The Zen of Editing…

I’m posting videos two and three up top here/read the backstory below. As soon as video one is cleared for public view, will put it up also.

Zero1 TechSoup
Apparently I can’t embed this one/so here’s the link: Click Here.

Zero1 Cisco

There is absolutely NOTHING like a pending deadline to get those creative juices running.

I have two videos and both are due tomorrow. Due to factors beyond my control, shooting wasn’t completed until Saturday and then life got in the way of editing. So at 6am this morning I dove into the projects.

Neither of these is scripted by the way – they’re both for an arts organization in San Jose and I have plenty of good interview sound (12+ minutes of edited-down bites) and cover shots (mine and the ahem…stuff they provided/more on that later). Plus I’ve got a whiz banger of a college student trying to prove his creds by creating a music bed for me. Oh – and I already jammed together a short demo for both them and a contest last week. But I want both of these vids to be new/different.

So how do you produce a video or two on deadline without a script? It helps that I interviewed the three main players with the organization and got not only great sound bot a sound understanding of what they’re doing. It also helps that they’ve given me a lot of freedom to pull this off (no bosses hanging over me nitpicking away at my every thought and edit).

My first goal is to lay down the audio bed for the one minute version. Plus a drifting logo. Done. That defines my time constraints – and I like to be right down to the nanosecond on that.

Right now I’m logging the sound – I already pulled the relevant bites and am transcribing and noting TRT for each. Then it’s off to the kettle for another cuppa tea while I read over the transcripts and mull over my strategy. I’ll grab a series of strong sound bites and play with them and the music bed…then slam in some strong b-roll. That should take care of v id1 in a few hours.

The longer and more challenging project has to be in storytelling mode and three to ten minutes long. More on that later…

(About the “aham” above…while the videos provided for b-roll from my arts org are okay, they are not professionally shot, although I will say one had an pretty good editor. I had no raw footage, which is my preference. Plus downloading standard def youtube videos is not my idea of image acquisition. Not to mention the issues of using hi def and standard def in the same project…but we can make this work. You do what you have to do.)

Day Two: Saved! My volunteer music creator came through early this morning (well, he emailed it last night) and I was able to drop the music bed in in place of the old one. It sings and zings! Trying to showcase a complex organization in a minute or less is a challenge, but one I’m pretty sure I pulled off. Music bed/sound bites, and b-roll and stills, all woven together into a tight little bundle. Into the Dropbox by 9am and on to video #2.

Now when I’m doing a series of related vids and know I’ll be using the same resources I take an easy shortcut. Stole the sound bites from the Artshots video and copied to video timeline #1 from yesterday. After logging new sound, I marked and popped the new bites into the same timeline and then created a new sequence for my final video project/the one I’m working on now and moved a copy of all bites over to that timeline. Saves a lot of time and grief.

Each of these videos has to be a bit difference. Artshots video had to be a 90 second sizzler. #2 video (for TechSoup) had no boundaries except it had to run about a minute. #3 video (for Cisco) can run up to ten minutes long…which is nice. I can just pick a pace and edit along until it is done – and right now I’m hanging in there at about five minutes. Just about right. Once the flurry is over (say about a month from now) I’ll link to all three so you can see how they went.


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