As an editor it’s always fun (um and also humiliating) to go back to one of your early projects and analyze what worked and what didn’t work - and then, should the mood strike, try out a re-edit.
That’s actually what I’m doing right now. One of my first projects ever was a promo video for a good friend who is an artist and colour consultant. While I was happy with the video at the time, as I go back through it and do a re-edit, I’m finding it interesting to note how my own style has changed and also how much control the editor really has over the final video.
I’ve decided to completely change my approach to the edit as I want to emphasize the stillness and discipline of the artist in her work rather than the previous version which focused more on her fun and approachable personality and the whimsy of her paintings.
Those are two completely different feelings, but both can be achieved with the same footage. It’s up to the editor to make that happen.
The editor is the unsung hero of videomaking or filmmaking.
During Oscar season you don’t hear about the genius editors who are cutting films into works of movie magic. Unlike directors and even cinematographers, they are the invisible hands that are responsible for tying all the artistry together into one cohesive piece - something that is greater of the sum of its parts.
Why is this important for you to know? Well, because the editor really is the person who seals your video’s fate.
This has positive implications. If you shoot a bunch of footage yourself, and it isn’t particularly professional, an editor can often salvage this (yes, I’ve done that!).
In fact there is a trend now in advertising to take user-generated footage to create fresh-feeling videos that are high impact and feel authentic. Of course without the professional video editing, your backyard jumping-in-the-sprinkler footage probably won’t go very far.
It also has negative implications. If your video producer isn’t a great communicator, you might end up with a video that contains all the images you talked about, but yet doesn’t really create the feeling you were looking for.
This can happen when a producer doesn’t know how to talk to the editor to get what’s necessary. Or if your videographer is doing the editing himself but lacks the emotional and intuitive skill set to really do the footage justice.
The cut really does make or break your video. Editing is a sort of process of elimination. As an editor you often have to take 25 to 30 minutes of footage and turn it into a five minute video or a two minute video.
So you can see that the editor’s choices of what to include and most importantly what NOT to include are, in the end, the deciding factor in whether or not your video works.
Some actionable advice?
Find out who’s editing your video.
Take a look at their editing work.
Make sure lines of communication are open and clear.
And ensure you have the number of reviews you need to ensure your final video comes out looking and feeling the way you want it to.
And of course, make sure your video producer or videomaker has asked you enough questions during the planning process to ensure that they know where you’re coming from and what you’re trying to achieve.
If you cover all of those bases, you should be good to go!
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