Shoot to Edit

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Black Lab
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Shoot to Edit

Post by Black Lab »

The following are excerpts from Home Video Hints: Shooting to Edit - 5 Tips for Success from

What does shooting have to do with editing? You see, editable raw footage possesses different demands than random raw footage. And, to make life simpler, you'll want to shoot to prepare for the process. It's not like you'll have to alter your methods drastically. Just some minor readjusting (as the following tips point out) will get you shooting edit-friendly video in no time.

1) You may think you are doing yourself a favor by keeping shots tight and quick. Your argument: there will be less footage to wade through when it comes time to cut the whole thing together. That makes sense. The problem with this logic, however, is that you'll need some room to make edits. At the least, run an extra five seconds at the beginning and end of every shot. Ten seconds is even better. Read more.

2) Give yourself a safety net in the editing room by having more than one choice. Whether you're working on an instructional, corporate, educational or other long-form, structured production, or making a fake commercial for fun, you'll want to shoot several takes of the same shot while you can. Nothing is worse than discovering during the edit process that a much-needed shot is ruined by a glitch in the tape, an unnoticed noise in the background, lighting problem or other, non-correctable gaffe. Read more.

3) Also known as "cover" shots, cutaways are shots of people, inanimate objects and atmospheric details surrounding a video outing. For example, if taping a wedding, it's a good idea to get some stray shots of people in the aisles, flowers, exteriors of the church, stained glass windows, a gift table and other images associated with the marriage. These become invaluable in editing when you need to cover up a mistake or awkward transition between scenes. Read more.

4) Continuity with regard to video means the appearance of atmosphere, wardrobe, talent and style remains continuous throughout the program. If your actor has a sombrero on in the first shot of a sequence, he must be wearing the hat when the camera returns to him later. Read more.

5) As you shoot any moving object (human or otherwise), make sure it is always moving in the same direction with regard to the viewer. A speeding train crossing the screen from right to left must be moving from right to left in successive shots. Otherwise it will appear as if the train is returning from where it came, or that two trains are on a collision course. Read more.
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Post by Ron P. »

Very valuable tips Black Lab...:)

I'll just add a touch to this topic, what's called Establishing Shots, which is very similar to Cover Shots. Establishing shots are used everyday in Hollywood movies, sitcoms, and soap-operas. The do exactly as their title suggests, establish where, and when the scenes that are going to follow are shot.

When viewing a T.V. show, how many times do you see a shot of a building, that is followed with a scene, or series of scenes from inside a building? Were those scenes really shot inside that building that you just saw? Or could they have been shot on a set? Providing the establishing shot of the outside of the building gives the impression that they were. When producing a video or movie, keep in mind that your viewers are not with you, and have no way of knowing where or when the video took place. So you need to provide them with some visualization of that. A short 5 sec shot of the building or location helps the viewers see just where this taking place, and even when it took place.

Establishing shots need not be limited to structures (buildings), but can be an outdoors shot of say the community, street/road, the common Welcome to Our Town signs located as you enter a town, a wide shot of a park, entrance to an amusement park, or even a specific room located inside the building. Just remember you're camera is the viewer's eyes. Don't blind-fold them, making them guess where they have been lead to, or force them to imagine where they are...;)

Next time you watch your favorite show or movie, pay attention to these very short shots, that may not have any actors present. The scene may open with an empty room, the camera panning from a central point to a doorway. Then in walks an actor or actors, or you may see an exterior shot of a house, apartment, or condo. This may be followed by a shot of an empty room, or perhaps will have the actors present. Those shots void of actors are the establishing shots. Producers and directors consider these to be very crucial to their productions. Establishing shots may be very short in duration, but play a big part in the movie.
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