Is making visually mesmerizing videos an art? Yes! And, a major portion of making it look amazing boils down to the finesse of the editor. Most people think that video editing is only about cutting out all the stuff that does not look good, but, it's certainly a lot more than that.
It is the drama you create on the edit table, with the spice of emotions to tell your story in a better way. Fortunately, after running through a lot of points in my head, I have compiled a few which have come most in handy to me, over the years. If you are an editor in the making, you might find the following tips useful.
1. What is the blueprint?
I think every video begins with the idea. One needs to be certain about the thought behind the video/animation you are about to make. Unless we are not crystal clear about the concept, the entire flow ahead could topple over like domino effect.
2. Who’s going to watch your video?
Sometimes, a perfect edit might not be what a brand/project requires. If anything, it might need to purposely look a bit rough around the edges so that it matches the overall tonality of the brand. Hence knowing the purpose of the video will always guide you on making various decisions for the said project. After all, you are editing keeping the end consumer in mind. Impress them, not yourself.
3. Did you find references?
They say, when you start right, your journey through the end will be a good one. At times we get started on a brief too quickly and then we usually doubt the visuals or the flow; that is because maybe we have rushed a little and skipped referencing. Finding out more about the zone, genre or the style of the video is never a bad idea. The more you explore, the more ideas you get to add to your project. Many times, a familiar genre that you think you have mastered can take a surprising, edgy turn all because you did not forget to refence and research.
4. How long is it?
Duration helps bring structure to a project and a good editor always plays by the rules. A film in a theatre might go on for an hour or two while it’s just 60 seconds on Instagram, to tell a compelling story. The pre-set duration of the video not only helps you know the time in hand but also how you should divide the entire structure to bring about the right communication at the right time. In fact, various organisations such as award competitions always have a said limit, so if not considered beforehand it can be a huge stress later.
5. Is your video’s artwork up to speed?
I believe the entire look and feel of the frames set the drama alive. I recollect reading a good article earlier which stated that there is a psychology of shape, colour and different colours depict different moods, for instance Red emphasises excitement and boldness while Green can go for peace, health and growth. In the same way the correct design and art can raise your video’s appeal remarkably.
6. What’s it going to sound like?
Sound is king! I would say music is also somewhat related to art and along with art even music plays a major role in setting the mood and emotion of the video. Imagine, you’re watching a scene shot at night which slowly zooms in at a house. Now the music decides for the audience what the scene is about, if there is scary background score then definitely it’s a horror scene, but if you play on some contrabassoon music people might take it for a romantic scene. Also, sound effect is the hidden key to crisp up moments in a video, that microscopic sounds from spoons clinging to doorknob turning, always build a perfect clip.
7. Did you forget about the supers?
Very less often you need a lot of supers in a video, again the purpose and the concept are the key. But out of my experience one basic thing I have learnt is to have enough stay on a text-based frame. Usually we are so engrossed in the process, that we do not realise if the audience will be able to read the text or not. Hence many times I show the videos to my colleagues to ensure that readability is not being hampered. Also, since now the globe is turning towards smartphones and smaller screens for consuming all types of content, a reasonable font size can establish a seamless viewership. Too small may cause difficulty in reading and understanding and too big can ruin the frame and hide visuals in some cases.
8. Why did i forget to do this?
This is every editor’s worst nightmare. For most of us this is a ritual but still many times it just skips our minds. I personally use the common “Collect Project” feature after finishing up a project. (Collecting Project function allows the software to collect all your files used in the project into one single folder irrespective of where you had last saved them.) This function not only makes sure that the project is safe but also helps to make sure that no file is missed, and no media is displayed offline when you boot up next.
While we all are passionate about what we do best, having a few points in mind will help us push the boundaries a little more.
Written by Sahil Chauhan, Senior Motion Graphics Artist at Dentsu Webchutney