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New-ish to the game. Need advice.

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Erin Rakestraw
New-ish to the game. Need advice.
on Feb 22, 2012 at 7:16:57 pm

I do freelance editing, but still have a long way to go until I consider myself fully skillful. I have to cut together a sizzle reel for an event company. I have a rough together and would love a critique. The company sent me their VO after they saw the initial edit with music and without the interview soundbites. It was initially a 2:00 piece that I had to edit down to 1:40, but I'm worried that the VO doesn't follow the video. I know everything they say is very generic so it may be that the video would work in any order, but I'd love some advice from a professional. Be mindful that they are on a budget so I would like to avoid reworking the entire edit if possible. Thanks!

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Mark Suszko
Re: New-ish to the game. Need advice.
on Feb 22, 2012 at 9:02:10 pm

The audio narration is badly recorded, for one thing, and it needs a better voice talent. Re-record it in a booth with a good mic and someone with dramatic narration skills. Local DJ's will often do this as a side job for reasonable pay.

The script is a little disjointed.
The language is too passive, the call to action is weak. The opening is confusing and starts off in the wrong direction. Think about the key audience for this: it's not the families that come to the event, it's the decision-makers that book the company FOR the event. You want to push the items that mean the most to those decision-makers.

Make the script use active voice, and more clearly state the benefits and call to action. That call to action might be a phone call, if so, leave the number plastered up all thru-out as a lower-third and freeze on it at the end.

Did I miss a logo for Compass Rose in there somewhere? It should probably be up the whole length of the video as a bug in the corner, and full screen at front and back. The logos of the satisfied customers are too short and easily forgotten. Maybe they work better as a crawl?

I'm not sure if Compass Rose just does catering food, or if they bring in, set up, and operate all those rides and games too.

Lose the closeup shot of the girl with the airsoft/paintball gun because she's not wearing any safety gear like goggles or a helmet and face mask, you're asking for legal troubles.

The testimonials are kind of weak and diffuse, and could stand shortening-up. I might montage them all rapidly at the beginning and get them out of the way, or wrap with them.

Overall it's not bad, but it's not yet something that jumps out and drags you in. It has potentials as yet unrealized.

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Erin Rakestraw
Re: New-ish to the game. Need advice.
on Feb 22, 2012 at 9:23:34 pm

Thanks for the critique. Yes the audio is a scratch track. We will have hired talent do the final VO. Unfortunately, I can't do much to address the script as it is what the company has decided on. I will see if I can push them to change the wording. It opens with the logo, but I may bookend it and I like the idea of keeping it on the screen throughout the video. I don't have a lot of great testimonials to work with, but I can't definitely trim them up. This is still the rough cut obviously. I will add lower-thirds to identify the testimonials. Again, I appreciate the feedback.

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Scott Cumbo
Re: New-ish to the game. Need advice.
on Feb 24, 2012 at 4:22:40 am

my 2 cents:
won't comment on the script or shot selection cause you said it's their script and i have no idea what you had to work with but...

everything needs to be tighter, Vo needs to be faster, you don't need a lot of the breaks between VO's. a breath is fine but don't let things uselessly hang. the testimonials (spelling? i know i spell like a 2 year old, thats what producers are for) anyway the need to be tighter. have the on screen for 3 or 4 seconds to L3rd them (if you have to) then cut to b-roll so you can clean up their audio. take out their "ahhs" & "umms"

you can easily get it down to 60 seconds.... which is still a little long for the content they actually have.

good luck

Scott Cumbo
Broadway Video, NYC

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Erin Rakestraw
Re: New-ish to the game. Need advice.
on Feb 24, 2012 at 4:06:00 pm


Originally the video was cut to the beat of the music underneath and it made sense. Is that irrelevant at this point? Thanks for the advice.

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adam taylor
Re: New-ish to the game. Need advice.
on Mar 5, 2012 at 12:17:13 pm

Everything said above is really great advice.

My few pennies....You could easily cut that down to 45seconds, and make it much stronger in the process.

The edits need to be a lot snappier. Use the music as a guide, but don't cut religiously to the beat as that can become very predictable very quickly.

Rather than cut on the beat, look for ways to synchronise action within the shot to the beat. Much more effective at tying the edit together.

The testimonials are dull and tedious. You need to pick the best phrase from within a sentence, not necessarily the entire sentence. If there are two great phrases separated by dullness, then edit and use B-roll to cover. (I'm thinking of the guy holding the kid - his first few words and last few were great - the rest should be lost.)

I forgot who you were promoting (not good for a promotions company!).

The script mentions corporate clients but a long time after the logos had vanished, making the mental link between the two distracting.

Study a few well made commercials and you will begin to realise how much you can cut out, and still leave enough of a shot to tell the story.

In fact a quick exercise - i'd take your edit, switch off the audio then cut every shot to be half its current duration, picking what you feel is the best part of the shot (the middle half might be stronger than the start or ending half). Then switch the music back on and watch it back. I bet it feels snappier without feeling like anything is missing.

Stick with it -it'll come with practice


Adam Taylor
Video Editor/Audio Mixer/ Compositor/Motion GFX/Barista
Character Options Ltd
Oldham, UK
My YouTube Animations Page

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