When editing I have to “have a deep understanding of how people think, feel, remember and learn” and use “this knowledge to build powerful, moving stories and experiences.” (Staff, 2014). So I must be close to the information I am showing and edit it in a way that shows I have empathy for the situation, creating a story which my audience will enjoy and be engaged in. In order to be as close as I can be emotionally to the footage, I will be editing it as I go along. By doing this I will still have the situations fresh in my memory and be able to engage with the materials with more emotionality. Also, it will help in slowly breaking down my workload and treating each participant’s footage differently as I won’t be overlapping often.
As it often is with interviews, the subjects often talk for minutes upon minutes about things that will sadly not improve the storyline which you are trying to show, so I need to edit it in a way which is seamless. Ted say you should “Cut on words. The sound of a word, especially if it contains a hard consonant, can make an edit feel less obvious.” (Staff, 2014) This is a technique which I used very, very often. It helped vastly in creating cuts which didn’t take the audience’s attention away from the subject. However, I perhaps overused it and could have used a variety of shots that linked in with the participants feelings and not always do the same technique.
As parts of my footage wasn’t directly filmed by me, for instance some vlogs and the screen recordings done on their phones, I had issues in retrieving the data. I learnt a lot about the reliability of people, something I should have vexed beforehand. If I have had a longer interview process for my participants then perhaps I wouldn’t have had such issues as I would be certain they would relay the footage to be in an appropriate timescale and not leave me clambering for it. This lead to me not editing to the schedule I had previously decided on, not allowing me to take the proper care and attention to detail I would have liked to. This issue could have been solved by allowing myself more time for post production in my schedule to allow for such inconveniences to take place.
As I have spoken about in my previous blog posts, I had issues with audio in certain shoots with one of the participants. Whilst I attempted to save this and vastly improved some of the audio as well as cutting around some of the unsavable parts, some less than stellar footage had to be used due to it being integral to the storytelling process. If I had hired an editing assistant, they could have perhaps improved the situation further as they would have a larger knowledge than I of how to deal with situation such as the one I faced. This is something I should definitely consider more seriously in the future.
Doyle speaks about how as a producer/story editor you are expected to “act like an exec until you can produce results like an exec” (Freedman Doyle, 2012). So, this means I need to be confident in my footage and my truth that I am telling and be sure in the decisions I am making and keep making them until the final product resembles something of a high quality. I tried to do this to the best of my ability, however I feel this is something I lacked, I didn’t experiment enough in the way in which I edited the footage in fears that I would ruin it. This is something I need to work on in the future and be more headstrong and experimental.
An aspect I found particularly enthralling was creating the title sequence. I wanted to create something that was sleek, said a lot about the topic and introduced the participants. I followed guidelines by PremiumBeat on how to create a killer title sequence. (Premiumbeat.com, 2015) These tips included having a slick font, easy to read titles and to have fun animations that matched your genre. I feel I achieved all of these aspects, using logos and the book opening effect (to signify the diary like aspect of the film) to show the genre, a slick font to show it is modern and professional and easy to read titles by not over animating them and putting them in capitals.
Another piece of advice from TED was to “Keep things moving. The web audience has a short attention span.” (Staff, 2014). So, I ensured that one situation wasn’t drawn out for two long, changing between what the subject was doing and the subject themselves. Whilst this was effective, I could have perhaps cut to a larger variety of camera angles to keep it more visually interesting. This is something I aim to improve in the future.
As I had four participants filming over a week as well as various street interview sessions, I ended up with over 4 hours of footage to cut down to a fifth of its size. This is a task that cannot be understated of how difficult it was. You become attached to your footage and want to tell the whole story in and out, so you have to be ruthless and really know how to edit a documentary. VideoUniversity speak about editing a documentary and say that you should “look for and collect those magic moments of truth and beauty. Then you can begin to string them together and see what flows.” (VideoUniversity.com, 2015) So that’s exactly what I did. I looked through the footage and cut anything that didn’t add towards creating a magic moment or pointing towards the truth I wanted to show. Then, from there I further edited it down to only footage that flowed in the story arc. Whilst this was difficult, I feel I did an excellent job in cutting off all the non integral parts of the story and the entertainment I want to provide.
Despite post-production being incredibly difficult at the best of times for this production, it has helped me grow as a film editor and producer undoubtedly. It’s shown me all the things that can go wrong and how to plan for them and/or prevent them from happening in the future as well as how to push myself to better myself professionally and technically. I feel I can move onto my next project with buckets more confidence in this field.
Freedman Doyle, B. (2012) Make Your Movie. Burlington: Elsevier Science
Premiumbeat.com. (2015) 5 Easy Tips For Creating An Awesome Title Sequence [online] available from <http://www.premiumbeat.com/blog/5-easy-tips-for-creating-an-awesome-title-sequence/> [3 May 2016]
Staff, T. (2014) 10 Tips For Editing Video [online] available from <http://blog.ted.com/10-tips-for-editing-video/> [3 May 2016]
VideoUniversity.com. (2015) How To Edit And Structure Your Documentary – Videouniversity [online] available from <https://www.videouniversity.com/articles/how-to-edit-and-structure-your-documentary/> [4 May 2016]