. So from conception through the shooting to the editing if you keep that in the forefront you will create a better product. In editing there is something called pacing. I am sure we have all seem films where we feel we are running with the characters the entire time and by the end we are exhausted, or ones in which we are constantly looking at our clocks to see when it will be over. The best films are ones in which we have places where there is action and there is reflection. Where the pace seems fast in places and slow in places. This is controlled by the editing. Fast cuts makes our hearts race and long scenes slow the pace down.

So go out and try some shooting and editing. Mix it up a little and see what happens when you try different lengths of cuts in your edits and don’t be afraid to experiment.

Sound and Visual Counterpoint

Unlike any other media video/film can employ a multi-sensory experience for the viewer. If edited with skill, video can combine visual images and auditory inputs to create a third impression, not explicitly either seen or heard, that can elicit an emotional response from the audience. This can be done by showing an image, say as an example a young boy running in the park, and at the same time the narration can be talking about something unrelated to the image, say the lack of adequate child care in the US, and the viewer will get an emotional response by combining the two inputs. This can be a powerful tool. The advertising industry uses this all the time to get us to buy products. You too can use this method to get donor sympathy and therefore contributions.

Story is the Skeleton

The key to any video/film is the writing. This is the skeleton on which all the visuals and audio hands. The best visuals can only be watched for so long.

Even if you are doing a documentary there is always editing and refining of the content of what is said. If you are creating a story from scratch then all the more reason to make the script the key to the piece. The beginning and end of the piece is the hardest to make work. You want to grab the audience at the beginning and you want to conclude the piece making sure your point/message has been made. The audience can forgive if the middle rabbles a bit so long as the end is strong. In a documentary you can pre-write an outline of what you want to cover making sure you get most of the content during filming. Then be flexible enough to alter what you capture to still make your point is made.

So make sure you take the time make the story work well.