Editing - How Do I Do This Stuff?

Editing - How Do I Do This Stuff?

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Sorry to appear to have t

artsmith's picture
Sorry to appear to have too much time-on-my-hands and seeming to set myself up as a home-grown expert on everything, which I am not. But, I've done huge amounts of video-editing over the past five years. The best advice I could give, from countless false-starts, is to establish a working-method based around a realistic appraisal of the resources at your disposal. My project is five-years into the 'making'. It has been derailed countless times, one being a point-blank refusal on the part of new 'owners' to allow me to re-activate Ulead's Media Studio 8 Pro, after a catastrophic computer breakdown. I eventually went over to 'Magix' and having used the 'Pro' package for a year or more, went over to 'Movie-Edit Pro 17' which suits my working methods perfectly and will be much cheaper to upgrade in-the-future. My method, for what it is worth, involves my downloading the DV-AVI footage and logging it 'in' as soon as possible after shooting, generally during a long session on the night of the event. Do things when every detail of your day is still fresh in your mind. Review your footage before too long as well, go over what you have and see if there is sufficient to follow the commentary script beginning to 'gel' in your mind. If not, (and provided it is possible to return to the locations, as I have done lately), go and shoot the missing material, bearing in mind that overhead conditions and natural lighting, cloud-cover etc. have to be near enough to identical. Whatever your bulk data storage method, transfer all needed material to a USB hard-drive devoted to that single project, (1tB is not too much for half-an-hour screen-time), so that the material is fed directly to the editing/rendering processes from a hard-drive and not from a flash device. That also avoids your bulk-storage area becoming cluttered-up with 'extra' files which some processes add to the bulk-footage during the editing process, as 'Magix' tends to do. At the end of the project, and only then, reformat the drive. Type out your script and record the commentary. It is a lot less trouble to record that with the computer switched-off to avoid the intrusion of cooling-fan noise etc. which will later have to be removed. I do mine using a high-quality Sennheiser mic. into a Microtrack II audio recorder. Edit the audio material and from the various 'takes' extract one word-perfect paragraph from each. (Chop them into a cut-and-paste version from several 'takes' if you have to). Re-record that with whatever audio editing is necessary including a 'clean-up'. Label each paragraph number in-a-file, and include the first four or five words of each paragraph as the title, along with the para number. It's handy extra identification. Lay those out, in line-astern, provisionally, into your timeline, leave spaces for future adjustments, as there will be many as the edited masterpiece begins to take-shape. Basically, you simply take it from there using all the video/audio tracks available to you for optimum effect. That usually means keeping the same stuff, on the same tracks, throughout the production. For example, I put avi and mpg2 on different tracks. Add your video to keep pace with your commentary, ensuring that the shots used are those most relevant to the unfolding narrative. As you might have worked out, that is fine for the natural-history based 'doco' I do, but might not work for everything. Working from a pre-prepared commentary instills a certain discipline and order to the production and keeps the ultimate goal firmly in-sight, The last thing you should do, in my opinion, is to just let your production 'happen'. It never works.