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.