- Plan your editing before you shoot.
- Keep shot logs while shooting.
- Shoot to edit: leave extra room at beginning and end of each shot to trim later.
- Be brave: cut with abandon. Don’t get attached to clips that don’t further the specific project.
- To avoid jump cuts, vary shot angles and lengths as you are shooting.
- Use the best available tape formats when you are shooting and editing.
- Keep clips short whenever possible (6-10 seconds).
- Cut on the action.
- Avoid making edits in the middle of a sentence.
- Don’t cut a scene too early; record past the end of a selected clip and then rewind to the new edit point.
- Split long videos into shorter segments.
- Keep your entire project short: It’s kinder to the audience and easier to finish.
- Sequence shots to establish location: for example, establishing shot, medium, closeup.
- Never make more than three edits without reviewing them in context.
Tips on setting up gear
- Pack all new tapes (fast forward to the end, then rewind to the beginning).
- Use S-video cables whenever possible.
- Wrap cables with twist-ties to avoid workspace clutter.
Tips on transitions
- Use the basic cut in at least 90% of all edits.
- Use fancy transitions and effects sparingly.
- Fades or dissolves are useful for indicating elapsed time.
Tips on graphics
- Leave titles on screen long enough to read twice.
- Use graphics to underscore important points.
- Use large, thick letters.
- Choose titling fonts for readability.
- Don’t use heavily saturated colors for titles or graphics.
Tips on audio
- If you have audio gain control on your record deck, set and check your audio levels on the record deck, not on the speakers or TV monitor.
- Use headphones or speakers to monitor audio.
- Use your computer’s CD-ROM or a separate CD player to add music.
- Background music is a good way to spice up an otherwise dry video presentation.
- Use multiple audio tracks to add multiple sound layers to your video.
- Mix background audio (music, sound effects, etc.) slightly lower than you think you should.
Which shots to eliminate
- Poorly lit
- Badly framed
- Shot of your feet
- Wind noise
- Too many zooms, pans, tilts, etc.
- Extremely long camera moves
- Indecisive camera movements
Which shots to use
- Good, clear audio
- Well composed
- Well lit
- Movement within the frame