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Video editing tips

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by JayFarrar, Oct 1, 2009.

  1. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    Did my first video reporting assignment and now working on the video.
    We have some fancy editing software, but my paper didn't buy multiple licenses, so super quick cut pro awesome or whatever it is called isn't on my laptop or desktop.
    I'm making do with the editing software that came with the flip.
    In other news: I actually asked for this assignment because I want to start doing some video.
    In other other news: As per standard, I received no training or tips from anyone on staff on what to do or how to do it. If it wasn't for some exposure to teevee types, I'd be even more clueless.
    In other other other news: I think it will be cool to learn this, but I might want to put a hole in my head before I am done.
  2. Gomer

    Gomer Active Member

    Good God, they gave you a Flip too? I'm so sorry. The software is brutal. Takes forever to export something you can upload.

    We did get a quick tutorial from a TV guy who was brought in, but most of his tips began with the statemtent "IF you had a better camera."

    I've done a couple videos and basically, the less editing you can give yourself the better. There are ways to do some cutting in the Flip's software, but as I said it's incredibly slow. Basically, use sliders and the scissors button and you'll figure some of it out.
  3. mustangj17

    mustangj17 Active Member

    Keep the videos short. Nobody wants to watch a five minute video. Keep it under 2:00 or even 1:30.

    Make sure you brand the video with your paper name before and after. Nothing fancy. Just do it in case other papers embed it.
  4. RickStain

    RickStain Well-Known Member


    Of course, we bought a handful of them and nobody ever used them, so now they sit in the tech closet collecting dust along with thousands of dollars of other equipment. I've been tempted to just take one home, because nobody would ever notice they were gone.
  5. Karl Hungus

    Karl Hungus Member

    Without knowing the subject of your story, the biggest difference between print and video reporting is quotes. In a video report, you have to take the quote as it's said, otherwise you get a jump-cut (a cut ahead or backwards in time). Of course, if you're experienced enough or have sophisticated enough software to cover it with video, it can be worked around.

    Avoid moving shots (where you move the camera), if possible. Zooms and focuses are probably too advanced for what you're doing.

    Finally, I know this sounds incredibly basic, but avoid black holes in your video. Watch it when you're finished to make sure that there aren't any.

    KISS, is the bottom line.
  6. If it's well done, tons of people will watch a 5-minute video.
  7. ADodgen

    ADodgen Member

    Largely untrue with regard to the general public visiting local news sites. You can pull that off on npr.com, and Travis Fox has done some great things at WaPo, but those are by and large exceptions to the rule based on their specific readership.
  8. Karl Hungus

    Karl Hungus Member

    Agreed. Until you (or anyone who does this, for that matter) can master the concepts of basic video editing, too long is too much.
  9. statrat

    statrat Member

    Windows movie maker. I found the Flip software incredibly limiting. Movie maker comes free on most Windows machines, and its basically video editing for idiots. Its what I use (Because god forbid my shop actually fund a mandate). And to echo what other people have said, keep it short. Less work for you, easier for those with limited attention spans to follow.
  10. Cadet

    Cadet Guest

    This may sound basic, but be sure to put a title at the beginning with the event and date, and put a credit at the end with you paper's name. This way if someone stumbles across the video independently of the article, they have some context.
  11. ADodgen

    ADodgen Member

    A variation (neither better nor worse) on Cadet's suggestion: One slide with title/date and one slide with "A Podunk Press video production by Joe Reporter"

    Also, will you confirm that you're on a Windows machine?
  12. Greg_Brownell

    Greg_Brownell New Member

    A few suggestions (some of this is just my own philosophy):
    1. You can never shoot enough "B roll'' footage ... wide-angle shots of the field, the coaches and players on the sidelines or bench, whatever. I'm assuming you will do a voice-over, and you'll need background stuff for the times when you introduce the game (or subject) and wrap it up. If you know what your ending shot will be, let it linger for a while so you can voice over your credits and whatnot.
    2. You can learn from TV when it comes to which shots to use, but don't follow their format. TV gives you highlights ... bits and pieces chopped up to fit their limited time slots. You should tell a story, with a beginning, middle and end. It's an important difference, and I think a necessary difference, if our industry is going to be successful at this. We're good at storytelling, and we can adapt that to video.
    3. Shoot for 2-3 minutes total on most videos, but a strong, compelling subject can run longer. For instance if you shoot a championship game with a great ending, people will stay with you.
    4. You will make mistakes. Learn from them. You're not Cecil B. DeMille and nobody (hopefully) expects TV-quality video. If you follow suggestion No. 2, nobody else will be doing what you're doing anyway.
    5. The first couple of times you do this will be painful. You'll feel like the technology is conspiring against you, like you don't know what you're doing with a camera, like this isn't what you signed up for. It will get better. And you may end up feeling like it made you a better journalist. I do, anyway.
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