Rookie Editing Question...
Ok, forgive me if this is a stupid question. I am making my first short film. I edited together the basic scenes on Windows Movie Maker, and then added the audio clips and synced them to the video where the dialogue is spoken. I then saved the rough edited scenes in high res, using the basic 'save video in high res' button. Ok, so my plan is then to pay an experienced video editor to simply take all the finished scenes, and piece them together into his editing program timeline, and do a final polish and edit. Meaning, to polish the audio, color grade, transitions, add music, credits, add room tone, foley, etc. So the question is, is it ok that the scenes are pre-saved/rendered rather than giving editor a project type of file? I doubt WMM would be readable by most pro editing softwares. So will an editor be able to fix audio, etc, from the already rough edited scenes? He wouldn't necessarily have to have worked on the original audio files first before they were added to the rendered scenes, right? And if its not the best way of doing things, its although still doable correct? When he renders the final cut, will the scenes have lost some resolution because the video clips had now been rendered twice? Any insight or reassurance would be appreciated. Thank you!
This would have been very easy if you were on a Mac.
Edit in iMovie and then FCPX can import the project with original media and finished.
I don't think Windows Movie Maker projects are portable to any professional NLE.
Anything you export is likely to have been heavily compressed short of using a Windows Media "archival" setting.
Anything you export may not have the "handles" needed to fix things.
If you're inexperienced, the best thing to do is ask the technical questions before you start editing.
A professional editor, in this situation, will likely ask for your source files, use your cut as a visual guide and start the whole thing from scratch in their NLE... probably costing you more money then had you ask questions first.
There's no reason to use Windows Movie Maker with so many low cost NLEs, some of which can export a project or decision list that can be used in a higher end version.
[Steve Shamp] "I edited together the basic scenes on Windows Movie Maker, and then added the audio clips and synced them to the video where the dialogue is spoken. I then saved the rough edited scenes in high res, using the basic 'save video in high res' button. Ok, so my plan is then to pay an experienced video editor to simply take all the finished scenes, and piece them together into his editing program timeline, and do a final polish and edit...is it ok that the scenes are pre-saved/rendered rather than giving editor a project type of file?...will an editor be able to fix audio, etc, from the already rough edited scenes?...if its not the best way of doing things, its although still doable correct? "
It is doable but will not produce the best results. No editor likes to work off edited, rendered, compressed H264 material. Every cut you already made must be re-bladed to frame accuracy. If you had any transitions such as cross-fade, those must be cut out since you can't easily do separate color/exposure/stabilization, etc on either side of the blended region. Cutting any video out then throws off audio sync, so you then must compensate for that somehow. If your original audio is multiple channels, e.g, natural sound, dialog, voiceover, music, etc and already mixed down in the rendered output, the final editor cannot pull those apart.
As Craig already mentioned, the editor will likely need/want additional head/tail content from each clip to refine the edit, but it's not available since you already cut it and rendered the file.
Your situation is a common one and this is often done before a better workflow is devised. So it's not like nobody has ever done this before, it's just not the best way.
In your current situation, if you want the best quality results the editor will need to backtrack and get the original source clips for each clip used in the rendered file. That can be very tedious, depending on how many cuts are involved. It will also take a lot more time and if you're paying him, more money. If you are willing to accept lower quality results he can edit the rendered file, blade each clip, correct color/exposure/stabilization/audio, etc.
In the future it would be best to edit in the same software the finishing editor will use and hand off the project or library to him, or else edit in software that can export XML of sufficient quality so he can import the project into his preferred software. Using Resolve (which is free) would give much better options than Windows Movie Maker. If using FCPX there is a tool called XtoCC that helps export content for editing in Premiere CC: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/xtocc/id487899517?mt=12
If you haven't priced any finish editing work, be advised it can be very expensive. This is an FCPX forum so I assume you at least have a Mac. For basic jobs it might be better to just use iMovie and learn to edit it yourself. At least iMovie can export ProRes which is much better to edit than H264. Also an iMovie project can be exported to FCPX: https://support.apple.com/kb/PH12746?locale=en_US It would be interesting to try and take an iMovie project to FCPX and then to Premiere using XtoCC and see how well that works.
[Steve Shamp] "So will an editor be able to fix audio, etc, from the already rough edited scenes?"If the audio is just the dialog then it will probably be fine. If it includes other audio then it may be difficult to separate out. Not impossible, but you probably won't want to pay for the time it takes to do this if doable at all (depending on your audio, could be like removing the eggs from a baked cake).
[Steve Shamp] "He wouldn't necessarily have to have worked on the original audio files first before they were added to the rendered scenes, right?"Not necessarily but providing the original audio will give you better quality if you care about your dialog. I don't believe that Windows Movie Maker has the ability to render uncompressed PCM audio so I'm guessing that the audio is going to be highly compressed and not ideal for editing.
[Steve Shamp] "And if its not the best way of doing things, its although still doable correct?"I would say it's marginally doable. By rendering you have already made all of the edit decisions. The only thing a finishing editor can do is to color grade, add titles, music, foley, and master the existing audio but not edit it. They cannot extend the length of scenes because you didn't leave them any video handles to lengthen it with so they will be limited in their timing changes. Hopefully you only used cuts and no fades between scenes because those won't be editable at all. In other words, if you faded between two scenes that need different color grading you are out of luck!
[Steve Shamp] "When he renders the final cut, will the scenes have lost some resolution because the video clips had now been rendered twice?"Actually they will be rendered 3 times. Once to WMV to give to the editor. Again to convert that into ProRes 422 for editing because WMV is a final delivery format and not and editing format; and then a third time for the final render. I would expect some quality loss during that process. (you used the word "resolution" but I assume you mean "quality" as resolution has to do with the size of the frame which should not change) It would be much cleaner to work with original video files.
[Steve Shamp] "Any insight or reassurance would be appreciated. "I'd love to be able to reassure you but I'm afraid these questions should have been asked before you started shooting the film i.e., If someone else will be finishing, what should I use to rough cut?
If all of your edit decisions are final, and the audio only contains dialog, this may work out for you this time. If not, your best option is to give the editor your finished movie as a reference. Then give them all of the source and have them reconstruct it from scratch. If you plan to do rough edits in the future, you need to get yourself the same or similar tools that the finishing editor is going to use. As others have said, your best option is to get a Mac and use iMovie which can then be import into Final Cut Pro X to be finished. This would be your best option going forward.
Wow, thank you so very much, everyone, for your answers and replies. I'm very grateful that you would all take the time to help me with your experience and knowledge! These replies are extremely helpful, and have convinced me to to start from scratch with an editor in a proper editing software. But I am actually glad that I edited the scenes myself first, as not only did I learn alot for if I ever need to do more simple video editing myself.... but like you said, it will be a great demonstration sample for the editor to get a strong idea for what I'm envisioning. Thank you again for your kind and informative responses. Cheers to you all!!