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How do I stay "fresh" when reviewing edits?

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Anthony Atkielski
How do I stay "fresh" when reviewing edits?
on Feb 9, 2012 at 2:46:28 am

I'm having a problem in my editing in remaining objective and "fresh" when reviewing my edits. In other words, after looking at the same sequence over and over and over, it becomes difficult for me to look at it in a way that allows me to see if it really flows smoothly. Sometimes if I render a large chunk of the video and watch that, it helps a little, but very often there are problems that I don't see unless I completely abandon the editing for a while and come back to it much later (like days later). Obviously that's not very practical, so I am wondering if there are any "tricks" that would allow me to take a fresh look at my edits to see if they look okay, without having to turn away from the project for a long period.

Are there any methods that help to do this? I guess it applies to a lot of creative work generally (writing books, paintings, music, whatever), but I'd still like to know if there are any methods specific to editing that help you to step back and check out your work. It's frustrating to finish some edits, then set things aside for a while, only to discover the next time you look at the results that they really don't flow very well at all. Maybe it's a question of talent rather than something you can learn (?).


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Glen Montgomery
Re: How do I stay
on Feb 9, 2012 at 4:13:18 am

Try putting the cut on in another viewing medium. Step away for 15 minutes and export a file to watch on your playstation or a DVD to watch on your television or put it on your iPad. Sometimes being in a different room and the subconscious influences of an audience's environment instead of an edit suite can help you see it like your viewers might.

Editor / Motion Graphics Artist, Denver CO
http://coldpost.tv/


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Renato Sanjuán
Re: How do I stay
on Feb 9, 2012 at 12:04:47 pm

There was a thread on this same topic a while back and some pretty interesting methods were suggested, such as using a mirror to flip the image or even watching it upside down.

I usually use the method suggested by Glen, I burn a DVD or make a mixdown and watch it on my TV. It makes a big difference. Different room, different screen, a couch instead of a chair, no chance of stopping and fixing this or that little thing, you just sit and watch it as a whole.

Turning down the volume is also good. If it flows with no sound it'll be great with a soundtrack.

I also try to remember what my very first impression of the footage was. I sometimes develop a Stockholm Syndrome for bad footage. Weeks and weeks of trying to get it to work can make you think "it's not that bad, it kinda works…"
Then you see it on your couch and it doesn't really work. Then you remember you never really liked it. Time to get your scissors.

I find my very first impression is a very accurate measure.

This is the thread I was talking about.

http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/27/859575#859588


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Christopher Travis
Re: How do I stay
on Feb 9, 2012 at 2:38:50 pm

Show what you've done to someone else. Anyone. Your friend, partner, mum, whoever. This works for me EVERY time. The second I press play and show my work to someone else, all of the problems start leaping out at me. Suddenly I am seeing this through their eyes and I have a whole new perspective on the clip. Also, when it's finished you can get them to tell you what they thought which is also invaluable.


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Mark Suszko
Re: How do I stay
on Feb 9, 2012 at 4:18:34 pm

I agree with Christopher. Grab any warm body passing by and ask them to watch it. Don't prejudice them in advance, don't explain or pre-justify anything. Let them watch, ask for an overall impression. If they can't express it, then ask leading questions like: "Did it seem fast or slow to you?" "Did you learn something you didn't know before?" " Does person x in the video seem smart to you?" "What's missing that you expected?"

No matter what they say, thank them for it. Evaluate their remarks privately. They may be wrong about certain things, but generally you should trust the first impression overall.

My wife's a great graphic artist, and when she's painting a portrait, she'll often turn the canvas upside-down while evaluating the composition, lighting, colors, and perspective, etc.

One other editor's technique is to play the whole thing with the sound off, see if it tells the story visually, then play just the audio, no picture, decide if the audio tells the story well enough. If both of those are working well individually, you tend to get great synergy when they're put together. This test often reveals weaknesses where someone got lazy or was limited with the raw material, and they just cut picture to an audio track, what I call "radio, with pictures", not real TV.


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Juris Eksts
Re: How do I stay "fresh" when reviewing edits?
on Feb 9, 2012 at 6:20:08 pm

All of the above, but also very simply, I stand at the back of the room to watch either a longish section, or especially all the way through, that in itself gives a different perspective.


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Anthony Atkielski
Re: How do I stay "fresh" when reviewing edits?
on Feb 23, 2012 at 1:51:24 pm

Thank you for all the suggestions and the pointer to the other thread. I'm relieved to see that real editors apparently have the same difficulty remaining "fresh" as I do. I'll try to use some of these methods to keep my viewpoint objective.


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