How To

Editing & Post Production – Video on a budget series Part 4

Photograph of the blog post author, Mary Woodcock

Mary Woodcock


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Now that you’ve got all of your footage, you’re on to the final stretch of completing your music video; editing.

We are editing our video in Adobe Premiere Pro, which is one of the most user friendly editing suites available; however, it can come at a cost.  Be aware that if you’re budget is already running a little bit high you might need to look elsewhere. There are also some free options including Windows Movie Maker. As always, freeware often won’t match up to the quality provided by the paid variations.

It is also possible to hire editing suites if your computer is unable to handle the sheer quantity of data. Editing can require a lot of memory for your computer to process all of the footage, so be aware of that if your equipment is not as high spec.

On the other hand, editing can be one of the longest parts of the process depending on how complicated your video has become, so you shouldn’t underestimate how long it will take to get your end result. Hiring an editing suite can be pretty pricey, with some Suite’s in London charging a rate of £150 per day.

The great thing about editing is that this is the point where you really get to play around with your footage; you might find that certain things from your storyboard don’t really work when you watch them back, but you might also serendipitously find that other things look a lot better than you would expect.

First things first, familiarise yourself with all of your footage; really try and get a good idea of what shots you have and which of them you prefer. If you did multiple takes of your sequences, check through them all thoroughly so you know which parts of each take where the best and which were the neatest overall.

Most editing tools work in roughly the same way, taking a clip and putting it on a timeline, then cutting the length of that clip and then transitioning it to the next. Most editing software comes with transition effects and fades, but for the most part it’s best to keep your editing neutral and avoid trying to be flashy. It could really take your viewer out of the experience.

Make sure you keep a close eye on your continuity; the aim, for the majority of music videos, should be creating a seamless stream of editing that does not jar the audience. They should be able to be absorbed by the music without being distracted by the fact that people are jumping in place wildly between shots, or other glaring continuity errors.

Remember that you are editing to the music; the song already has a rhythm for you to edit to, and you’ll find it extremely helpful if you’re not sure where to cut a shot.

What you’re looking for at this point is to roughly cut together an initial draft of your desired video to give you a guideline of the end result. This is your “First Cut”.

When you’ve got a first cut ready get some feedback on it. Show it to your friends and other collaborators, and ask them to pay close attention; is there anything that doesn’t work? Any shot that goes on a moment too long? Make as many notes as you can. You’ll probably have to go through several revisions before you get to your final product.

Due to the changes we were forced to make because of the heavy snowfall during our shooting, we had to move away from using our storyboard as the guideline for editing, although several sequences would still be roughly the same.

Unfortunately, we had a few issues with the edit as originally it was in the hands of the filmmaker, but because of her busy schedule she was in demand. In the end she did the lion’s share of the edit and then handed the reigns over to me to finish it.

When editing our video one of the issues that presented itself was matching the momentum of the music to the momentum of the visuals on screen; the song builds to a heavy climax, and although the footage we had matched what we had originally planned in the storyboard on screen we weren’t sure that it looked quite as effective.

This was because many of our shots were too static and there was not enough movement to match the hectic build of the song. The imagery works very effectively during the slower, more serene verses, but could end up being too dissonant to the heavier fragments.

The suggestion from our filmmaker was instead to build the emotional stakes, and create the sensation of building and movement through the use of fast paced editing and quick cuts. Only a few moments of each shot in a continuous build.

For us the editing process has been by far the longest stretch of the overall project. At the moment we are assessing our first cut and we are polishing it until we have a final product we can all be proud of. When we’ve finished, we’ll start looking at release platforms so that we can share our video with as many people as we can.

Until then we’ve put together a short teaser trailer to show you the work in development and to let you know what’s on the way:

Click here to watch Hana’s teaser trailer

We at Music Gateway want to give Hana a massive thanks for putting this video and blog together, for sharing her experiences and process’s towards making this great series.

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