There are a couple of really key elements when it comes to editing video. One of those is feel. As a video editor, my job is to take whatever broll, interviews, pictures etc., and turn it into the best thing someone has ever seen Ok… not really, but my job is to make the best product I can with what I have. Sometimes that is really easy. Sometimes it is difficult. In that situation, positivity is key, and will get you a great product in a quick turn around.
Anyways, now for a practical example. I’m going to do a little walkthrough on a video I just wrapped up for our church. During our series “I Have Decided”, Pastor Chris gave a spontaneous call to baptism, and our video team was there to document it and get people’s stories. Go ahead and watch the video, and I’ll do a walkthrough.
My first task with a video like this is to pick a song. The song is going to be the key element which drives the video, and what will determine how you cut your video and where you place certain elements. So I found this song from one of my favorite composers, Tony Anderson. Great stuff.
I definitely cut up the song to flow the way I wanted it to. I had it drop down after the big chorus part, and the brought it back up and repeated the chorus and then had it end. More times than not, I am cutting up the song to match the feel I want, or make it fit in the time frame I want.
Ok, now to the edit. The song is very soft right there in the beginning, so I decided to add some text to bring the video into context. I actually decided to do this towards the end of my edit.
When the piano hits at 12 seconds, the song is “calling” for an action. If the video didn’t do anything, it’s a waste of a moment and will feel awkward. The song is still pretty slow and gentle so I had slomo footage going on the top of some soundbytes from Pastor Chris. I let these shots sit for a while and had them develop. In between the shots, I had the footage dip to black before I faded up the next clip. A cross dissolve would have been gross and a hard cut would not fit with the music because the music is quiet.
The music picks up at 31 seconds with a piano melody. This also “calls” for a change in pace, so I faded out of the slomo footage and brought in some interviews. I am dominating the interviews with baptism footage. Showing the person’s interview gives some context, but it feels better to have the baptism footage. It is also going along with what they are talking about, and it is a visual aid for the people that weren’t there.
The music is gradually building the whole time while the interviews are going. This helps build momentum and helps the edit not feel stale.
At 1:38, the music crescendos into the chorus. This is another “call” for action, so I added a flashframe transition into a section of a bunch of people getting baptized. Now, most of the shots are not in slow motion and move pretty fast. There’s a lot of action and relatively fast cuts. You don’t want to cut too fast, because the viewer won’t be able to tell what’s going on.
At 1:58, the chorus ends and starts to dip down, so I did a slow fade on the last clip. I also was intentional to make sure the last clip of that section was impactful and exciting. I waited a second or two and brought in another interview while the music kept dying down. This was one the best interviews we got that day, and his ending statement was really good and was an action point into the next section. Right as the music builds back into the chorus section, I made the interview end and flashframe into another relatively fast cutting baptism section. If you watch the two chorus sections back to back, you will notice that this one has a little longer shots, and they have a little more action and emotion. This helps drive home the video. The video ends on a dad having a great smile after getting baptized. I flashframed to black and faded up our I Have Decided logo. This pulls the video together with our series and also gives some space during the service while the congregation claps.
I hope this helps you understand feel a little more. One of the main things with a video like this is to find the right song and maximize the song to work for you. You can pick a great song, but if the edit doesn’t fit and take advantage of the “calls” for action, than it won’t feel very good and make sense. Also, make sure your edit is progressing. Don’t go from very quite moment to a intense loud chorus. That won’t feel good either. Make sure the song is progressing to the crescendo and make sure your edits are progressing as well.
I hope this helps, and as always, feel free to comment with questions! I would love to help!