Viewfinder: In-Camera Editing

During this time when affordable technology is tripped up by a suppressed economy, it’s difficult for many video enthusiasts to acquire the equipment necessary to create a video masterpiece. What are video producers to do when they cannot afford to develop a full-blown editing environment, after they’ve spent a personal fortune on their video camera, DSLR (digital single-lens reflex), smart phone or tablet with built-in camera and have generated so much footage that needs serious editing?

Start planning your shots and hone your in-camera editing skills! Sure, we cannot all afford the best in editing equipment, but we can seriously improve our productions. Make them worth sharing simply by framing, focusing and establishing our shots before we hit the record button.

In-camera editing isn’t a lost art. It remains alive and well, and even video enthusiasts who are paid for their work use simple techniques that enhance their shots right out of the camera with no editing system in sight.

Many single-operator wedding videographers use in-camera editing, offering them a way to compete not only in price but in turnaround times, often delivering their product at the end of the event. This was more common during days of recording direct-to-tape but it still allows for delivery of quality productions with minimum or no editing in a matter of days.

With the many options for delivery on media from tape to DVD, USB flash drive to memory card, hard drives to downloadable files over the Internet, in-camera editing offers enterprising video enthusiasts the opportunity to provide all three levels of marketability: good, cheap and fast.

While many videographers have the option to edit in post, they develop a tendency to record more footage than needed to visually tell the story, cherry-picking the best shots in post to edit a slick production, but this isn’t the only way to get the job done.

Editing In-camera
Editing In-camera
By learning to read the action, follow the flow of the event, deciding what to shoot and what to avoid, determining what should be in the frame and what should be cropped before the shoot begins, we can all hone skills that help create good production value that looks for all the world like professional edits. In-camera editing can also reduce the amount of time spent in post for those who do have access to other editing options. Cleaner and leaner shooting via in-camera editing reduces the amount of time spent on clean-up editing in post, if even necessary after a bit of practice.

While weddings and audio continuity may present bigger challenges to the single-camera producer trying a hand at in-camera editing techniques, most other events such as birthday parties, anniversary celebrations and other occasions without a planned or linear program are ideal for practicing some in-camera editing techniques. Such experiences will soon prove to us we don’t have to record everything to tell the story.

In-camera editing is an often overlooked option when it comes to video production. It does take planning skills. Practice planning your shots at your next event and cut down on the time you have to spend in post.

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