The Edit

Editing the Film

I edited the film in Adobe’s Premiere Pro CC 2017. Other options were available to me such as Apple’s own Final Cut Pro, however I am more used to Premiere Pro for video editing, so decided that would be faster and easier to work with.

The timeline

 

This was the timeline of the final cut of my interview. It may look simple, but a lot is going on here and a lot of thought went into this one minute. the three separate layers are cutaways (on the top layer), the actual interview footage (on the middle layer) and the audio of the interview (on the bottom-most layer).

Cutaways

Just from looking at the timeline, you can notice a common theme, on most cuts in the main interview there is a cutaway. Why is this the case? Because the cutaways do more than just reveal more information about the interviewee and set the scene, they also hide little cuts in the interview that I have made. The raw interview was three minutes for this one minute clip so obviously, I had to trim down the interview, as is always said, editing is a lie. The cutaways I used almost too much to disguise the edits in my interview. This was one aspect I feel my film faulted in, relying too heavily on the cutaways to make my video flow that it did the opposite. (I have discussed the use of the cutaways and why I chose to feature what I did in its own blog post so I shan’t repeat these points here). The sequence was simple as I only really had to work with one clip, the interview, and simply show the additional footage, the cutaways, when they were relevant.

The audio

I have used only the audio from the room with no added ambient sound effects and no cutaway audio either. This was due to the brief I was given for this film, to understand filming and cutaway techniques as well as what worked best in presenting them, not on sound. In my actual documentary film, I believe I will use sound more to get across the tone of the piece as well as fill dead noise where I need to show a clip but do not want to use the clips original audio. For this interview clip however, I did not record or edit the sound in any way. (Again I have discussed recording the interview audio in a previous post on filming the interview, so shan’t repeat myself here).

Camera

I edited the look of the film slightly to ensure the look of professionalism I desired from the film. Part of this was to cut out the gun mic that was sometimes in shot due to the interviewer holding it: Holding Gun mic in shot

The cropping and re-framing tools within Premiere Pro allowed me to simply edit out this discrepancy. This was a valuable tool as it meant I didn’t have to re-shoot the interview as the issue was able to be solved within my editing software. (Obviously, it would have been easier to just not have the mic in shot at all), but it’s good to know that if there is a minor discrepancy within the filming, instead of scrapping the whole thing and having to re-shoot, or just leaving the issue in and having an unprofessional product, it can be edited out with little hassle.

Another filming issue that was solved through editing was camera changes, shown in the raw footage.

The camera zooms in slightly, overcompensating to cut out the gun mic as the interviewee also moves the microphone down. This change in camera position issue was fixed in editing. I was able to mirror the previous position of the subject and camera zoom level giving the effect of no change in camera angle, and retaining the professional overall look of my interview.

Effects

There were only two effects in the film, as it is supposed to be a documentary relating information and not a flashy video promote any point to the viewer, the effects being a fade from black to introduce the interview and a fade to black to conclude. These two effects I achieved through keyframing.

These effects I feel gave my interview video a feeling of relaxation matching the colloquial outfit and surrounding mise-en-scéne in the film. The process of keyframing is an easy technique to change the features of a clip quickly, choosing a point and effect, in this case opacity, a fade is an easy effect to accomplish.

Order of shots

This would be a better section for a film with more than one long interview with only cutaways, but I did move the order of the questions to best fit the flow I desired for my interview. Initially, I was happy with the order of the questions, but upon hearing the answers of my interviewee, Sam, I decided what the best order of the answers would be and what questions to cut out entirely. The questions were asked in the order:

  1. What’s the hardest thing about being independent?
  2. Do you cook by yourself?
  3. Are you getting on with your flat?
  4. Do you miss home?
  5. Are you enjoying your course?
  6. How are you managing your budgeting?

But in the final film the order was:

  1. What’s the hardest thing about being independent?
  2. Do you cook by yourself? + Are you getting on with your flat? (with sections cut out)
  3. Are you enjoying your course?
  4. Do you miss home?

The question of “How are you managing your budgeting?” I feel didn’t flow with the rest of the film. I also felt, along with my team, that the better note to end on was of missing home, so I switched the questions “Are you enjoying your course?” and “Do you miss home?” These decisions, along with cutting out waffle and pauses, made my interview flow as well as keeping the film within the time restrictions.

To Conclude

The editing was the most enjoyable part for me as I was able to see the clips I had filmed coming together, but also because I was able to fix the issues in my filming. Editing should not be for fixing these issues, it should be more about narrative and making sure that the interview flows properly, as well as getting across: A.  what you want to reveal and B. what the interviewee wants to reveal about the subject of discussion. I also feel I was able to make my interview look closer to industry standards without access to a high  production camera or more advanced video editing software!

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