EMP – Post Production Video Editing (Choices)

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.Velodrome Track Cyclist 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.

Word Count 1111


Specialist Project – Post Production

post production

Editing Decisions

Post production isn’t only about the editing tools used, but also about the look and flow of the final piece. It’s also the time to make decisions on the content, narrative and the visual look of the documentary. For example the questions asked in the documentary and therefore the answers to those questions maybe work better in a different sequence? For my final edit the I have changed the order, grouping answers so that they follow each other in a more cohesive manner. A simple change can have a dramatic effect on the final documentary, even though the answers are the same, the sequence can change the context and narrative.

The editing process can also change the pace of the documentary. Rapid and I mean by this short cuts say of 1-2 seconds increase the pace, whereas decreasing the number of cuts say of 5-10 seconds slow the pace of the documentary. For my project I feel the pace should be slow and so there are fewer cuts. I did create an edit with lots of cuts and it just did not work for this subject.

Premiere Pro CS5 – Post Production

My tool of choice is still Premiere Pro CS5 for editing my videos even though we have access to CS6 at University. I use CS5 mainly as I believe they got it right with this version and subsequent updates have added little, except for some changes to functionality, which are annoying rather than of benefit and the move to a Cloud based option, which is a bad idea when considering the poor access speed I have to the internet at home.

Post Production – WorkflowPremier Pro CS5 screenshot

Note the use of Colour Balance in the above screenshot (see below for description)

This is my workflow process and may not be what is recommended or the best but it works for me.

First step is to copy all the footage to a directory which I call Video Projects then create sub directories for the each stage of the FIlming schedule so for example the Interview footage goes into the Interview sub-folder, rehearsal footage in the Technical Rehearsal sub folder, repeat this for each filming session of stage in the documentary process.

The 2nd step is to create ‘Bins’ for my media files in Premiere Pro that directly relate to the project for example the ‘Interview Footage’ is dragged into the ‘Interview Bin’. The footage taken during the productions ‘Technical Rehearsal’ dragged into a Bin of the same name. Music into aother Bin and so on.

The 3rd step is to review each of the movie clips against the shot list and confirm which ones to use. I usually drag them into the Preview window and make rough edits for in and out and make a note of the sequence and a short description relating to the clip number.

The order that I use these clips, dragging them onto the Timeline is per-determined by the shot list which for this project ran in sequential order.

Premier Pro CS5 screenshot 2

4th Step:- I should mention the B-roll, this is the clips I would use keep the viewer interested as there is only so long you can have video of talking heads before the viewer loses interest. You need to film interesting images or add photographs relevant to the documentary for example I filmed close ups of hand movements, extracts from the performance, close ups of just the eyes of the interviewee.

5th Step: Time to add some music and check those volume levels. I’ve learn’t that you need to playback the sound from your edits through a number of audio sources. What I mean by this, is that the sound you hear from the speakers built into the Mac may be different when played back through headphones and different again when played back through a home cinema system. Watch out for those Bass settings in particular they can be non-existant on the Mac but overpowering on the Home Cinema System with its built in Sub Woofer.

6th Step: Colour grading – this is something I will do if required sometimes the video as shot is what I intended to see on screen but sometimes it is necessary to get the visuals you want for example video from 2 cameras may not match. But for this project I decided that purely for aesthetics I wanted to reduce the mid and high red tones and enhance the blues and greens. I used the colour balance option there are others you can use for example curves but I like to see the number settings so that I can make notes of what setting works best. Having  created this colour balance setting I saved it in Presets so that I could access it for other projects.

7th Step: This is optional but I planned to create 3 edits in total so I needed to create 2 New Sequences and then repeat the previous steps to create the other edits in the same way.

Post Production – Alternative Edits and Experimentation

The screenshot above is taken from an experimental edit I put together from the videos taken of the same dance routine but at different times and using different cameras – the Black and White sequence was shot using an iPad 3 and the Colour sequence shot on a Canon 60D DSLR. I then overlayed one on top of the other adjusting the Opacity of the overlayed video to just 45%. I then attempted to matched the visuals as closely as possible but not too closely to get this Ghosting effect.

View the Rushes

It makes sense to put together some rough edits initially and get people to watch these for feedback purposes. My 1st edits for this project were not received that well, the feedback was the music levels were too high, the clips I’d used for transitions were distracting rather than enhancing. On a positive note they liked the subject and the visuals particularly my use of colour grading. This is very useful feedback when creating the final edits.

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