This week, I shot and edited my first video montage. I was able to explore the park near my home with a camera, which was something I’ve never done before – besides using the one that’s on my phone.
To prepare for editing this video montage, I read Chapter 10: After the Shoot – Editing from The Bare Bones Camera Course for Film and Video. Schroeppel goes into detail about why you edit, rules of editing, and adding sounds and effects.
Editing happens to distort the reality of what your viewers see, all while making sense for them to register and understand the message.
Read the script to understand how viewers should react to the program. Also, use logs to know what scenes, shots, takes you have, and if they’re any good to use or not. Then, use paper edits, where you construct the audio and the message based on the cut-up sections of an editing log.
Establish and Re-establish
Begin with your establishing shot – the setting. Then, show different shots. However, the viewers typically can’t remember the scene from three shots ago, so visual reminders of the establishing shot are important.
Use Basic Sequences
Basic sequences should be used to cut away with related images to the story. These related shots in the same location break up material cohesively and smoothly.
New Shots Should be Different
While visual reminders in editing are important, each shot should be different enough from the others. The difference can be in content, framing, or both – something so the audience doesn’t get confused by seeing shots of a similar thing back to back.
Use Appropriate Pacing
Pacing is used for the viewers’ ultimate understanding of the video. If you show a shot for 5 seconds, when they really need 10 seconds to understand it, they will be confused. On the contrary, if you show a shot for 15 secons when they only needed 8 seconds, they’ll become uninterested.
L Cuts and Reverse-L Cuts are different editing methods for sounds.
Background Music and Library Music
Background music is essential for cohesion to the message. It needs to resemble what the story is so the audience can relate to it, but shouldn’t be noticeable enough to take away from the shots. This is where library music is great for the background as it doesn’t have high peaks or low valleys.
Separate Audio Tracks
Separating audio across as many tracks as possible helps with editing. Separating the tracks in the editing software you use will help to not only stay organized but to make sure the sounds are exactly what you intend when editing.
The first 10 seconds of this video is what I’m focusing on for the editing analysis. This shows a quick commercial that Daniel Shiffer made in his own dining room. Some transitions between shots are so fast it’s hard to tell there are any effects happening, but it doesn’t feel overwhelming to view it either. I can see that there are added effects in the transitions because the shots don’t feel punchy, and there is a fade-in at 0:06.
Because the commercial is only 10 seconds, the pacing needs to be very quick to get the full message across to the viewers. The fast pace and sound effects are well done, and this appears to be a successful commercial for Cheerios.
This video is very intriguing to watch. With the many closeups, and some extreme closeups, mixed with both fast and slowed down shots make the video feel friendly and professional. The pacing between shots feels perfect – where the shots of the food being made are quick, but not too fast so the viewer still understands what’s happening, and the other shots of the finished food are slowed down for appeal to visit the restaurant.
This editing style has faster pacing, which goes along with the music. It feels happy and upbeat. There are quite a few time-lapse shots that help add to the quickness of the video. Many of the shots don’t have any transition effects between them – they’re just cuts – but there are a few that have fast fades to black or white between shots. It’s not hard to tell that whoever took these shots and edited this video knows what they’re doing, as you can easily identify all composition rules and a fluid final video that makes the viewers want to go to Rome!
For my first time creating and editing a video, I’d say I’ve come across a whole new learning process. You can’t just take running video and put them together with smooth transitions; it needs to have visual composition – like I wrote about in a previous blog post – and it needs a communicated message.
This montage is of a local neighborhood park and trails, not far from my house. I feel fortunate – and I’m sure my dogs do too – to have this perk! Of course, with shooting outdoors comes some complications, like weather.
Choosing to shoot this location in early April, I knew that the shots wouldn’t be quite as beautiful as they would if it were May through October – when the leaves have grown to when the leaves change and fall. And because this week in particular has been gloomy, I didn’t have the chance to shoot the happy community that I intended. Most everyone appeared to stay inside.
Because my shots felt more empty, this helped me to change the direction of my message. So, I modified my script to talk about the current Pandemic, and the effects it’s had on the park. To fully grasp the ideas, I took shots like the closeups of the blowing grass and cattails, and different perspectives of the empty baseball fields and basketball court to make the message known to the viewers that something has changed with the park.
Overall, it was a really fun project, and I learned so much from it, though, still much to learn. While I, of course, would have loved it if the weather were nicer and more people were outside for the direction I was intending; that’s just part of the process and I needed to adapt. The end of my reading from The Bare Bones Camera Course for Audio and Video talked about separating yourself from the work to review it at an unbiased level. Does the montage deliver the message? I think it does!