Do you want to understand the rules broadcast professionals use when editing a TV show?
Do you want to improve the quality of your videos, to the point where your audience can't get enough?
Are you moving from still photography to video, and is editing a major challenge?
Are your videos just not getting noticed and shared on your YouTube channel?
You are a professional video editor, but are not getting noticed because your work is technically fine, but not creatively outstanding?
Then you have come to the right place.
Operators and editors.
In the pro broadcast world, there two types of editors: Operators and editors.
An operator is someone who should be an expert at the software, understands codecs, as well as the export parameters needed for broadcast. Very often, these people are not particularly creative, because creativity is not their main focus. Also, often, it's the technical side of video that excites them the most.
Before you do this course, I have a question:
If you answered 1., then this is not a course for you. I don't teach the tech stuff at all. Because, honestly, I am no expert myself. I have worked in broadcast TV as an editor for 37 years, won awards in New York and Cannes, and yet I still only have a basic understanding of the tech stuff. Because, believe it or not, I don't need it. And neither do you!
I am an editor. I am not an operator.
Editing video (understanding the software) is a straightforward, if complex subject. It is taught all over the Internet. But find me a truly creative video editing course. I can't find a good one anywhere. So I created this one.
Editing video is easy to do, but difficult to do well. The trouble is, most video courses on the net are presented by filmmakers making wedding videos and low budget music videos. Very few are broadcast professionals. The proof is that most video editing courses focus primarily on software, which requires limited creative insight.
This course is not about software.
You will learn:
All these skills will make your editing experience easy and intensely creative. You can become a great filmmaker.
You will need:
Software and equipment
Like our shooting course, we don't spend much time talking about equipment. We focus on teaching techniques to tell a great story—whether it's a full-length documentary, a wedding, or a 30-second commercial, it's all about story-telling.
You need to know the basics of your chosen editing software already. This is very important: Although what we teach is performed using computer software, this is NOT a software course. Instead of, how to use the software, this is, what to do with the software.
It does not matter what software you have chosen for your editing setup. As long as you know the basics, everything will be easy to follow and understand.
Andrew St Pierre White has 37 years as a broadcast professional, with international awards to his credit. Included in these are Cannes Film Festival, Gold Award for Editing, New York TV, Silver Award Editing and Louries TV Awards South Africa, Grand Prix Editing.
He has edited numberless TV commercials, several documentary series, many corporate videos and some TV dramas. His work has been broadcast on major channels and networks on six continents. As a director of TV, some of his work is on YouTube, where his channel boasts over six million views a year.
Why be organised?
Being organised means energy is focused on creativity.
Remember, an editor uses creativity to manipulate images into a story designed to move viewers to emotion.
In editing, nothing stuns creativity quite like chaos. This is a sweeping statement backed up by years of experience in busy editing rooms.
With this in mind, the first thing I teach on this course is the power of organisation.
I think you will agree that the first part of a training course should be scintillating. It should be stuffed with mind blowing information that leaves you breathlessly wanting more.
Unfortunately, given the nature of editing, this section isn't one of those.
Organising footage is anal and, dare I say it, potentially boring in its extreme. It is a task usually given to the most junior assistant in a professional editing house. The professional editors do that for a very good reason — the youngster has to learn to be organised if he or she has any hope of ever making it in the big league.
So, cast yourself into the roll of the junior as you watch, absorb, and apply what I'm going to teach you. If you do this, like any professional editor with a diligent assistant, I can virtually guarantee you a rewarding, creative, mind blowing editing experience on every project you ever cut. I can certainly guarantee to minimise your frustration and a few bucket loads of sweat.
So ready for something dull? Good, because here goes . . .
Digital non-linear editing software is clever stuff. It seems to be super organised. It collects reams of media (video, audio, still photos, sound effects etc.) together in one place, and then seamlessly compiling the video according to the editor’s instructions.
As impressive as this looks, it is, in fact, not the case.
Instead, the software remembers where you put your media and then accesses it so smoothly that it appears as if it has collected it all together in one convenient location.
The trouble is, your media can be scattered over numerous sources, such as hard drives, CD-roms, and camera cards.
For example: imagine you created a movie using music from iTunes, stills stored on your photo card, and video footage on your hard drive. If, at some point, you delete that song on iTunes, or wipe your camera card, or change a folder name on your hard drive, your super clever editing software will be unable to locate the media. It will throw you up a message saying 'file missing' when trying to run your movie. That is not only frustrating, but embarrassing if you are trying to impress an audience with your craft.
Rule one of video editing: If your media is not stored in one properly labeled place, it cannot be accessed.
So the secret of good organisation is to put all the media, without exception, into a single folder (directory) in one central place.
In the process of making things easy, computers will allow you to import music from applications like iTunes, or still images from iPhoto, directly into the project. This complicates things, so I strongly recommend you do not do it.
Take the media files that you wish to use in your project out of these applications by duplicating them, and then placing them into folders on the project hard drive.
This is explained and demonstrated in the instruction videos below.
The first deals with storing your media.
Even though making a film need not always be linear, it should have structure that is clearly understood and easy to follow. This means a beginning, middle and end.
The job of the beginning is to grab and hold your audience by making them care about the subject or characters.
As you can see from the stats below, you literally have seconds to achieve this:
Seconds, that’s all it takes to lose your viewer.
Even if your content is of huge interest to the entire planet, unless you give a hint of that value as quickly as possible, the planet will just not be interested. Your message will never see the audience it deserves. It is therefore VITAL to capture your audience in the first 10 or less seconds. Now you know this, you are already one step ahead of your competition.
So, how do you immediately grab them by the heart?
Simple. You tug on their emotions. Some examples would include:
These are all emotions. If your viewer feels nothing, within a fairly limited time, they will leave.
Audio leads the way
The best way to make your audience feel is with AUDIO not video. This means you should:
There are some tried and tested techniques you can use to keep your audience's interest. These are discussed in the following video. Briefly,
The first video covers the basic skills, music rights and library music.
This video teaches music editing techniques including back timing.
This video shows how to let the audio govern the storytelling.
Music montage editing. Easy to do. Difficult to do well.
It’s not uncommon for an inexperienced editor to use montage editing as an excuse for compiling a sequence of shots because he or she has no clear idea of making a story from the footage. This is wrong.
Montages are best used to tease the audience into wanting more. Editing on the beat, off beat, and other techniques are demonstrated in the following videos. Music choice for montage editing is the easiest to get wrong. The mood and tempo must fit comfortably with the image mood and content.
The next two videos teach you how to edit music montages.
Music montage editing techniques that apply to a wide range of video edits
When putting music into a sequence, I should . . .
A task using a Hollywood example, of selecting the right music for the right emotion.
There are many ways to structure a story. Here are some techniques, with the components shown on the time-line.
No story telling structure is the same. This is a basic story telling technique, that works well for simple story telling. It teaches the intro, pace and use of a combination of commentary, narration and music.
COMBINING FOOTAGE FROM VARIOUS CAMERAS
A-Roll and B-Roll footage, and GoPros
The 4-second rule is a techniques (taught in our Shooting for Storytelling Course). This is how such a shot is typically used in an edit.
TRANSITIONS BETWEEN SHOTS
An editor uses cuts, dissolves or wipes to move the viewer from one shot to another. These are called transition linking shots. They are not intended to communicate content or messages. Ideally, they should not even be noticed. If they are noticed, then mostly, they have failed in their job and should be reconsidered.
I recommenced that you work with your edit suite and experiment with the transitions available to you. You will find very few that don’t shout, ‘Look! I’m a clever transition!’
An editor uses sequence transition shots to move the viewer from one scene or sequence to another. Every transition linking sequences sends a message to the viewer. These messages can be subtle, like a change of location, change of day, or a new scene altogether. The marvelous thing about these transitions is that they communicate these things by dong almost nothing. But because the transition says so much about the content or story, they comuinicate more than meets the eye.
I must use a transition when . . .
Some techniques used combining sound and effects. Here are three examples that demonstrate that sound effects with music, is far more powerful than music alone.
An extraordinary film that demonstrates the power of sound effects. Sound effects are more effective at storytelling than the video elements of your video. This will help you to never forget that! Watch it if you can.
Beware. Sensitive viewers may not enjoy watching this video.
More examples of music and sound effects. Music and freeze frames, narration and music.
Narration ideas. Examples of narration in the present tense. Also, lighthearted narration can lift the story and give it a feel of being in the present.
It's always better to show, than tell. If you say something, either trough narration of commentary, that must be matched by the images, cutting pace and feel of the video. If they differ, the audience won't know how to feel about the story.
Still images can be used disguised and seamless with the video images, or, in this example, they can be presented as still images for their own sake. In this case, they were so beautiful they were to be displayed as the fine are of still photography, within this, a episode in a TV series.
A very common mistake when making a video, particularly a short-form type, is to maintain one unchanging pace throughout. This is a sure way to send the audience into dreamland. Vary the pace, and use the techniques shown to do this. It keeps the content interesting. This is particularly valuable for subjects that are a little dull, and need spicing up a bit.
Tips on being an interesting and entertaining presenter. A dull presenter is a recipe for a very boring an unsuccessful video.
Some examples of presenting to camera that keeps the audience engaged and entertained.
I have a large and successful YouTube Channel. (About 4 million views per year, and 20 000 subscribers as of March 2015) While no expert on the matter, here are some things I have learnt.
The right software for editing video is vital as many are just not good enough, even for the first time beginner. Be especially aware of free software, especially if it is labelled 'Professional'. In some cases, not only is it unsuitable for professionals, its also no good for beginners. Words are just labels to attract buyers.The video editing software industry is huge, and for a reason: good software costs a lot to produce. Poor editing software will lead to frustration, and if you are just starting your editing career, start with a chance of success by avoiding cheap editing software. It just isn't worth it.
Thank you so much for doing my course. I hope it was valuable learning for you.
Andrew St Pierre White is a broadcaster, writer and presenter, with 38 years in TV, film and publishing. He is also a published author with over 16 book titles and his YouTube channel has over 12 million views and over 59 000 subscribers.