Watch Your Home Movies – Editing Your Video Footage into a Movie
One of the most important things I do in my job is edit. When people first think of sharing their life story, they are overwhelmed with the vast amount of information to relate and tell. My job is to help them focus, record, and produce a clear, concise, and entertaining story.
One of the hardest things to do is edit your own family pictures. In his eyes, everything that was filmed seems to have great meaning and significance. But a wider audience may not feel the same way. This is why you MUST edit your footage if you plan on having others sit back and watch it for a long time. You must get to the heart of the story and remove all the non-essential details.
While there is great skill involved in editing an amazing movie together, for the average person, you don’t need great skills to make something that is entertaining and visible. Think of editing a movie as similar to editing a final work with your computer’s word processing program. You have a lot of ideas. You just need to remove the ones that don’t add to your thesis and move the ones that do until they make sense and flow together.
And just like you need to find the right word processing software to edit your final work, you will need to find the right movie editing software that works best with your computer and your skill level.
There are many types of editing software for Mac and PC at different prices. This article shares the top 5 software programs for beginners and advanced alike. It is a great summary of the best that exists and I totally agree with its recommendations. http://lifehacker.com/5165944/six-best-video-editing-applications
Once you’ve chosen your software, the first step in editing your movie is to CAPTURE all the footage you shot and put it on your computer.
• If you recorded to a removable drive, you can connect it to your computer and find all the clips you recorded ready for editing right away.
• If you filmed on digital tape, you will need to “digitize” your footage by connecting your camera to your computer via USB or Firewire and then using editing software to convert the footage into files that can be read by the software.
• If you shot on a DVD, you will need to use software that breaks the DVD into clips that can be used with your editing software. (I like MPEG Streamclip, for Mac or PC. It works well and it’s free! http://www.squared5.com/ )
Once you’ve captured your footage, you want to organize it into clips and containers that go with a theme or story, depending on how you decide to organize it.
Once you’ve organized your clips, you’ll place them on your software’s timeline and start rearranging them to create your story. This is where you’ll want to cut out all those extra bits that aren’t needed, like the many “umms” and “ahhs” from the speakers, or the footage where you forgot to turn off the record button while editing, or the party footage. Halloween last year that was on tape but is not relevant to the story they are editing together about the family reunion. (You get my point).
What will finally “connect the dots” and get your story flowing is through the use of Cutaway Shots. A simple example is using photos or other non-interview images to cover the cutoff points of an interview. (When you edit someone’s interview and cut it into smaller pieces, it will end up as a series of “jump cuts.” The cut or B-Roll takes cover these jump cuts.) The best cuts are the ones that are relevant to the story. and enhance its meaning.
Regardless of how you manage to edit the footage, the key is to make it shorter and even more meaningful than the original footage you recorded. Your audience will thank you more than you will ever know!