Editing Tips for Multimedia and Video

A few days ago, I wrote a blog about “having a point” – or telling a story when you create multimedia pieces. Of course you have to have an overall idea and focus to start with, but below are some editing tips on how to make it come together in the editing room.

  • Edit with a purpose. Why are you making the “cut” where you are? Are you cutting on the action? Are you cutting on the beat of the music? What’s the reason behind your cut?
  • Set a pace or rhythm. Just like writing, where you have pauses in sentences with commas, edit your visuals to your narrative or interview soundbites, cutting after words and phrases.
  • Use image sequences to transition between different ideas and themes.
  • Let your images linger on the screen, giving time to breathe between them.
  • Cut on the beat or against the beat of music. Edit the music and let it become part of your piece, rather than just a background soundtrack.
  • Adjust the volume of your music – lowering it during interviews and raising it when there is no narrative or dialog.
  • Use audio fades between music cuts to soften the cut.
  • Insert room tone between cuts in interview soundbites, making the cuts less apparent.
  • Use interview footage sparingly – when introducing someone or when someone is expressing emotion on the screen.
  • Identify interview subject with name and title text in lower third.
  • Use text that’s easy to read and break it up over many slates. Leave the slate on the screen long enough to read twice.
  • Always start with your strongest images.
  • Don’t “move” all your still images – leave some static on the screen.
  • Don’t use dissolves.
  • When working with media from DSLR cameras, keep the media in the DCIM folders for logging and transferring into Final Cut Pro with the plug-in. If you have taken your media out of the DCIM folders – then create a new DCIM folder for the purposes of importing the media into FCP.

Remember to keep the story in mind at all times. When you think you have the story laid down in a rough cut – have friends over to watch it. Ask them what the story was. If they don’t know or can’t tell you, then you have more work to do.

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