I confess, I have no real experience editing. When it comes to using Final Cut (the software I edited on) I was a virgin. I can now say I’m not too bad on it, I know the basics and I am learning how to use it very effectively.
My group imported the footage from the tape in the camera to the program and it was stored on Ally’s hardrive. We then each took a copy of it to edit individually.
My first task was to sit through all the clips. There were many instances where errors were made, bloopers, cock-ups, filming the wrong things for the film and generic bad shots/audio. I deleted all the footage that was irrelevant. This gave me a number of useable clips. At this point I was very annoyed at the lack of clips available and how little of different shots we had (not to blow my own trumpet but I feel I filmed a few more and alternate shots when I had the chance). But I had to work with what I had.
For ease of finding clips I wanted I created bins to store similar clips in. Other people in my group renamed all the clips but I left them as ‘Untiled 1’ etc which really helped all the way through as I knew as I could refer to a certain numbered clip and find them easily in it’s specific bin.
My next step was putting the clips on the timeline in a rough order of sequence. This helped me vision how the finished piece was going to look. I left lots of gaps between each scene so I had room to play around with. I then started trimming and cutting the clips so I had exactly the clip I wanted. The basic skills of grabbing, cutting etc quickly became familiar and then in no time I had exactly what I wanted. Once I had sequenced the trimmed up, edited clips, I could move on to making a film out of ‘sequenced clips’.
I started by adding effects. Although not the best transitions, I felt fading was a very useful tool. It assists the storyline rather than be a tacky distraction. I was criticised by my peers for this but (at the end of editing) I found it paid off tremendously. There was also a point where fading helped to smoothen two clips together and mask the join between them. I decided that a ‘flashback’ of the events where the workman is killed was needed. I reinserted small sections of previously used clips to portray this. It had one problem though – it seemed that the film was just repeating itself. I then changed the setting on the clip to make it appear in grayscale and with a grainy effect (symbolising a memory). I picked up the use of ‘Copying Attributes’ of one clip to another and did this to the following clip where I had placed in another shot of the girl over the dead workman’s body.
There was a fantastic shot I feel I pulled off around the 110 second mark. Sophie, our actress, is sitting on the couch and is soon joined by her friend. I really feel I captured a spacial awareness in the shot by zooming in/key framing (in the editing stage) from 100 to 189 on her face. This zooming skill I had picked up led me to being able to give a couple of extra shots from what was a limited collection of clips. I also am very proud not off my skills as an editor, but my vision as an editor which are really shown in the subtly translucent clip transition from the girl’s friend sitting down which changes to another shot from a completely different angle as he hits the chair. Textually, this is very hard to explain but in the film it looks superb.
I was then happy with my visual aspect of the film. I now needed to work on the audio. A key technique I picked up was cross-fading the sound. This simple trick is incredibly useful and I am thankful to the person who explained this to me. Two particular examples of when I used this new technique are about 30 seconds where a light is turned on and when the camera pans up to the friend’s face when he is in the garage and determines ‘nothing is there’. The 30 seconds cross-fade started the audio and the end of the previous clip which then flowed into the current clip. It looks so much more professional to the amature audio skills I previously had. The camera panning audio fade made the dialogue happen as the shot moved upward so it flowed into the friend speak naturally.
I added a few sound effects into the film. One was an electricity spark sound for when the workman gets electrocuted, the other was a violin fade I used as a motif (it comes from the intro of ‘Walk On By’ by Gabrielle). I downloaded these pieces of audio using a YouTube converter then edited them in Audacity before finally importing them into my film. They add meaning to a few shots and also gives the piece more dynamocity.
I feel my edit is actually not that bad – as I originally thought it would be terrible, given the clips I had. Excuse the expression but I feel like I really did ‘polish a turd’.
I then exported my film.