During a professional shoot, it’s normal to shoot more footage than you will actually use in your final video. You may shoot extra footage just to ensure you have a variety of good choices, or sometimes your team may be uncertain about the way a particular shot should look, and decides to try it a couple of different ways. Let’s take a look at five habits you should embrace during your edit.
Top 5 Habits for an effective video editor
1. Allocate enough time to complete your edit
Rushing through any project produces inferior results. Set a realistic goal for completion and then pad it with extra time. If you finish early you may have time to go back and finesse your edit in places where you thought you did not have the time to experiment. It’s better to finish a quality project before your deadline rather than after it.
2. Remain objective about your edit
It’s very easy to become too attached to a project, or to a particular shot if you were the one who shot the video. In some cases, even if you weren’t. Sometimes it’s smart to take a break from your edit to regroup and make sure you’re not falling into this trap. Distancing yourself will let you come back and more easily remove unnecessary elements that you had previously thought to be important. Don’t hesitate to ask others to review your edits if you have the option to do so.
3. Always be aware of your priorities
For a personal event video, the two most important elements are probably emotion and story. You should always focus on these two elements and remove shots that do not add to them. For a technical or how-to video you would want to focus on detail and process. It is important to use transitional elements to connect your story but if you deviate from the important elements too much you risk boring or distracting your viewer—or worse, loosing the integrity of your story.
4. Focus on the best shots you have
Always try to use the best footage you have. The quality will carry through to your final edit. Be ready to re-think your script if your video does not support your original ideas.
I recently had to re-think a storyboard I had put together for a music video I am shooting. When I scouted the location for the video I came away with the plan to shoot in a style reflective of a Beatlesesque black-and-white documentary. My storyboard reflected a high contrast black-and-white look with heavy film grain. You can see a sample at the top of this article. After we got on site and set up our Kino-Flo light kit and looked through the camera lens it was immediately apparent that a stylized color look may be the best way to go. My mind had been set on the vintage documentary look but I seriously need to reconsider the creative treatment.
5. Keep a copy of each edited version
Make frequent backups of your project. If you make a mistake or remove something that a few days later you wish you had kept in you’ll be able to bring those elements back. Backing up project builds is essential.