So this is the second post in our Progression Production Tips series, and today we’re looking at a few editing tips to give your videos that extra polish that will make viewers want to come back and watch again – or atleast watch all the way to the end ;-)

If you haven’t already then check out the first part on Filming if you haven’t already.

Now with editing you maybe working on any number of different software packages on a Mac, PC or Linux. At Fat Sand we are all about the Mac, and Final Cut Pro is whether we spend a huge amount of our time, but for this post everything we discuss applies to any platform/editing software.

Get Organised
trash-canWhether you’re movie is 30 seconds long or 30 minutes, its important to get organised in your editor. By this I mean get familiar with all the clips you have to work with, watch everything though and if you’re software allows name your clips and file them into folders/bins. If you can create a “To Delete” folder/bin and as you watch through your clips drag any ones that you don’t think are good enough into that folder. This will stop the urge to use them – you need to be fussy, if the clip is shakey, the action to far away or the rider completely silhouette then put them out of temptations way. You can always go back in and grab them if you are desperate or need a small section.

Film what you need
This is more of a filming tip but its only when you start editing that you realized its importance. When you start editing you’ll soon start to regret leaving the camera running for minutes on end, filming the 3 minutes of cruising around your mate did before he tried his jump. The more footage you have to trawl through the slower you will edit and the less time you can spend fine tuning and working on the polishing. Again be brutal, ditch those clip you aren’t impressed with, don’t capture them and if you do, get them on your computer then drag them straight to the trash ASAP!

Keep it short
If you remember one thing from this post, remember this – keep your video short! Two often editors feel they have to edit their video to fit to the 3 minutes 12 second of their favorite song or can’t face leaving out any of the shots they spent ages filming. What sets a great editor from a good editor is having the confidence to cut shots out of a sequence with no emotion. The fact is nothing any of us create is perfect and you have to make difficult decisions and throw away shots that you love – you can’t just crow bar them in. How more videos do we need to see where the rider does the same tricks 10 times, all from the same angle (OK, it works for instructional videos, but for action – never!) . Pick the best shot and move on. If you’re 3 minute master piece suddenly becomes 1 minute long then great, it will probably be watchable by people other then yourself ;-)

Keyboard Shortcuts
final-cut-key-boardMost editing programs will have keyboard shortcuts assigned for the core functions – marking in and out points, moving clips on the timeline, selecting groups of clips, changing tools etc. The more you edit the more you’ll want to learn the shortcuts. When any new junior editor starts are Fat Sand its the keyboard shortcuts that they first start to notice us using and we hammer them daily with all our favorites and they quickly come to wonder how they ever edited with out them.


3-Way Color Corrector from Final Cut Pro

Color correction
You may look at your own video and wonder why that new Andy Gordon video just jumps off the screen and yours doesn’t (yeah, lets look past the obvious 100’s of hours of after effects trickery). All good kite vids and every film and tv show is color corrected. The image that you see directly off the video camera maybe a bit flat, colors a bit washed out? Well there is a lot of color and picture information hidden in the image and using filters/plugins/settings (depends on your editing software) you can tweak the video image to give the shot more depth, style and character. Now color correction at the professional level is an immense and time consuming task, and this is one of the areas where professional editing software (Final Cut, Premiere, Avid etc) stand out, but there are some simple things you can do quickly and easily to give your video a quick fix.


Video Adjustments in iMovie 09

So first check what your software package offers you. In Final Cut Pro we have “3 Way Color Corrector Filter” (and several plugins to do even more advanced thing), in the new iMovie there is Video Adjustments pallet (look under the Window menu item – image on right), others can add comments below for how to color correct on other platforms.

  • Saturation – increase this very slightly – nothing drastic. This will give all the colors a bit of extra punch plus make the whites whiter and the blacks blacker.
  • White/Color Balance – You might have a color wheel, which allows you to change the color value for white (or with multiple wheels various levels of white/black) , adding a kind of color tint to your image – be careful with this one, don’t stray to far from the centre and try and find a natural look for your image that enhances the dominant colors in your image.

There isn’t a magic formula here, color correction takes time to master but have a play around and make small subtle changes to the dials and controls you have at your disposal.

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Software to use:
On a Mac: Final Cut Studio | Final Cut Express | Adobe Premiere | iMovie
On a PC: Adobe Premiere | Avid | Sony Vegas | Windows Movie Maker
On Linux: ???
Any further suggestions – let us know in the comments and I’ll add them here.

Next up is the final part of this blog post series, and we’ll round it off with tip for encoding and distributing your video.

Anyone got any further editing tips they want to share?