Having a production team that understands the post-production process will ease the video editing process saving you both time and money. Here are some tips to help you think ahead to the editing process while you are shooting your footage.
1. Plan your video production
Planning a video production is not only essential in terms of creating an efficient production experience, it also goes a long way to ease the video editing phase of your project. Planning should include having a storyboard and a shooting schedule so that you know what you are shooting and when. This means that when your footage enters the editing suite, it will be accompanied by the original blueprint you had for filming. The editor will know roughly what order your footage is in, and more importantly, they will know what ‘story’ you are trying to tell.
2. Use extra takes
Whilst shooting, consider when a couple of extra takes might be useful. For example, you may be shooting a scene and you may not feel 100% about a first take. There is no harm in shooting a couple of extra takes so that your video editor has some options to work with; they may be able to see pros and cons in the editing room that you aren’t able to see on location.
3. Getting the sound right
Many people producing video fail to see the importance of good sound… until the first time they are faced with really poorly recorded sound in the editing room (and then they shouldn’t make the same mistake again!). There are quite a few things you can do to give your video editor a fighting chance with your sound:
a) make sure you are using the correct equipment for the occasion (e.g. a directional microphone for interviews).
b) ensure that you take all of the correct equipment with you on your shoot – including spare batteries (for radio microphones for example).
c) make sure that you record a ‘wild track’ of the sound at each location. Sometimes, all an editor needs is some silence from a particular location to fill gaps – you would be surprised how difficult this is to find in a recording when it hasn’t been captured intentionally.
4. Shoot the same scene from different angles
Not only is this really useful in terms of video editing flexibility and options, it is also really effective visually and will give the scene a very professional look and feel.
5. Camera settings should not be forgotten
There are some settings on your camera which are useful to get right in the video production phase to limit the need for correction in the editing phase:
a) White balance: white balance is basically about telling your camera what ‘white’ is in a particular lighting situation (otherwise you might find that your footage looks a bit ‘blue’ or a bit ‘yellow’ depending on the location and the light). If you set your white balance on your camera in each new location you will save this having to be corrected during editing.
b) Use the zebra function: this isn’t the place to give you a lesson about camera exposure and how to use your aperture but here is a handy hint to help you avoid over exposing your shots; use the zebra button (most professional and semi-pro cameras have one). The zebra button will show you, in your viewfinder, which areas of your shot are over exposed and you can adjust your aperture and shutter speed accordingly. If your shots are too dark, a good video editor will be able to rescue some of what you have lost. However, if your shots are too bright, it is impossible to recover the colour, no matter how qualified your editor is.
6. Gathering cutaways to make video editing easier
If you would like your editor to love you (even if you are doing your own editing, you will thank yourself) then gather plenty of cutaways when you are shooting. Cutaways can come in a number of forms. The most important thing is that they are relevant to the main subject matter of your video production. Cutaways can provide extra information to your viewers and they are also great sticky plasters and can cover up splices in editing or camera errors (e.g. unwanted camera movement that has a negative effect on a shot).
7. Video editing when interviewing
If your video is going to include any interviews, be prepared. Here are some tips for the interview process that will help your editor.
a) Ask open questions: especially if you don’t want to include the questions in the video. If you ask closed questions, you will get one word answers which will be useless for your video.
b) Prepare your interviewees: explain that they can take their time and that if they need time to think about their answers that this is okay. If people are nervous they will ramble and you won’t get the best answers – make them feel comfortable.
c) Gaps and breaths: Encourage your interviewees to pause for three seconds before and after answering a question. This will give the editor some space that might be useful.
d) Time limits: There are times when a short snappy answer is better than a long-winded explanation. Try giving your interviewee 30 seconds (for example) to answer your question e.g. ‘tell me about your job role in 30 seconds’. This can help interviewees because sometimes they don’t know when to stop talking and just continue because they think they should.
e) Don’t interrupt: Your editor will be extremely annoyed if you interrupt the flow of an answer – especially if you are trying to cut out the presence of the interviewer and questions.
8. Continuity in your video production
Continuity is about creating a video that makes visual sense to an audience and doesn’t jar with their experience of space and time. The best example is food and drink. Beware of drinks or food! A drink that is almost empty at the start of a sequence and then full at the end will conflict with the viewers understanding that the sequence represents a chronological order of events. The same applies to clothing and hair styles (e.g. if you are thinking about shooting a second take on another date, be sure that your on-screen contributors don’t go off and dye their hair another colour.
These are video editing lessons that most people learn from experience (or mistakes!). We hope this has been helpful and will prevent you making rookie errors when producing video for the first time.