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Corporate Video Editing - Edit on the beat?

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simon miller
Corporate Video Editing - Edit on the beat?
on Apr 23, 2008 at 3:23:45 pm

Hey Guys,

Just curious what everyone has to say on this topic. Do you feel that Corporate Video (ie Promo Videos, Tutorials, Commercial Spots, etc.) should be edited to the music you've chosen for the video. For example do you think cuts to the next shot should happen on the downbeat of a measure? One possible and probable scenario is that the client will decide to change the music after the edit is finished which if edited to the beat presents a world or problems and or adjustments to the edit.

Thanks for your input.

- Simon

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Steve Wargo
Re: Corporate Video Editing - Edit on the beat?
on Apr 24, 2008 at 8:21:23 am

Determine the music upfront and tell them that there will be expensive consequences if they change it later.

Steve Wargo
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It's a dry heat!

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Tim Wilson
Re: Corporate Video Editing - Edit on the beat?
on Apr 25, 2008 at 12:03:42 pm

I know one producer who does biiiiiig projects -- $200,000+ isn't uncommon, and he's told me about jobs up to $400,000. He won't even take his camera out of the bag until music is LOCKED.

He explains to the client that this will dictate MANY downstream choices, including what he might shoot, certainly the edit.

It's not just the beat. It's feel -- does the client want it stately, energetic, jazzy, contemporary...all the ways that you can describe music are among the ways that you can describe the visual style of a project. You and the client need to be on the same page before the thing gets started.

(The Cow magazine had an article about the importance of this for motion graphics, even logo design. The online version is here. There's also a bunch of great stuff about client management, etc. Check it out.)

If all of this is behind you, the project's already in the can? Cut to the beat. :-) Then, as you would with any other change, show the client what you have, why you made the choices you did ("dude, YOU chose the music") then explain how much it will cost to change.

And if the client says screw the beat and just change what I told you to change, not one thing more...well, that's what you do, even if the artistic integrity is compromised. The boss is the boss.


Tim Wilson, Creative Cow
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Mark Suszko
Re: Corporate Video Editing - Edit on the beat?
on May 2, 2008 at 5:35:40 pm

Speaking more as an editor than a shooter, I would say there is no hard and fast rule, just that cutting on the beat is very predictable and obvious. Might even work against you by making things too predictable. Sometimes, it actually works better to cut *against* the beat. It's all situational and depends on just what you're trying to achieve.

If you cut too slavishly to the beat of the music, what you are doing is making the music composer the editor and director. If the music was custom made for your film, great. if it is something not specific to your message or point of view, it could tend to lock you into a path that's not optimal for the message you're creating.

And what about juxtapositions of music that is thematically opposite the image? That can be quite powerul too: to show for example, someone having a lonely breakdown in the middle of a pleasant scene with happy music... You see horror movies do something like that, playing happy music just before the killer strikes, to set up false expectations and thus build the shock of the reveal...

You older folks might remember a TV detective show called "Mannix", starring Mike Connors. Very hard-boiled, violent crime-busting show, at least one fist fight, car chase, and gunshot wound per episode. Lalo Shifferin, the South American composer that created the theme music to "Mission: Impossible", also created the theme for "Mannix". It is the only detective action show ever to use a theme music set in waltz time.

And it totally works. In fact, it rocks out loud.
Who would have even tried that? Or thought to try that? It was not an obvious choice.
BTW, you can DL it on itunes, very fun music.

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