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Editing Choices

Lesson 25 from: Creating a Video From Start to Finish

Victor Ha

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Lesson Info

25. Editing Choices

Video editing is full of choices -- but you can always change your mind. Learn how to get over hurdles and make the best choices for your filmmaking project.

Lesson Info

Editing Choices

Editing choices; as we talk about editing choices, and again, let's remove editing choices with storytelling choices, narrative choices, thinking choices, feeling choices. It doesn't have to be editing. Take that word out of this slide and replace it with something less scary. Okay? Choices. Remove it entirely, okay? Make a decision to start. Here's the beauty of our world right now. You can make a decision and you can always change your mind. But if you don't make a decision, you can never change your mind. Okay? Especially when it comes to editing. You'll see I kept the beginning of my edit the same, the same, the same until about the very end when I flipped the statement out. Because it just didn't feel right, but I was so focused on the other parts of the edit that I couldn't focus on the beginning. It's okay, I knew that something was not right about it. And once you do this, you're gonna get a feeling. Every edit, you'll hit something, I call it the hurdle. You're gonna get to a ...

hurdle and it's gonna stop you dead in your tracks and the minute you get over that hurdle, it's easy sailing. That's the way of editing, okay? You're gonna hit a hurdle, you're gonna stop, you're gonna agonize for about two or three hours, and then once you get over that hurdle the rest of it just goes, just goes. Because everything just falls into place, okay? Every choice you make now will be one you will not have to make later. Okay, learn that. Because everything you do at the beginning of the edit will save you time from making decisions later. Which means the more you cut now, the less you'll have to cut later. The more you leave out now, the less you'll have to leave out later. Don't start with a 50 minute edit and then expect to get down to two minutes within the span of a day, right? Try to get to three and a half minutes first, okay? Get there. Remember, whatever you say yes to now you're automatically saying no to later. Okay, exact same thing. You've gotta make that choice up front. You've gotta be confident in that choice. Why are you guys confident? Because you already know what looks good. You already know how to make an image. You already know how all these things work. You just gotta step out there and actually just do it, okay? When in doubt, mute it or cut it. That's it, that's your two choices: mute it or cut it. Move it to a different track and mute it or cut it. There is no doubt in editing, there is yes or no. Okay? there is yes or no. Famous little guy said that a little bit differently, right? Star Wars? "There is no try, only do" right? Same thing here, same thing here guys. Last thing, your choices do affect tempo. And what do we mean by tempo? Have you guys ever just watched a movie and you just drag, just feels slow? That's on purpose because they make it feel that way. Other times you watch music videos, they're fast and rapid. Their choices make it feel that way. So let's talk about editing choices, okay? How they make us feel. I wanna hang here on this topic for a good moment, okay? Just hang here for a moment because I think understanding this as a concept or as concepts will really kinda bring it home for us as we start to kind of craft our narrative and craft our story, okay? So, fast or slow? That's pretty self explanatory. But what it really practically means, am I jumping from cut to cut to cut to cut very quickly or am I moving from cut to cut very slowly? Typically, right now on episodic television a cut between cameras or between angles is typically between three to four seconds, maybe five. Okay, it's getting a little bit longer these days with some of the long form episodic television, you know. But generally speaking, we're looking at three to five seconds, okay? Three to five seconds. And what that means is every three to five seconds, we're expecting a cut. And if you either make it slower than that or faster than that, it's gonna affect people's resting perception of that. So if I'm expecting a cut every three seconds and you make it every two seconds, it's gonna feel really fast to me. But then if you make it every five seconds, it's gonna make it very slow to me. If you want to practice this, just cue up a slideshow. Change the slideshow from three seconds every image to two seconds every image, and then to five seconds every image. And see which one feels better. Don't play music, don't play music to it. Just kinda see which one feels better, and that will be your resting tempo that you watch things at, okay? Generally speaking, we're all at around three seconds. Sometimes two, if you're me, okay? Linear versus nonlinear, okay? Linear means the beginning is the beginning, the middle is the middle, the end is the end, okay? So I walk into a building, I grab some cheese, I walk out of it, I go home, I make a sandwich. That's very linear, beginning, middle, and end. Nonlinear is, I could start with the sandwich, I could go, "Hey, it's a great sandwich!" And then it could be the story of me walking to the store, grabbing the cheese, walking out, going into the kitchen. Do you see how the story still is the same, but yet the end has come forward? One of the movies that always, always explains this really well is "Memento." If you guys are familiar with that movie, it is one of the best examples of a nonlinear movie. There's tons of 'em out there, "Memento" is always one that I remember. And it starts in the middle, and if it even starts in the middle, okay, if the movie starts in the middle, and then proceeds with flashbacks to current to the middle, you know, I think "Gone Girl" did that? Okay, so that's all nonlinear. And right now in the way that we are watching TV and movies, we're so intelligent that we can understand a nonlinear movie and a nonlinear TV show just like that. It takes us a few minutes, that first part is really important to communicate what type of movie we're watching but we're so smart now at watching things it comes through very quickly. Long or short? Is the cut long, is the clip long like a long take? Okay, am I following someone, is it going through a building is it a long take or is it a short take? And a long take and a short take really helps out in tempo, fast or slow. Another one is big or small. Big or small. Are we trying to fill up the frame with imagery and B-roll of big things? Are we trying to get into detail, are we trying to get in and show stuff? Or are we trying to back out and give people space to see? And this here is informed by our shoot, what we're capturing, okay? So when we get to our editing, it's like okay, do I wanna give people like a really close up look on how these things are in real life or do I wanna pull 'em back and let them kind of experience it and not be so intense about it? Do I punch in and just show faces as things are happening? Or do I pull back and let them be just a spectator, or supposed to be a participant? These are shooting choices that help us in the edit. So again, as we think about projects and things you're doing, thinking about your How-Tos, right? The cooking How-Tos. The choices you make here can greatly affect the perception. 'Cause if it's fast, nonlinear, short clips with small detail, with big detail, it's entirely different than the other opposites, right? And it creates something entirely different. So sitting down and figuring out how you want the story to feel in this way is going to get you a million years light ahead. Because it's gonna give you something to grasp onto when you're sitting there looking at the nebulous void of a timeline. Okay? How are we doing, guys? Do you have questions here? Awesome. Cool. Alright, so when I looked at Ivan's timeline, what does this all mean? Here was the one I decided. But to give you can idea, I could have led in with Ivan introducing himself and then moved to an emotional statement. And then I could have described the customer, showed the family, and finished on the why. I could have just flipped those two, right? The thing about an edit is you theoretically can move any of these components in any portion, in any place, and the story should still be able to make sense in some way, shape, or form with some minor tweaks, k? But when you chunk it down and you've got these components, you should be able to move them around in your edit and the edit should still make sense. So when you get to that moment, let's say you thought this was the thing, if you wanna try messing around when you're at that point, you could do that still. And I encourage you to do that. We're actually gonna look at three different edits. We're gonna look at actually these three edits later on. And we can see how they work, and when I do them I still can't make my mind up and I'm gonna go with the one I wanted initially because I think that's a good one.

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Ratings and Reviews

Cheryl Winkles

You're awesome, I learnt a lot from you, this is like a must-have first course for anyone who wants to step into video or filmmaking world. Highly recommended and thank you a million Victor Ha.

a Creativelive Student

Fantastic course, Victor is one of the finest instructors I have encountered. Great stuff, I would highly recommend this for anyone who wants to work in video

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