It’s often considered the most time consuming part of making a film, but it can also be the most rewarding. Now is the time that you get to piece together your film from resources such as the story, music/audio, and recorded footage.
If you are new editing then consider watching this helpful video:
Edit Like a Pro
Here are some tips for making meaningful edits:
- Choose the best camera angles for each moment. As you look at your footage, your goal is to balance an actors intent with the expectations of the audience. Think about where the audience would want to be looking at different points during the film as if they were in the room — that will help you select the best camera angle to reconstruct each moment. By thinking about that, you are also choosing angles that help the actor better express his or her story.
- Use more close-ups and medium shots than wide shots. It’s important to cut between different camera angles so that the audience understands the space where the TED Talk took place. But once the talk is contextualized, close-ups and medium shots hold the most meaning for the audience. It’s engaging to watch an actors facial expressions and body language as they speak and, with a closer view, you can just see it better.
- Watch an actors body language and pay attention to the way they talk. Language is embodied. An actors thoughts, words and breath are all revealed through their body language. Meanwhile, each actor has a unique rhythm and cadence to their voice. If you pay attention to these things, it will provide a natural rhythm for your editing and it will all feel intuitive for the audience, too.
- Cut on action. One way to make the edit between two shots seem invisible is by cutting on a gesture. The viewer watches the beginning of a motion that begins in one shot and follows it as it crosses the edit and finishes in the next shot. The completion of the gesture masks the edit.
- Cut on words. The sound of a word, especially if it contains a hard consonant, can make an edit feel less obvious. When the word is one that is relevant to the main point of the scene, the edit can also highlight that word and make it more memorable.
- Keep things moving. The audience has a short attention span. Framing a scene with multiple camera angles is more dynamic and interesting than holding on one camera angle for a long period of time.
- Edit out mistakes. One of the great things about post-production is the ability to edit out mistakes, whether it be technical errors or human errors. Masking errors can be done by cutting on action.
- Take some space from your edit. After spending some time with the same edit, it’s easy to become desensitised to the material. So it’s important to step away. Taking a break from an edit and returning with fresh eyes can help you maintain your sense of audience and help you do your best work.
Once you are happy with your rough cut version of your film, review it to people who can give you an honest opinion and feedback. Ask them lots of questions and use this feedback to help polish up your rough cut until you are happy with your final cut. Just make sure you have followed the theme, the object is clear, there is continuity and that the final film is under five minutes long.