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Editors Desk (Blog)

The Art of Editing

People say, “What kind of person WANTS to be a video editor?”  I do. 

A group of filmmakers can have a lot of fun creating video together. In contrast, many see editing as an isolating experience – the painful payment for all the fun they had. But for me, that’s when I start to “live it up.” I see editing as the highlight of video production – where all your thoughts and plans are revealed in the final product – a video.

I love color correction. It’s where the video takes on a new feel, giving it emotional appeal. Most of the environments I shoot in have terrible lighting – a recipe for terrible video with unflattering looking people. I can’t bring my own lights on most shoots. Bringing a lot of equipment on a shoot might attract too much attention (such as, students, who are supposed to be learning).  But once I import the raw video into the editing software, I actually have a lot of fun fixing bad lighting. I like the feeling of “re-creating reality” and heightening the right emotional response from the viewer.

After you’ve done everything you can to get good audio (choosing the right mic and the right place for it), editing can do a lot to fix audio (with the exception of blown audio).  But after you’ve done that, what matters is how you use that audio to create a mood for the viewer.  I spend a lot of time listening to different music tracks before I settle on the choices that compliment a speaker’s voice best. So much influences those choices – the pitch, the tempo, timing, and the subject matter.  Sound captured from location environments can “immerse the viewer” in the locations that appear on video, giving them a feeling that they are actually there.  And when so much sound is added to the video, the mix has to be just right – the speaker’s voice must be clear at all times, but still well-supported by the music and natural sound. Editing also allows me to fix interviews – making things shorter, tighter, succinct, more graceful.  I find the sound bytes that tell the story in the best and most interesting way. I search for sound bytes to fix speaker error (dropped words or a dropped “s”).

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