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Friday, September 24, 2010

Video Editing - It's A Rendering Kind Of Thing

I get asked all the time about how much work video editing can be on a show like GeoSnippits.

To me it's not work, sure it can take long hours, mind numbing viewing time going over video clips, grinding your nails to the bone whilest trying to fit eight minutes of needed content into four, going cross-eyed deciding which clip looks the best, filling in voice-overs, adding content text, re-filming transitions, manipulating green screen work, adding music and sound effect bits...... but I digress.

Keep in mind everything that I know about creating video is self taught and I am just beginning. For me making a ten minute GeoSnippits Geocaching Video can take four to eight hours (sometimes more) to complete. That does not include the couple of hours it takes to render the final product. It is a work of love and there is really no other way to put it and I do indeed love it.

So what does it take to do a single ten minute GeoSnippits video? Let's break it down:

Usually myself and my production assistant Geoness leave for a location to begin filming. Some episodes require multiple locations. Average amount of filming takes around four hours per episode not including drive time.

All of the digital film has to be transferred over to my computer before I can work with it. Back in the old days (a year ago or so) I had to use software to convert the digital files to a format my editing software could understand. That took about two hours or so. Fortunately my new editing application does not need this and I can jump right into it.

Editing - Initial Review
Production crews often refer to these as The Dailies. This is going over all the digital film we shot for the day. I have a procedure where I document all my film clips, what each clip is to be used for and if it is to be used at all. The initial review is very helpful for me to know how I want to place everything and any extras that I may want to add down the line.

Editing - Placement
The next step is taking the wanted clips and putting them in order within the editing application. This is a painstaking process because you also have to cut out only the sections you want and removing the rest as you go. All this and keeping in mind that you have time limits for episodes (especially for TV shows like Michigan Magazine TV). By the time you are complete with this phase you should have the main content, openings, closings, title sequences and such in place.

Editing - Voice Overs

There are many parts of a video where you need to add voice to emphasis a point or add content. Voice overs are needed to do this and lets just say there are many ways you need to be creative to do this. I have found that having a comforter over my head while doing this presents the best sound (thanks Darrylw4 for the suggestion).

Editing - Adding Content
To make a video more interesting it is important to add extra content. Many times photos or mini movie clips can help the viewer understand things more easily. This takes time because you have to go through those tens of thousands of photos to find the one you need. Once you find all the ones you need you have to also have to import them into the editing software as well.

Green Screen is a whole other aspect that I also use a lot with GeoSnippits. Basically it is taking digital film of me with literally a green background, adjusting it in the editing process and putting it in front of another background making me look like I am somewhere besides my spare bedroom where I actually film it. This also adds to the complexity of the editing process.

Finally you also need to add any text to your video. This can include everything from your title sequence, key points and credits. All are part of the visual experience you need to have to make your videos view worthy.

Editing - Music
Music and sound effects can make or break a video. There is always the debate of is it too soft, loud or should it be there at all. You can't please everybody but it does set the tone for your video and is a big part of GeoSnippits. We have come a long way since the beginning but I think we have a good idea now of how to do music correctly.

Editing - Final Tweaking
When all is said and done I then go over the final reviews of the video. Correcting spelling errors, adjusting the timing of transitions, making sure everything flows the way I want it to. When I get to this phase I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and know that I am almost done.

Then when everything is exactly the way that I want it I render the video. Basically what that means is the editing software takes my video which is in separate pieces and turns it into a complete video that I can put on DVD or send to You Tube. This can take several hours depending on how much I have incorporated into the video itself.

Well there you go. This gives you a rough idea what I do to create a GeoSnippits video either for You Tube or on Michigan Magazine TV (RFDTV Network). So if you ever see me send out a tweet moaning because I am up to my eyeballs in editing you will know why.

Just remember that I love doing this and wouldn't have it any other way. Well, having a bunch of editing elves to help me out would be sweet, but you know what I mean.

See you out on the trails.


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1 comment:

instadroid said...

Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
thank you :)