When you are handed bad footage

Viewing 20 reply threads
  • Author
    • #46133

      Hi Kids –

      A lot of what I do is edit someone else’s footage to make corporate/promotional video.

      I am in the process of creating a promotional video using footage that was sent to me (I had no input into what or how things were recorded). When I got the footage I was appalled at how bad it was – I think they used a ND filter indoors, firehose style filming, bad color balance, etc… (I am still working on trying to make a cohesive 15 minute piece from this mess, replete with voiceover, fx, video & audio cleanup, etc…).

      In any case, in going through the footage it cried out for a fast tempo piece (due to it being tough to find 10 seconds of decent contiguous footage) – This is what I did over the weekend – Lemme know what you folks have to say about my trying to make lemonade when handed lemons.

      My quickie piece: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GhXOJXBILE0

    • #190515

      lol, I had a blonde moment and was about to say you misspelled personalities (clever play on words by the way)! I think its a great video and kept me entertained even with having no interest in purses whatsoever! It is a nice simple way to keep attention and promote the event.

    • #190516

      safe to say you’ve managed to make a silk purse out of a sows ear there


    • #190517


      Looks like you’ve ‘put a collar on that dog’. VO describing the event will make the project seem like it was shot that way on purpose.

    • #190518

      Well, the good news is the client loves it.

      The bad news is I gotta find 10-15 minutes worth of usable footage in the 2.25 hours of trash I’m working with.

      I gotta stop working miracles…

    • #190519

      It would have been a lot better if they had kept the footage in one place for ten minutes

    • #190520

      I would love to there to be one minute of contiguous footage – really. I’m heading for my stock video now…

    • #190521

      I don’t see any real problems, it looks good to me. Personally, when faced with bad footage I try to use effects to hid the color problems I can’t correct and fast cuts to hide jerky shots. Also, slomo will sometimes work at reducing jerkiness.

      After Effects has a function that smooths footage, but it also introduces some “interesting” artifacts so it is not an unmixed blessing.

    • #190522

      Why would your client want 15 minutes of this? 3 minutes would be more than enough to get their point across. I hate having to work with crappy video.

      Good luck on making it 15.

    • #190523

      Bruse, great job. I’m wondering if your reaction to the first viewing of the footage inspired your use of the fireworks. I have to agree with Videoscraper that 3 minutes is plenty of this but you gotta do what you gotta do. I like Composite’s idea about adding a VO. Perhaps the client would furnish this or at least the script for it. I think that if possible I might return to the scene of the crime and shoot some B-roll myself (adding my time for this into the equation). Good luck with finishing the project, this will shorten your time in purgatory. Keep shooting.

    • #190524


      Thanks for sharing the fruits of your labour.  I am now very happily retired from this kind of job: making lemonade from lemons, and seeing your work reminded me of the difference between a Profession and a Trade. A Tradesman looks over the best efforts of others and pours scorn on it, but the Professional soothes the client, assures them they have come to the right (maybe only) person to rescue them ever-so-discretely from the mess they find themselves in.  There were only three things that protected me from terminal depression: total arrogance (I really was the best at this kind of stuff), my amusement when the client expresses their status by sharing some minor disappointment about some aspect of your miracle rescue, and being “reassuringly expensive” in my billing. And when I cringe at the memory of past projects, I just look at all the wonderful things the ineptitude of others has bought me. Bless all my benefactors!

      Great work. Pacy music, fleeting shots.  A mix of stills, captions, soundbites.  And include a shot of the person paying your bill. Ah, takes me back… (actually wild horses wouldn’t take me back into that quagmire!) Look forward to your fee. :-))

    • #190525

      Hi Kids –

      Thanks for the kind words.

      The reason I need to do a full cut on this is I have done two prior vids showcasing the event, with a script & voiceover I did, detailing not only the event but the business and why it makes sense as a fundraiser. In each case I was sent video and had to work with someone else’s stuff. In one case I had decent footage to work with, in the other not as good, but nothing as bad as the stuff I am working with now. This is the type of video the client ultimately wants, something to use as a promotional video to drive business her way.

      I have a script, need to record a VO, identified some stock footage I can use, have the titles built, short clips id’d and just need to find interview footage I can use and put it all together. I like this client and she has recently had some heartache in her life and I’d like nothing more than to help her feel a bit better (plus it is nice when they tell you how you’re a genius).

      Anyway, here are the first two vids I did:



    • #190526

      This is one of those gigs where you have to settle for the TYMAR (Take Your Money And Run) approach. Happens from time to time to all of us who edit for a living. The most important thing is never to let your company name appear anywhere on the finished product, and hope the client will soon forget where the project was edited so they can’t attribute it to you to their friends.


    • #190527
      AvatarGrinner Hester

      It’s safe to say that more than half of my gig is not enhancing other people’s nice shots, but polishing turds. lol

      My footage comes from all over the world and is shot by everyone from great DPs with vast experience to local news photogs who have not so much as shot a wedding. Over the last 25 years it’s what made me such a good editor, and why I am able to shoot the way I do today… loose and one take. I don’t mid int he lease. It pays more because I have to spend more time in post and the bad broll justifies my travel next time so I get to shoot more later. Win/win.

    • #190528

      My biggest life lesson to date when it comes to shooting, IF you find yourself with a client that insists on micromanaging a project, and they don’t know what they’re doing, and they won’t listen to you, YOU WILL wind up polishing a lot of turds, and YOU WILL find yourself getting blamed for everything that goes wrong, and YOU WILL learn:

      Sometimes it is best if you let certain clients and certain problems become your competitors problem.

    • #190529

      Actually, this client is a gem – Love her – Wish every client was like her. She’s reasonable and tells me I have complete creative control (after the footage is recorded though). If she doesn’t like it she will tell me and I’ll work with her changes then but thus far, she has been more than pleased with what I have done for her.

    • #190530

       Good work so far.  You may also consider creating some titles or graphics that the client believes “highlight” the event.  Funny stories, important people, new styles, the location – anything pertinent.  Still 15 minutes?!  Hey, at least you can charge more for the time it’ll take you… 

    • #190531

      I like Jack’s advice! I sometimes get snookered into editing other peoples’ stuff and it is almost always bad. I don’t know why I agree to it.

    • #190532
      AvatarGrinner Hester

      fo dat dolla, of course.

    • #190533

       Again witht he goofy “post” errors…..

    • #190534

      Actually I was pretty impressed – you had lots of B roll in there, closeups – damn nice! I was really blown away – but after 3 mins – time to get to something else. Attention span – you know the drill. Less is more.

      if you want to keep that going, then you need to add something like a voice over to keep it interesting. But the cuts and transitions were great! I am not one in favor of these fancy transitions with flying, twirling whatevers – doesn’t look professional. You never find them in great movies. Again – keep it simple.

      On the second and third vids, the video was nice, but the male VO didn’t cut it for me. It was echoey, not the right voice, too tenor, not masculine enough – sounded like a high school project. It sounded like it was read – phoney. Find a better voice. Get a radio announcer to do it. Preferably with a deep male voice, or British even – adds interest.

Viewing 20 reply threads
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Best Products

The best live streaming equipment — 2021

These days, anyone with access to a smartphone can connect with fans and friends from all over the world. However, the more complex your stream, the more gear you’ll likely need. Each set up has advantages and disadvantages, and...