Basic Editing Tips

After you’ve finished principle photography on your brilliant masterpiece, the next step is to start post production and edit your story together. Your story is written 3 times – once during the scriptwriting phase, another time during directing of the film, and a third with editing it. You can change the tone and the meaning of a story by editing footage differently. Editing is very important and can really make or break your film.

First, what programs are available for you to use?  Here at Pixel Productions, our editors use Adobe Premiere Pro 2017. Final Cut X is also another program that rivals Premiere. It has a different layout but will give you the same results as Premier. These are both programs one would need to pay for, but DaVinci Resolve 12.5 is a wonderful free program that doesn’t have as many options as the two stated before but will definitely be sufficient in basic editing.

  1. Organize your footage and audio

No matter what, organize your footage!! You’ll thank yourself later when you’re not looking all through your data for a single clip. Use the bin function in your software the same way you’d use folders on your computer. I recommend using this to organize clips you will use, and bad takes. Same with the audio

  1. Sync audio before you cut

Most productions use an external audio recorder which can later be synced with footage that can come with or without scratch audio. In order to sync external audio with the footage, open the wavelengths of each audio file (external and camera audio) and find the slap of the slate in both. It will be a large audio spike that will look like a peak in information. Line those up on a timeline and there you go! No scratch audio or slate? Looks like you’ll have to match up the sounds with your actors movements. This will take more time, and may be frustrating but can be done.  

  1. Cut on action

“Arrive late, leave early” Is what I was told when I was learning how to edit. It means to cut during an action. If an actor is filmed running, cut off the awkward stop and starting frames. It came make the whole film look more fluid and alive.

  1. Save often

MOST IMPORTANT! Computers are great tools that help us most of the time. These programs are made to save your work periodically automatically, but this can malfunction if the program crashes. To avoid this, make sure you are editing on a computer that can properly handle the large programs with a large amount of memory!

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