Post production editing is always one of my favorite parts of the over all video production cycle. I personally edit on Final Cut, but there are many incredible programs out there to choose from. I wish there were enough time in the day for me to learn them all! But alas….Step by Step Editing Description
The first step in post production is to gather all your building block elements into a new project. Open a new project and do a “save as,” same as you would with a Word document. Name it well.
IMPORTANT EDIT TIP!
File management, or where you put your video and audio files to use for your projects, is an important consideration with any video editing program. I hear some people gripe about file management because some programs do a lousy job of keeping track of files so if you move any it can cause a world of trouble. That problem is not as bad as it used to be as programs get more sophisticated but regardless, file management is still an important time-saving organization tool.
I think the key is to be organized in the front end stage of naming and organizing your files and folders. Develop a consist file organization strategy so you can find files and projects later. Be warned that moving files later on can cause them to go offline and you’ve got to go hunt them down. Some programs do a much better than job than others keeping up with neurotic editors who are always moving master files. In Final Cut, you can reconnect offline files through File>Reconnect media.
This video was a typical editing project for me and the workflow is always the same. After establishing a new project and naming it well, I gather a typical list of building block elements: a background, ten or so jpeg royalty free file images fitting the subject matter, and appropriate royalty free music.
I recorded the narration for my script. I do this in final cut using a mic that plugs into my computer with an xlr/usb cable.
Once all my materials are assembled in my project bin, I hunker down and get to the task of layering all my building blocks in my timeline, adding graphics, transitions, filters and keyframes. This particular video runs 3:02. It took me about 4 hours to edit, which is pretty standard for a project of this size and complexity. Editing can be a very meticulous task.
My first editing task with almost any editing project like this is to assemble the audio first. I have to sift through all my takes on the narration. I toss out the mistakes and pick the best cuts. I drag those cuts into the right position on the timeline. I keep going until I have a polished voice track. Then I mix in the music on another audio line in the timeline. I usually give it a few seconds of solid music up full before the narration starts. Then I also continue the music for about 3 seconds at the end of the narration. Then fade it out.
AUDIO FIRST, VIDEO SECOND
After the music/narration mix sounds right, I begin with line one of my video, the background. I laid my choice of digital background down and brought the opacity down on it to about 40%. Backgrounds should be just that BACKGROUNDS. At full transparency, lots of digital backgrounds are overwhelming so I often tone them down via the opacity. Other times I tone them down by taking them out of focus.
DEFINITION OF OPACITY
(Opacity is a term that refers to whether you can see through something or not. If it is opaque, you can not see through it. If it is transparent, you can see through it. At full transparency, it is invisible. At 100% opacity it is solid video and you can not see through it at all. Higher end editing programs allow you to alter the opacity of any element. Backgrounds are a common thing to alter opacity on. That’s also how you would create the illusion of a ghost in your video. )
Digital background images usually only last about 15 seconds. Good ones are loop-able. That means you can edit it to itself seamlessly if you match up the very beginning frame to the very end frame. Like wallpaper!
Once the background is long enough to cover the entire audio track, I take the still images and place them in the timeline where I thought they fit with the narration. Remember in video editing, when you stack multiple layers of video, the one on the top show. If they are small enough and placed right, you can get multiple layers of video to show at once. This video for web space buddy has up to ten elements on the screen at any one time.
I add a matte filter to each jpeg still image. This is how I make some images ovals and others rectangular. I add drop shadows and soft edges. I adjust the size and spacing to get multiple images on the screen at once.
Next, I use the graphic tool to add words. I create a “sample text” element. I choose a style of font, color and add a drop shadow. What I’m doing is creating one basic template of how I want all my words to look, then I copy paste it as many times as I need to in order to fill the entire audio track. This saves time and I do not have to add the exact same color and drop shadow to every graphic element throughout the 3-minute video.
Making it Move
I add keyframes to the graphics in order to make them grow or move onto the screen. Keyframes are a common video editing technique. You can watch a video I did about keyframing here, but basically, key framing is a way to do simple 2-D animation when editing video. In other words, you can make the building block elements of your video grow, spin, or move. Many values are keyframable and if it is, that means you can make that value change over time by using keyframe. Size, shape, color, position, all those items are key frame-able.
I also add transitions, mostly basic cross dissolves, to get in and out of images. A transition is just that… it takes your from one image to the next. Cuts, dissolves, wipes are all transitions.
Keep Up the Pace!
I like to keep the video elements moving in order to make the video more visually interesting. If I had just taken one or two images and one or two graphics and drug them out for the entire 3 minutes it would be a very boring video!
Then I tweak and fiddle as much as my little obsessive-compulsive neurotic editor inside wants. Bigger, smaller, to the left, to the right.
Once I am satisfied with the final video, I convert it into a sharing file for the web. This takes all of the individual elements and turns it into one file. This is much like the process of turning a word file into a PDF. This file is called a SHARING FILE and the current web favorite is MPEG4
That’s all for this post. Whew! If you read all that then you must really want to learn video editing! I salute you my friend!
Internet Video Gal