Basic Video Editing

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We already know why film, VHS and Beta should be converted to DVD. The answer is simply to preserve the media in its current state and to prevent further deterioration. The conversion process halts deterioration in its tracks, so that should be the end off the story, right. Wrong!

The next step is basic video editing. Imagine your favorite half hour TV show without editing. Instead of running 22 minutes (without commercials), the normal shooting ratio is 4 to 1 for a TV show. That means you would be sitting there for 88 minutes to watch your favorite show. Editing is what removes the mistakes, multiple takes for performance and the parts that no one ever wanted in the show in the first place. Now we know that the ratio won’t be the same in a home video, but we also know that there are mistakes (Oops! I left the lens cap on. Why am I looking at 2 minutes of a shot of my feet? ETC!) that can easily be rectified through the editing process.

Once we have removed the obvious mistakes it is time to look at transitions that are created by cuts. Your first option is a straight cut. With a straight cut you move from one piece of tape, or film to another. If the angle changes enough, straight cuts work quite well.

Your next option is jump cut. A jump cut is cut within one continuous piece of footage. If the angle is static, a jump cut will look like a jump in time. This may work for your particular piece, or it may be jarring. With many home movies the camera moves around so that a jump cut will look like a straight cut because the angle has changed so drastically because of the movement of the camera.

A third type of transition is a dissolve, wipe, etc. between shots. These transitions provide a slow transition onto the next shot. A dissolve makes a transition from unconnected shots look smooth. They can be any length that fits your footage and that will be determined by the way it “feels” when you look at it. Try to start with dissolves because they provide the most pleasing transitions. Too many editors get caught up in using the many bizarre transitions that come with the package that they edit with. Try to remember that you are editing your footage for a bigger audience than yourself and there is no need to impress the software techie who invented the “peanut butter wipe.”

Editing is about telling a story, so try mot to lose sight of that!

Thom Pryor was a professional Hollywood video editor for over 30 years working on some of your favorite films and TV shows. Now he helps people using Professional Video Editing tell a story with their video projects. Let him help you convert slides, preserve your media, and tell the story that lies underneath your video and audio projects.