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The creative side of editing

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Louise Macaulay
The creative side of editing
on Jul 30, 2012 at 4:31:00 pm

I spent many years working in commercial production for radio and learned a lot about creating engaging ads and promos, much of which translates directly to video editing. A little over two years ago I fell into a job as a technical director and part time video editor for a small local television show.

I've been teaching myself to use Final Cut Pro, lurking here at Creative Cow, doing the Class On Demand series and getting daily practice at the functions of FCP, and I've picked it up somewhat quickly because of the similarities to audio editing. There's a lot of things that I can feel instinctually about where to make edits, how to "tell the story," as it were, but I can feel the stuff I'm missing.

Can anyone recommend resources (preferably websites, video tutorials, etc as opposed to books, but I'll take books too) for the basic creative "rules" of video editing, specifically for advertising and promotion? Anything from nuts and bolts to wider creative concepts.

For example, another video editor told me it's not a good idea to have "lip flap" - video of someone talking when the audio doesn't match the video (in other words, seeing someone's mouth move, even for a split second, when the audio is unrelated voiceover). That's something I never would've considered a problem if it hadn't been pointed out to me. This is more nuts and bolts. But looking more big picture, if I want to make a 30 second promo for our show from scratch, what is a useful workflow? What do various transitions "say" when you choose to use them? I'm sure there's a lot I haven't even thought of.

Stuff like that you just don't learn when editing solely for audio. Any resources would be most appreciated. Thank you in advance!


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Mark Suszko
Re: The creative side of editing
on Jul 30, 2012 at 4:48:19 pm

One of the first places anybody will steer you will be to read the books by Walter Murch. He's a film guy but his theories still apply, he's always entertaining and enlightening to read.

As to learning the visual grammar of editing, there aren numerous sources, I have a Russian editing book somewhere I need to dig up and list for you. Even a walkabout thru wikipedia will send you to many good essays and demonstrations of editing theory, mis-en-scene, semiotics, etc. - all for free.


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Michael Aranyshev
Re: The creative side of editing
on Jul 30, 2012 at 5:20:13 pm

Grammar of the film language by Daniel Arijon
On Film Editing by Edward Dmytryk

I wouldn't recommend Russian authors. They spend too many pages attacking each other instead of talking about film itself.


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Shane Ross
Re: The creative side of editing
on Jul 30, 2012 at 5:51:16 pm

Most everything I learned, I learned on the job. Taught by other editors, notes given by producers and networks. I don't think there is a book or tutorial that covers things like "how to cut a promo from scratch." Or one that includes "don't have lip flap, it's like they're starting to say something, but then you cut away from them...or if they are on screen as VO is happening, you make the audience really curious as to what they are saying, so they are distracted from the VO and miss what you are trying to say."

This is all stuff that you learn as you go. This is why Apprenticeships and assistant editing and junior editing is so important. You pick this stuff up as you go. Not everything is in a book. I don't think there is a book on blacksmithing that says "if you hit the metal when it is this color, at this angle, it will do this neat thing."

Murch is a great place to get narrative editing tips, but I can see how anything he writes pertains to promo work. I got thrown into that myself, and did my best, then got notes, or tips from other people, and went from there. In fact, when I cut my first movie trailer, I showed it to a friend who's cut movie trailers for his entire career, and he gave me great notes, pointed out things I didn't even think about. There's a whole new world and psychology involved when you go from documentary work, to narrative, to commercial, to promo, to corporate, to wedding video...and beyond. Each have their own set of rules and creative outlooks.

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Mark Suszko
Re: The creative side of editing
on Jul 30, 2012 at 8:15:38 pm

Gospodin Michael, The Russians were such pioneers in editing that you can't ignore them. If you look at the amazon.com page for Dmytrk's book, you'll see a lot of people hold it up as a gold standard, and there are numerous other good suggestions branching out from there.

It's not a contradiction to agree with Shane; you DO pick up a lot of visual vocabulary on the job and from watching what others do and analyzing it. But, it would be foolish not to look over the published material of people that have done all this before you and mulled over what each effect means, for the past 150 years. No need to waste time re-inventing what they already mastered; better to absorb it and begin to build upon it.


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Michael Aranyshev
Re: The creative side of editing
on Jul 30, 2012 at 8:42:16 pm

[Mark Suszko] "Gospodin Michael, The Russians were such pioneers in editing that you can't ignore them."

That's true. However the same material is retold in western book in a more organized manner cleared of hints that the opponent strayed away from the Party line. On the other hand for someone unaware of the context this superfluous stuff in the originals might be not so obvious and thus not so disturbing as it was to me.


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Monica F.P.Williams
Re: The creative side of editing
on Jul 31, 2012 at 12:51:40 am

I agree with all the answers! my two cents is watch as many promos and advertising you can here some links:

http://gointothestory.blcklst.com/2011/09/a-tv-commercial-buy-jean-luc-goda...

Good luck!

Monica F.P.williams
crocodile editing
web: http://www.crocodileediting.com


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Andrew Kimery
Re: The creative side of editing
on Jul 31, 2012 at 1:26:36 am

Cut a promo, put it on the COW and ask for feed back.

You can't lean to swim without getting wet. Reading about how Michael Phelps prepares for a meet could give you some insight on how to prepare yourself, but it won't shave time off your breast stroke.




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Louise Macaulay
Re: The creative side of editing
on Jul 31, 2012 at 10:39:16 pm

Thanks all for the input, I appreciate it.


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