The techniques used by video editors to shape the media they work with reveals a lot about the way people create meaning in the world. Given the exact same raw footage, two different editors could make two completely different videos. But a good editor should always be in tune with how people think and feel and then use this knowledge to build compelling stories. And while an editors’ chosen style may largely reflect the type of project he or she is working on, there are some approaches that generally work well in any scenario. Here are nine excellent tips to add to your video editing toolkit.
9. Make Tight Cuts
Any video that features a lot of talking will benefit from an editor that knows how to make tight cuts. Cutting scenes tight means taking out unnecessary pauses, using timely cutaways to close gaps between dialogue, or even losing lines of dialogue all together. Most projects will also have an estimated running time that needs to be kept in mind and making efficient cuts that can compress time will save you from having to go back and re-work scenes if you find the edit is running long.
8. Choose the Best Angles/Takes to Tell the Story
Always let camera work or performance dictate which shots you use in your final video. However, the importance placed on each of these aspects will likely depend on the type of project you’re working on. For a scripted feature or documentary, the characters relation to the overall story is paramount. As such, editors who work on these projects sometimes have to leave beautiful shots or entire scenes on the cutting room floor simply because they don’t add anything to the overall story. On the other hand, when editing an interview or news story, your goal is usually to balance the speakers intended message with the expectations of the audience. When selecting footage for this type of project, it helps to think about what you would want to see or look at while listening to the audio. Using this method to choose camera angles and clips also helps the speakers to tell their story.
7. Use Wide Shots Sparingly
At the start of a scene, it’s usually necessary to cut between different camera angles so the audience is aware of the setting in which it’s taking place. However, once the scene has been contextualized and dialogue begins, medium and close-up shots hold the most significance for the audience. The reasoning behind this practice is evident when you consider that it’s almost always more captivating to watch a speakers facial expressions and gestures as they talk from up close rather than from a distance.