August 16th, 2011 by shawnmontano
After Sex Offender is the 2nd story on my editor of the year tape.
It’s a general news story I edited in just over an hour. The photographer was invited to follow the Adam Walsh task force as they try and round up as many sex offenders as possible on this day.
What to learn from this post
Watch for movement in selecting In points
Select an edit point after a movement/motion has started
Pay attention to Eye Movement when possible
Sometimes you make an edit decision because it’s coolÂ
For this story I’m going to take you thru many edits and explain my edit decisions.
I start with a medium shot of a Marshall knocking on a door. I want to start with a good piece of natural sound and I didn’t have it in any other shot I liked. That is pretty much the only reason I start with this shot.
The 2nd shot [:03] of the story is this wide shot of a resident and the marshall opening the screen door. Notice how I wait until the marshall has already started opening the door. You are going to see edits on motion A LOT throughout this story. I’m a big fan of editing on motion
I’m a big fan of editing on motion
Editing on motion does several things. When you edit on a motion the feeling the viewer gets is they are watching something un-staged. If we start the edit and then he opens the door the act feels more staged. Like someone saying action and then it happening. You want edits to hide as much of any staging a possible (None of this story was staged and I never want the viewer to even remotely think that). Speaking of staging, watch reality TV for a real good example of this. Most of you reading this already understand much of reality TV isn’t all that real. How else could the camera be in the right places unless they knew what was going to happen. It’s the editing that makes reality TV seem so, well real. By editing on movement and starting the edit after an action has started they hide (which is what editing is supposed to do) a lot.
The third shot [:05] we’ve moved inside a residence. Â I use a J cut to help with the transition inside. The sound of the marshall before the video of the marshall inside blends the edits together better.
The 4th shot [:08] is also inside. I don’t let movement stop in the previous shot (they are walking in and the photographer following them is moving). I take the edit on this 4th shot just before the photographer walks into this bedroom. I use the movement of the photographer to help with my edit. Please notice a theme here. There is movement/motion at the beginning of each shot. Something I also pay attention to is eye trace and eye movement. Notice the last frame of shot 3 and the first frame of shot 4 (previous two stills) the Marshalls are in the center of the frame. I’m placing the viewer’s eye exactly where I want it. Â In this case in the center of the frame.
There is movement/motion at the beginning of each shot
Here is the last frame of shot 4.
Here is the first frame [:12] of the next shot I chose.
Both gentlemen are in the frame at the exact same spot. That’s no accident. When I get an opportunity to place the viewer’s eye exactly where I want them to be I do it in an edit.
Again in this shot I’m taking the edit mid-motion. If there is one thing that can improve your editing on ANY type of program its this. Take edits on motion instead of making an edit and then having a motion start in the frame.
This is a “I think it’s cool edit.” I take the edit mid-motion just like I done before. I chose to start the edit on this frame not because of eye movement but because the Marshall looks ‘cool.’ Coming out of the vehicle he’s got this drivin look on his face. He looks around while putting a piece of paper in his pocket. I think he just looks cool.
The next shot [:17] taken mid-movement and I utilize a J-cut here. Why? If we were following we wouldn’t be constantly looking at him. But once we heard him say something we would turn our heads and look at him. The J-cut imitates that.
The next 7 edits are all taken mid-motion or mid-movement. I don’t do that on this shot [:44] however.
Why? Well he have a caught criminal. He is just sitting there. The action of him sitting in handcuffs would draw your eye alone.
Another J-cut [:46] here. Why? Well you would be looking at the arrested individuals wouldn’t you. You would hear the Marshall speak and then turn to look at him. That’s why a J-cut is here.
For this edit [:50] notice I time the edit so that he puts head down just as the Marshall is saying they admitted to being here illegally.
The next 4 shots there is not much going on so my emphasis on movement isn’t as important. The Marshall is also doing some interviewing so I let those shots play out.
The final six shots there isn’t an emphasis on movement as well. The Marshalls have wrapped up todays work. I’m simply looking for shot to help convey that as much as possible. I’m also looking for shots that look ‘cool.’ I particularly like this one.
I like the rack focus [1:05] from the back of the vest to the Marshall.
It really is the simple things that make you a better editor.
Thanks for reading. Next post will be up August 29th.
This blog primary job is to focus on the editing of stories. But I would like to point out a few things about the videography.
1. The photographer stayed with either a medium or wide shot whenever an opportunity to catch an apprehension on camera. A very good idea.
2. Only when the environment was under control, like after an apprehension did the photographer shoot tight shots or try to get sequences.