Hot doggies; or how I edit my videos

art, Film, Theatrical Process, Uncategorized

Nothing to do with vendors or rats on leashes here, just an expression.

Editing takes more time than one might think, given that for one minute, thirty seconds of footage, I’ve taken the better (or worse) part of three days to get this video underway.

So what takes up my time?

-Part 1: Importing Footage

Doesn’t take much time, this part, but finding just the right files meant that I spent my first half hour cleaning up my external hard drive (kind of like a room… I did wind up stuffing some files beneath the bed, as it were).

– Part 2: Labeling Footage

A minute thirty video isn’t too bad when it’s one continuous shot or a few shorts put together.  But compressing two tech days (which, for my part, means about eight hours total) into one video can get a bit exhausting.

My usual label technique is name of the character or actor in the shot, what they say, and notes on their placement/ shot composition/ orientation.

I started by cutting down each clip for valuable footage, but now, I’ve finally just started labeling clips based on their initial moments.   Maybe a bit lazy, but I am passing a deadline… ah, there it goes.

-Part 3: Artistry

Or at least a very life like simulation.  Basically, I rearrange the footage to tell a story.  What story?  Well, that depends on the video, but usually there’s one driving theme to each video through which the images become part of an overall narrative.

I like to pick images that have either great color, shape, or static dynamism (they look awesome as they are), and failing that, I’m a fan of dramatic motion.  I also like to mix close up shots and long shots, over the shoulder shots with profile images, people with props, so on and so on…

I also try to get the clip speed to match the pace of the video – beginning clips can go longer, climatic clips get much faster, and end clips are about even paced.

Then there’s the sound.  For me, sound is the narrative element which i can continuously work on, which lets me move around sound bites to make amore compelling auditory narrative.  Why is it more continuous than video? Because it requires the least rendering

– Part 4: Rendering

Or as I like to call, blogging time.  Yes, true believer, even as I type these words, my final cut file is rendering its way to glory (or at least a very good approximation).  Rendering is basically final cut saying “oh, you made that choice…” and judging me for a minute to several hours for what I’ve done to my precious raw footage.   But to me, this part is necessary before I can fully review my work and continue

– Part 5: Editing

I know that this is what the whole process is called, so imagine that this is the Inception section, or the russian doll section.  Whatever, there’s layers of editing.  I think of this one like a comic artist or writer editing.  You look at the steaming pile you’ve made on the canvas, take a good whiff, and dive in fingers first to sculpt it into something awesome.  This is also how I make one-of-a-kind 3D portraits for my closest friends.

Metaphors aside, I take the parts I hate and I change them.  Then I look over the whole thing to the best of my human ability, and godwilling… nope, something’s still off.  So I keep on editing.  And Marion Cotillard enters the room at times to sabotage my work.


Marion, no!!!!!

Once that’s done and I’ve locked Marion back in my mental basement (sorry hon, it’s for the best.  At least I remembered you off to the swank digs we had in Paris), I am ready for the final phase – Exporting, which is–


Your rival appears once more!

–first, I have to render the file again.  But once I’ve gotten past that stupid L30 Wartortle (What!)  I am ready for…

– Part 6: Exporting

          I can see the light… I think, I think we’re almost there…

Yes, emerging from the smouldering debris of final cut pro, I have emerged with a minut thirty video.  Now to send it off, see if it fits the bill, and if not, then we can go to part 4 again.  Huzzah!

Thanks, kind reader, for your patience, lenience, and existence (bwhahaha)


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