5 tips when editing a short film for REC Ya Shorts

Editing is typically the final process that happens before your movie gets to you for final viewing. It can be a super creative process and editors are some of the best storytellers out there. If you’re finding the editing process a bit daunting, here are a few tips from REC Ya Shorts artistic director Kate Howat to help enhance your editing chops…

1. Keep a project directory

When editing a big project for the first time ever, it’s super easy to just throw everything onto your Desktop and hope for the best. Please don’t do that. Every single time you start an editing project, you create something called a “project directory.”

Create a project folder and, within that folder, have a few more folders labelled Raw Footage, Sound, Music, Photos, Graphics and so on. Then place all of your materials in these folders according to their type. It’s also good to label each individual file with a brief description of what’s happening in it (if you have time). This will make your project a lot more organised and keep things easily accessible.

2. Storage and back-up of your film

Hard drives and memory cards can fail from time to time. If it’s important, keep a copy of it in a separate location. Cloud storage is OK, but it’s also time-consuming when it comes to video. It’s always best to keep a copy of your project directory on your computer and on a separate hard drive somewhere else. When the project is over, and you want to keep an archive of everything, keep the files on yet another hard drive and delete things off your main computer. It’s totally worth doing.

3. Trim the fat first

Make the effort to trim your clips. It will save you a lot of time. Trim the beginning and the end of a clip to keep it clean – find the “right” moment before you add it. Your audience doesn’t want to watch an open field before the action happens, so get used to editing succinctly for your audience’s benefit.

4. Vary Your Shots

Another important thing to consider while editing is to keep your content visually interesting. Rather than just using the same shot for the entire video, try to vary things up with more interesting angles. This can be something as simple as recording your interview with two cameras and switching between them. A nice rule to keep in mind is to make cuts based on the beat of the music or at pauses when people speak.

5. Tell the story

Most importantly, always tell a story when you are editing. Keep in mind the basics of storytelling: beginning, middle, end. Editors – as a profession – are some of the best storytellers out there. Without them, you would have a collection of random shots with nothing to tie them together.

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