post production video editing
One of my favourite video edits for this project and why?
Why is this Cycling video one of my favourite edits? There are many reasons but taken collectively this edit combines the hard work of filming on location in the difficult position of not having little if any control over the participants. I therefore had to position myself to get the shot rather than position the participants to be in front of the camera. I was also faced with the problem of there being too few participants to actually film and in many cases there would be just one cyclist on screen at any time.
Sometimes you just have to work with what you’ve got
At the time I doubted that I would end up with anything that would be interesting as the cyclists passed me in single file as they moved around the Velodrome, sometimes with 20 to 40 seconds between each rider or circuit, time enough to turn the camera off between shots. I had no choice but to work with what I had and produced the best edits I could from the footage, which even I knew was just not that exciting. To prove my theory I put these video edits up for critique and sure enough the feedback was not positive. A change of music and a switch to Black and White visuals just did not get over the problem of just how boring it is to watch 6 cyclists riding in single file around a track.
Post Production Video Editing – being Creative?
Creativity born out of necessity! I guess my thought processes were ‘How can I make just 6 cyclists appear to fill the screen’ and the answer came to me. I would layer the footage to double or even triple the number of cyclists on screen. Initially I tried matching the movements of the riders so that they were all going in the same direction and then I discovered that by crossing the riders over each other the lines on the track created an interesting pattern on screen, from this I went back and changed the layered video tracks to include more of this crossing over. Blending, the option I would normally have chosen would have been ‘screen or overlay’ but it was such a dull day filming that I felt colour was required so I opted for ‘Vivid Light’. Now when the riders cross over each other you see a burst of colour.
Taking creativity to the next level
Although the new video was a good improvement on the original video edits I decided to see if I could take this idea forward and add a new element to the final design. I’ve always had an interest in Montage and then I thought of one my favourite films ‘Grand Prix 1966, John Frankenheimer’ with the Montage visuals created by Saul Bass, the story is not as important as the visuals but there are parallels with my video. For example, it’s shot on a race track with cars circling in single file except when overtaking. The directors solution was to use Montage to show more cars on screen and to use a layering effect to show cars at different points on the track appear to be side by side and even crossing these visuals over to great effect. I’ve researched the internet for an example and although there’s no example of this effect on YouTube or anywhere else for that matter, but there is the Movie Tralier for the film, which shows some of the Saul Bass montage effects being used.
I’d already experimented with this technique on previous projects but without much success as the subjects I had to work with at the time did not fit with this technique, but maybe this one would.
The Montage video how it was done
First of all this is a Triptych design I chose this as the videos I was using had height but little width as they were mainly of single cyclists on a track. I didn’t want to rescale the videos to fit the frame so I switched to After Effects to use it’s Masking features to mask out the unwanted video. The first stage was to design the frame for the Triptych which is easy enough using a ‘Solid Object’ and adjust scale and positioning this on screen to create 3 equal sections.
Then it was time to decide on the footage to use and positioning. Another one of those creative ideas came to me when I decided to use the footage taken using the GoPro as the central video for the entire edit. My thoughts on this were that this would provide a continuous image throughout the video linking each piece together for the entire duration of the video. I decided to start the video from the point when the cyclist repositions himself to the middle of the track to follow the rider fitted with the GoPro camera. So the image start on the left of the screen and move to the centre in the opening few seconds and then remains there for the video. As I mentioned I did this using masks and keying in the movement as the video moves from the left to the centre. For the other videos I used the same technique sometimes adjusting the mask over 2 sections of the screen. Some of the footage was already colour graded but the GoPro footage was still in its raw state. I’ve been working with toning on my Photography work recently and decided to use this technique for the GoPro footage by adjusting the lows, mids and high tones to match green, brown and orange.
The footage of the single rider storming around the track at high speed I just had to use for the start and end of the video, I love the very low angle from which it is taken and the fixed focus, which seems to offer clarity yet the rider appears to appear in the distance unfocused and approach at high speed. This blurring effect along with a change in the duration settings adds to the effect of the riders speed.
I then ditched all the music I had lined up for this project and went back onto the internet to find others, an exhaustive task requiring hours of listening to unsuitable music to find a single track that would work.
Time to stop adding
The video is just 1 minute long, which I would normally have decided is not long enough. I wanted to see more of this cycling action on screen, but I decided not to add more footage – leave them wanting more.
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