My 10 Commandments for better video editing

Prompt: What you will do differently next time you put together a video story to make it better than the one you did? Be sure to cite specific ideas from the readings and/or specific pieces of feedback your received.

The title of this post is quite fitting, as I just went over the 10 commandments with my third- and fourth-grade Hebrew school class. Although we focused on monotheism, I’ll change things up a bit here to focus on video editing and how I can do it better.

While I’d encourage anyone to not make the mistakes I have, I’ll note here that these are commandments that apply specifically to me, not necessarily general ones.

1. I shall have a fuller understanding of what jump cuts are and how to avoid them.

2. I shall have my subjects speak up when using stick microphones.

3. I shall not take for granted that my camera can focus itself.

4. I shall use tighter framing in my interviews.

5. I shall work to get even more detail shots, even when I don’t think I need them.

6. I shall not take shots that are not precisely leveled.

7. I shall work to even out the volume levels between my voicing, natural sound and interview clips.

8. I shall keep trying to have my voice be conversational and natural when I voice parts of the story.

9. I shall not jump the gun by introducing my subjects by name and let the lower third do that for me.

10. I shall work to be faster as I use the camera so I can film more complete five-shot sequences.

My first attempt at a video package was not perfect (by any stretch), but I am proud that I was able to piece it all together. The whole time I felt like I was juggling text, soundbites, natural sound, b-roll, and interview footage. I’m know I definitely included more jump cuts than were appropriate, but I didn’t quite understand what they were until watching other people’s videos in class. I guess I assume that the viewer is sharp enough to know that my subjects aren’t traveling through space or time, but maybe that’s just me. I won’t make the same mistakes again.

I am happy, however, that I told a story of the class, from barre, to stretching, to center work, to across the floor combinations.¬†Going forward, I’m glad I’ll have some more specific ground rules to guide me and pitfalls to watch out for.

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