Over the Editor’s Shoulder: Part II


Hey! Last week I started documenting my journey through a new freelance video project I’m working on. You can find Part I here. This is Part II of Over the Editor’s Shoulder and it will chronicle my progress, struggles, successes and more over the past week for this project.

First, let’s recap what happened last week. I picked up the hard drive on Monday and sat down with the client and went over a couple things related to the video. That night and the next night I was able to get all the footage into Media Composer, sync up the interviews (two shots and audio) and send the audio over to the client for him to mark up some notes for me. We start our journey from here.

Wednesday 5.6.15 and Thursday 5.7.15

As it seems to always do life got in the way of getting things done. This is strictly a nights, weekends and early mornings project. And on Wednesday and Thursday I literally ran out of minutes and couldn’t sit down at my computer.

Luckily progress was still made outside of the edit bay because the client was on top of things and got me the feedback on some sound bites to use. I was able to check them on my phone since ScreenLight rocks. Just thinking about the sound bites started giving me ideas on how I want to lay out the video.

Friday 5.8.15

Guess what I was doing on my Friday night? I was sifting through b-roll and labeling and rating all the shots. I identified the shots not to use and simply put “do not use” in the description. I noted the subject in each shot (girl, boy, man, woman, group, etc.) and what was happening (smiling, laughing, walking, talking, listening, …). My favorite shots I labeled as BEST. Then I sat and listened through all ~hour of interviews, which I need to figure out how to cut down to under 5 minutes.

Saturday 5.9.15

When you’re stringing out a video I highly recommend giving yourself a couple hours of undisturbed time. After a trip to Home Depot to pick up flowers, soil and mulch I was able to get my wife out of the house and in the front yard so I had the majority of the afternoon to myself.

I took a quick break and made some stream of conscious mental notes (AKA journaling) and want to share an excerpt from it. It’s completely raw, unfiltered and honest.

It’s Saturday afternoon. 3:44PM to be exact. I’m finishing up sifting through all the footage that was shot for this project.

The vast majority of video I edit nowadays is shot by me. I’m a solid shooter. I could be better, I know that. But I know I’m better than a lot of videographers that I’ve had to work with in the past. Anyway, I’m happier than ever at the moment because this video was shot excellently. I’m floored. Yeah I could use this or that small shot off the top of my head but overall, holy cow. I don’t think I’ve had this good of a solid base of shots to work with at the onset of a project.

At this point I’m pretty happy but then the over-whelming feeling of a blank timeline hits me. How the heck am I supposed to make this video?

The rest of the afternoon and evening I went through the interviews and cut out anything that wasn’t usable. I’m now down to about 35 minutes + an intro and outro. Yikes…

Sunday 5.10.15

I’m starting to get worried – how will I tear this thing down to 5 minutes? So I took a step back – what’s the purpose of the video? I need to touch on just a couple of topics. Multiple people talked about the same topics so I decided we don’t need to hear the information twice and just removed everything but the best lines about them. I+O+X (Mark In, Mark Out, Extract). I was absolutely brutal. Anytime I thought, “well this could work if I do…” I got rid of it. Anything that wasn’t related to the main topics was cut out. When I was done I was left with about 8 minutes of the best sound bites. That’s reasonable at this point in the project.

Now the fun begins – assembly. I spent the bulk of the morning just attempting to place the clips next to each other in an order that makes sense. After heading out for a few hours to go grocery shopping and run some errands I headed back to my computer to keep working on it. And I start getting antsy again. I haven’t even touched any b-roll yet.

I took a deep breath and to appease my subconscious I started throwing random shots over edit points. By the end of the evening I was able to cut it down to about 6 minutes and put miscellaneous b-roll over the first third or so of it.

Monday 5.11.15

A rough cut is due on Wednesday and I always like to deliver early. I know Tuesday might be a cluster with my regular work so I want to get as much done as possible.

After getting home from work (left my house at 5:55am and got home about 5:15pm) I went straight to this project. I have this light/lens flare transition package I’ve been itching to use so I started adding them in. I cut together a quick intro with some of the most powerful sound bites and the happiest-looking shots. And I bashed out adding the rest of the b-roll.

Then I went through the video 5-6 times and each time I saw something I’d stop, fix it or make it better then keep going. I know it won’t be perfect right now so I’m trying to ignore things like audio levels and color correct (which is easier said than done). As it approached 10:30pm and I had no energy left, mental or physical, I walked Peyton and called it a night.

Tuesday 5.12.15

That evening I sat down to take another look at the rough cut. After watching it I was quite pleased with what I made. Not perfect but solid for a rough cut. I went through it a couple times and tweaked small things like removing some ums and ahs and just overall tightening up the video. I’m down to 5:43. I figure I’ll let the client take a look and tell me what I should take out. It’s easier to remove than to go try and find a sound bite they remember hearing.

I put an in and out point around the video and exported a QuickTime movie. Then I threw it into Squeeze and pumped out an .mp4 before uploading it to ScreenLight.

Always, always, always deliver early if possible. I sent the client an email and passed out.

Wednesday 5.13.15

Last night I got comments back. I was about to go to sleep when I get 10 emails all at once. I panicked for a moment. Took a deep breath and said I’d look at it in the morning since there’s nothing I can or will be doing tonight.

Thursday 5.14.15 and Beyond

Have you been enjoying Over the Editor’s Shoulder? I’ll have Part III out next week and I’ll share how the feedback went and my progress on the project.

Make sure you’ve signed up for email updates (do that at the top-right or bottom of this page)! And shoot me a message saying hi and about your editing experience and any struggles you may be having. This way I can see who is reading this and better tailor it for you.

You can also find me on Twitter (@editvideofaster) to get real-time updates on this project.

Any questions so far? Anything you’d do differently? Anything you think was a good or bad idea? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Alright! Back to work. Gotta find some time to record a tutorial for this weekend…

2 thoughts on “Over the Editor’s Shoulder: Part II”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.