As a filmmaker, one of the most essential skills you should have is video editing.
The ability to smoothly transition from one scene to the next is absolutely necessary when making films.
If you are to put a coherent story together on film, editing is the one skill that will help you. There are many editing styles used by filmmakers and it is typically down to the preferences of the filmmaker.
Film editing is a creative endeavor which is why there are so many styles. However, every filmmaker can improve their editing skills using some helpful advice.
The following are some tips to help filmmakers with their work:
If you want to produce quality film work, then you should cut tight between scenes. A tight cut means that the space between scenes is not jumpy but seamless. There are several ways that you can ensure a tight cut between scenes. One of them is to shorten the space between dialogues in far away scenes. The best way to ensure a tight cut between scenes is to do it right from the beginning. You will then end up with a general fist pass and then you can shorten it from there to a timeframe you want.
Use Different Angles
Most filmmakers today have the option of using multiple cameras when shooting a scene. It makes for much more interesting films that only use a single camera. A creative tip to use when editing films is to always use a different angle from the previous shot. There are times when using multiple camera angles is impossible for example when shooting dialogue between two people. However, if using different frames is possible, you should definitely do it.
There is much you can do to be more creative as it pertains to using various camera angles. One general rule to try is the thirty-degree angle which means that there should be at least a thirty-degree difference between subsequent shots.
Most filmmakers consider match-on-action to be something they do automatically. However, there are many films with issues that could have been solved by a simple match on action editing. Match-on action involves matching the actor’s stage position, gestures, and body movements together. Match on action ensures that the emotions stay consistent throughout the scene and the story is coherent.
Match on the action is a technical skill that many filmmakers avoid by thinking it is enough to tell an engaging story. However, the best filmmakers know how to balance portraying emotion with the technicality of a match on action.
Another key tip for filmmakers when editing films is to include environmental shots as opposed to only capturing the character. Putting details of the environment in a shot will help you build the story and reveal more about the character.
It is difficult to take environmental shots with a stationary camera. Therefore, you should explore other options such as Storyluts. It will help you add more detail to your shots.
Environmental shots really help build up a scene and contribute significantly to plot development. Moreover, having a cutaway is vital for a filmmaker in case there was an unwanted and unexpected element in a shot.
According to famous director Ron Howard who is a legend on both sides of the screen, if you want better edits as a filmmaker, it is better to collaborate than work alone. If his work is anything to go by, then he is absolutely right.
A creative collaboration between filmmakers can take your work to a whole new level. Different filmmakers will notice different things about a scene hence you will have more input with which to make a better film. Therefore, if you are the director of a film, it will help to work with a film editor. If you are the film editor, then you may be better off working with an assistant. Just ensure you lay the ground rules early for the working relationship.
Move the Camera
Most filmmakers tend to prefer stationary camera work. However, a moving camera allows you to capture a lot more which will give you more material when it comes to editing. Moving the camera is especially vital when capturing action sequences. Camera movement can be quite varied and can include moving with a camera in hand or simply rotating a camera on a stand. The choice is up to the director which works best for them between a stationary camera and a moving one. However, if you want more variety when editing the film, the latter is the better choice.
Framing is all about visual representation on a screen. It is not about taking similar shots over and over again but it is about similarly framed shots. A great tip to help filmmakers is to have a framing language for your film. It will significantly help the editor’s workflow and speed up the production process. As a filmmaker, you should always think about how the framing of a one-shot will correspond with the framing of other shots, particularly subsequent ones. The best work has a coherent framing language all through the film which makes editing very easy.
When shooting a film, it is common to have scenes that require cutaway shots. A tip for filmmakers in such cases is that it is a great idea to group cutaway inserts in threes. The typical duration of such a cutaway will be about two seconds making a total of six seconds of film. It is also a good idea to have the cutaways from a Point of View (POV) frame. The reason is that it gives the audience a good idea of the character’s surroundings. It mimics the real-world experience of turning your head to look around you which is what you want the audience to have.
There are many tips that a filmmaker can use to make their editing work better and easier than it otherwise would be. The above tips are only the tip of the iceberg. As a filmmaker, your best asset is your creativity which you should use to improve your editing.