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Interview with Simply Thrilled

Danni McKee from Simply Thrilled recently had a phone call with me to chat about video editing and some of my processes. I've included a few relevant images as well. Check out the transcript below...

Danni: What’s the best process to edit a video?

Ollie: It depends on the type of content, because that’s kind of like asking, “how long is a piece of string!” I would say that with any project: organisation is key. You need to be meticulous, structure how you work and get to know the footage you’re working with as well. From a short film to a corporate film, it doesn’t matter what the project is, the best way to edit a video would be to get yourself organised. The sooner the better!

Over the years, I’ve had loads of projects handed over to me where I've had to pick up someone else’s work, and often the project has been a mess. This makes it hard to find clips, as everything's not labelled properly and it's not sorted properly either. So for me, organisation is one of the most important things. It’s not actually the editing itself, it's the organising of the footage and making sure you know where everything is, because ultimately if you've done that, your edit is always going to be way better.

Danni: Talk us through how you kick off an edit then?

Ollie: Say you’re given footage on a hard drive... Import that into Adobe Premiere or whatever software you’re using and start organising into different bins within that project. For example, you might get a hard drive where the footage is already in some folders, so you would probably keep that structure in your project, but those that have footage within those folders might not necessarily relate to your video. So for example, the first card which the footage is recorded on might be filmed in one location, the next card might be in another location, and it might have an interview or something on each card as well. So, I would import them as they were: card one, card two and card three and so on. But then after that, I would organise the clips, so if we had an interview with somebody, I would put all the clips for that interview in a separate bin and then each of those bins would be labelled up accordingly.

Danni: What are some cool time-saving tricks for editing?

Ollie: One of the things I tend to do when create a “selects” sequence, is place all my selects on video track one. Then when I use that clip in my main edit sequence I lift that from track one to track two. That way, when I come back to the selects sequence I can see which clips I already used. So that's kind of like a little time-saving thing, because it saves me having to look through all the clips, I can just look through the ones that have not been lifted up from track one to two.

I like labelling too, as you can use colour labels in Premiere. For example, you could label all the clips in yellow that are related to a particular question. Or when you have a multicam edit, labelling the clips so that you can easily see which video and audio tracks are connected. Labelling is something that a lot of people probably wouldn't do but it's actually quite a useful feature as well.

Danni: How do I make the film flow properly?

Ollie: I would say managing the pace is done by how you feel when you're watching it. I guess part of being an editor is having an editor's instinct. You get this instinct through experience and time, but when you're watching back whatever you've edited, it's knowing that maybe that bit of the film doesn't feel right, or that feels too long, or that feels too quick. It’s about watching it back and thinking, “I need to bring that cut forward, or I need to extend that further back.”

Also, gear changes are something that affect the flow. You might have a really quick cut for one part of the edit - it might be cutting to music - then as soon as an interview comes in, you might have it slow down a bit; as in high gear and low gear.

Danni: What are some cool editing effects worth experimenting with?

Ollie: Less is more. The editor has done a good job if you don’t know what the editor has done. For example, if you’re watching a film and you notice a cut here and there, unless it’s done on purpose, you shouldn’t be noticing cuts, because that can take you out of the moment and you realise you’re watching a film and not engaged in the story. That’s when you know the editor has done their job.

However, there are times where you'll get edits that are done stylistically. So, films like Baby Driver, for example, have really good stylistic

edits in them, such as when they cut to the music or whatever, and it's very intentional. So, then you'll watch and be like, “Oh, that was cool. I liked how that works.”

It's about less is more and making your edits do their job. They don't have to do anything more than their job, because it's not about being flashy and showing off, it's about doing what's right for the video/film.

Danni: How long does it take to edit a video?

Ollie: Everything in post production does take more time than shooting in general. So, you could go out and shoot for a few hours and if you're getting interviews, b-roll and stuff, then you might come back and that might take you a day to put together. It all depends on how much you're shooting or how much you're overshooting and capturing more than you need to. Also, what are the elements you’re going to be using, any kind of motion graphics and stuff because that all takes extra time.

Thanks to Danni for the chat and I hope that's given you a bit of insight into my editing brain.

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