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Editing techniques for cutting mid sentence?

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Max Palmer
Editing techniques for cutting mid sentence?
on Oct 18, 2012 at 3:13:17 pm

I posted a few days ago about a project I'm working on here at work (different edit question though). Basically, it's an interview style video, with 6 executives talking about their experiences. It won't be a straight-forward "Ask a question: Executive one gives his answer, executive 2 gives his answer, executive 3 gives his answer" and so on and so on. Instead, each section of the video will be a couple of minutes long, and each clip will be made up of the best comments from all the execs. Since this is unscripted, and they're basically thinking out loud, there is often no lead time after a sentence, and they start speaking another thought right away. Obviously I want to eliminate any breaths or sounds that may occur as a result of this, and avoid any awkward cuts. Are there any techniques I could look at to prevent this?


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Richard Herd
Re: Editing techniques for cutting mid sentence?
on Oct 18, 2012 at 6:27:25 pm

Crossfades on the audio will probably help a lot. Splitting the video and audio, and placing the audio on separate tracks so you can get a bit more media-handle to work with can improve the fade.

Pacing on stuff like this needs a smooth touch because it can come off as machine-gunny and start loping in predictable ways that will cause the audience to unconsciously tune out. Rather than cutting pure sound bites for everything include context on some clips too. (Hope that makes sense.)


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Max Palmer
Re: Editing techniques for cutting mid sentence?
on Oct 18, 2012 at 6:43:24 pm

That does make a lot of sense, thanks for the suggestion!


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Mark Suszko
Re: Editing techniques for cutting mid sentence?
on Oct 18, 2012 at 7:17:37 pm

L-cuts are your friend here, as are cut-aways. Try to get plenty of cut-aways in the ten minutes before they start, but once they are all in place.


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Angelo Lorenzo
Re: Editing techniques for cutting mid sentence?
on Oct 19, 2012 at 7:03:07 am

I agree with the use of L and J cuts with judicious use of cross fades as well as cut aways/reaction shots if you have them. Also, if appropriate, you could integrate illustrated examples of their answers, infographics, etc if you are hurting for cutaways.

If it's a topic transition then crossfades wouldn't be out of place either.

Angelo Lorenzo
Fallen Empire Digital Production Services - Los Angeles
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Christopher Travis
Re: Editing techniques for cutting mid sentence?
on Oct 19, 2012 at 8:13:37 am

Maybe an obvious one, but try working with the video track turned off at the start. This focus you on the sound of their voices and will help you determine if the rhythm of your answers is sounding natural or not.


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Bob Cole
Re: Editing techniques for cutting mid sentence?
on Oct 19, 2012 at 8:04:32 pm

1. Avoid "lip flaps," i.e. at the end of a bite, you can see the lips move but you can't hear anything because of the L-cut.
2. Try flopping the talking heads, or edit so that they're not all facing the same way in cut after cut.
3. Use a style that accommodates the material. If you're getting that jammed-up feeling, insert full-frame intertitles between speakers (with, for example, the name and position of the next speaker, or a topic sentence, typed out). That way you can adjust the spacing of the next audio however you like.

Good luck.


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Allen Freeman
Re: Editing techniques for cutting mid sentence?
on Apr 23, 2013 at 1:32:53 pm

Also, be sure to record some room tone during the shoot. You can use this to add in a bit of "dead air" between sentences when needed. It sounds much more natural than just cutting the audio to actual silence, which can seem jarring.


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