Editing image and sound

In the editing phase you build the video and its story from the material that you’ve shot and recorded or gathered from external sources.

Editing is like taking your viewer for a ride – carrying her through the story. You have to know where you’re headed already in the earlier stages of production but in the editing room you decide which roads to eventually take and at what pace to drive. The editor tries to be the puppet master controlling the viewer’s thoughts, giving pieces of information to build the puzzle.

When editing you need to keep in mind the consistency and continuity of the story. You usually want to achieve a smooth flow of movement, action, information and feelings. Ultimately you aim for a consistent thought process in the viewer’s head that results in a pleasurable viewing experience.

Picture editing

There are no ultimate rules for editing or cutting from one image to another: anything that seems to work in your project and for your goal cannot be wrong. However here are some tips to keep in mind in the editing room when combining shots:

  • Cutting between two very similar shots (similar in shot field size, character placement, color etc.) usually results in a blink or “jump” effect in the cut. Aim for higher variety in shots if you want to reduce this effect.
  • Cutting back and forth between two same shots can produce a repetitive feeling. Avoid excess cutting between shots (keep a shot longer) or aim for variety in shots.

Editing sound

The soundscape for the video is build from these elements (roughly speaking):

  • audio which is in synchronized with the video, recorded on set
  • audio effects (point effects) recorded separately, added later on
  • music
  • voice over

In the Snapshots video presenting the Aalto Fablab, there is a lot of audio, which is synchronized with the video, for example the interviews and action shots. No voice over or music is used.

In the beginning of the Aalto Fablab video there is the 3D printer close-up with a separately recorded 3D printer sound. The same sound is used later on as an effect to bind the story together and in the end of the video one could even say that the sound works like an abstract piece of music.

Editing interviews: When the interview sound is used in union with some other image material than the talking head, you can cut parts of the speech away or even try to eliminate excess words from the middle. However take care that natural rhythm and pauses remain in the speech.

Editing facilities

Aalto Media Factory has two bookable editing units with Adobe Premiere Pro editing software available for Aalto personnel and students (link). You can also get the IT department to install Premiere on your working computer and in some cases Apple Final Cut Pro X (mac). Notice however that you need a lot of processor power to edit HD video and not all office computers might be up to the task.

Freeware editing programs include Windows Movie Maker for pc and iMovie for Mac. They allow simple editing with basic video formats.

Next: Graphic design.