Want great video? It’s all in the edit … er … no!

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Fantastic shoot, great footage and logged/transferred to FCP. Not much left to do completing the video, right? Well, er … no. In fact the serious work has just begun. The organising.

Not many people appreciate the amount of effort from an editing perspective that has to go into any creative piece such as a music video. Yes you could put two cameras on a live band and switch between angles and close ups but I think we would all get pretty bored having seen that so many times. Unless of course the music it is promoting is really great, in which case footage of a goat grazing in a field could be used. But the edit is only the final part of the jigsaw.

With the temperature averaging just above freezing over the past few days in January my evenings after work and the weekends have been spent reviewing footage, laying out the main clips and testing effects and looks that will add that bit of fairy dust. In fact my plans are always:

First step
– log and capture/transfer: depending on tape or card;
– identifying best takes;
– naming the files;
– organising them into appropriate bins;
– Colour coding fro best takes references

Second step
– reference to the storyboard (for a music video usually reference to the song, unless one is really arty and does a contrast),
– identify the best performance clips of the artiste (it is their promo after all ),
– choose the cut away shots that reference the story,

Third step
– ensure that all shots selected are well composed and recompose where necessary using basic motion,
– basic colour correction and white balance if required

Fourth step
– the above may already include some insertion to the time-line,
– if not, set up the sequence including compression settings,
– ensure syncing to the music
– identify edit points/cut ins by placing markers on rhythmic points  along the time-line
– insert clips to time-line (moving around clips, etc to taste, look and feel)
– duplicate the sequence (tip after every change ‘save’ and after every major edit duplicate). This means you always have a back up should you make a major error.

Fifth step
– take a break

And that’s what I did. In fact I went to Trinidad for Carnival 2013. More of which next …