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What’s the best process to edit a video?
It depends on the type of content, because that’s kind of asking how long is a piece of string! I would say with any project organisation is key. You need to be meticulous and structure how you work and get to know the footage you’re working with as well. From a short film to a corporate film, it doesn’t matter what the project is, the best way to edit a video would be to get yourself organised, the sooner the better!
Over the years I’ve come across loads of other projects from people where maybe it's been handed over to me and I've had to pick it up and often, the project has been a mess. This makes it hard to find clips as everything's not labelled properly and it's not sorted properly either. So for me, the organisation is one of the most important things, it’s not actually the editing itself it’s actually the organising of the footage and making sure you know where everything is because ultimately if you've done that, your edit is always going to be way better.
Talk us through how you kick off an edit then?
Say you’re given footage on a hard drive, import that into Adobe Premiere or whatever software you’re using, start organising into different bins within that project, for example, you might get a hard drive where the footage is already in some folders like a carbon copy. But those that have footage within those folders might not necessarily relate to your video. So for example, the first card which the film is recorded on might be filmed in one location, the next part might be in another location, and it might have an interview or something on each card as well. So, I would import them as they were: card one, card two and card three and so on. But then after that, I would organise the clips such as if we had an interview with somebody I would put all the clips for that interview in a separate bin and then each of those bins would be labelled up accordingly.
What are some cool time-saving tricks for editing?
One of the things I tend to do is select and pick out clips that I’m going to use at some point and once I grab that clip and put into a master sequence project and lift it from track one to track two, that kind of tells me if I go back to that select sequence, I've used that clip or I've wanted to use that and then, therefore, when I'm looking through the rest of this I know these are the ones I haven't used because that's the long track one. So that's kind of like a little time-saving thing because it saves me having to look through all the clips, I can just look through the ones that have not been lifted up and I just turn on track one.
I like labelling too as you can use colour labels in Premiere, or label your clips different titles, for example, you could label and say all the clips I've marked in yellow are related to this question. Labelling is something that a lot of people probably wouldn't do but it's actually quite a useful feature as well.
How do I make the film flow properly?
I would say managing the pace so it’s almost how you feel when you're watching it, I guess part of being an editor is having an editor's instinct and actually when you're watching back whatever you've edited, and you get this through experience and time, but it's knowing that maybe that bit of the film doesn't feel right or that feels too long or that feels too quick. It’s about watching it back and thinking ‘I need to bring that cut forward or I need to extend that further back.’
Also, gear changes are something that affects the flow, so you might have a really quick cut for one part of the edit depending on what it is, it might be cutting to the music and then as soon as the interview comes in you might have it slow down a bit as in high gear and low gear. That would be the flow and to just think when to engage the audience in a different way to the other parts of the film.
What are some cool editing effects worth experimenting with?
Less is more, you might think when first starting to use all these cool effects. The editor has done a good job if you don’t know what the editor has done. For example, if you’re watching a film and you notice a cut here and there unless it’s done on purpose, you shouldn’t be noticing the cut because it should feel like you’re just engaged with the film, that’s when you know the editor has done their job.
However, there are times where you'll get edits that are done stylistically. So, films like Baby Driver, for example, have really good stylistic edits in them such as when they cut to the music or whatever, and it's very intentional. So, then you'll watch the song and be like, Oh, that was cool. I liked how that works.
It’s not the case of oh, ‘let's use this four-star white transition because they’re the things you look back at and ask, oh, what's the point of that?’ It's about less is more and making your edits just seem like they do their job, but they don't do anything more than their job because it's not about being flashy and showing off it's about doing what's right for the video.
How long does it take to edit a video?
Everything in post production does take more time than shooting in general. So, you know you could go out and shoot for a few hours and as I said, if you're getting interviews and B roll and stuff, then you might come back and that might take you a day to put together. But it all depends on how much you're shooting or how much you're overshooting and capturing more than you need to. Also, what are the elements you’re going to be using, any kind of motion graphics and stuff because that all takes extra time.
Cheers Ollie! Check out some of Ollie's stuff here: