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Video editing for beginners Part 2 - 9th December 2005 - View the entire paragliding news archive

Assembling your film

You have shot your paragliding video and now have a basic familiarity with your video editing software.

This article aims to give you some useful tips so that you can make the most of your raw footage.

Before you start
Label all your tapes. Watch everything you have shot and log everything in a note book, referencing it to the time code. Look through your log notes and try to formulate an idea of what you wish to use. When making decisions about what constitutes good or bad footage consider the following. Is there dialogue that will make sense when it is edited? How good is the sound quality? Do I want to use the audio, the video or both?

This process of culling material from your source tapes is really the first edit. You will now have a big heap of fairly good clips to work with. If you are working with an advanced editor (like Adobe Premiere Pro) you will have been given the luxury of naming each clip and writing additional notes. Those working with less advanced editors (like Windows Movie Maker) will have a whole bunch of clips labeled by time code.

Assemble the rough edit
For short films storyboarding what you plan to create is a bit of an overkill. Your next step should be to assemble a rough edit of your final film. This can be achieved fairly quickly. Simply drag the required clips to the timeline in the order that you wish them to play. Your film is likely to be somewhat lengthy at this point, but it should resemble the film that you envisaged.

Adjust clip lengths
Your next step is to watch the film and attempt to make every shot as short as possible. This is very harsh and often means you will lose many minutes of excellent footage but it has to go. Cutting good footage is hard to do, but it is necessary in order to keep your film visually stimulating. Clips that are too long will bore your audience. If nothing changes in the shot for more than a few seconds it is time for a new shot. Dialogue is the only thing that can run on for more than a few seconds.

Bad footage fixes
Sometimes there will be a gap in your film where something that is important to the story has been badly filmed. In these cases it is often necessary to rummage through what you have and attempt to bodge a fix. ‘Bad’ footage usually contains some redeeming features. For instance, I shot some film of friends talking recently, but moved the camera during the dialogue. This would have looked terrible if I had used it as it was. I could have rejected it at the capture stage but I liked the dialogue, so I needed a fix. The fix involved running the audio continuously but cutting away to a different shot for the duration of the camera shake and cutting back to the original video when the picture was steady again.

On another occasion I wanted to insert video of a friend as I described him, but all I had was a shakey shot of him lasting about a second. The solution was to slow it down and stretch it to last for the three seconds I wanted. Slowing something down reduces the apparent shake.

Sometimes the audio will be very poor. The common solution is to slap music over the top, but it would also be possible to replace the original audio with something similar (unless it is dialogue). A long running audio clip of faint wind noise accompanied by vario bleeps is always useful to have for such circumstances. Powered paraglider pilots might also find engine noise useful filler!

Add any effects-transitions and audio
Now that your video sequence is complete it is time to polish it with some effects and transitions, but go easy. These are used sparingly on TV for a very good reason.

If you enjoyed this article and feel inspired to produce a paragliding film I would be very glad to host it.

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