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Thread: Video Montage Guidelines

  1. #1
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    Default Video Montage Guidelines

    I have difficulty making montages that I'm happy with. I'm thinking here of loads of clips over an uptempo piece of music. Like some TV ads or music videos. And I'd like help
    Don't get me wrong, I'm not after technical guidance, I'm more than technically capable of chopping up clips and cutting to the beat (and introducing any effect if deemed necessary), mixing stills, P&C etc.
    It's more creative and artistic guidance I'm looking for.
    I appreciate that there's probably no magic formula that will enable me to turn out something comparable with (say) some of GDR's wedding trailers, but equally I can't help thinking there must be a few basic rulesor guidelines which may make the process somewhat more productive than the hit & miss approach I'm currently taking.
    Just in case it helps - As a concrete example, I'm currently editing a montage of clips of the "kid's club" (featuring mainly my daughter). This is no biggie - only for family viewing - but it's a question of pride that it should be done well.
    I have footage of a "sing along" song taken on a variety of occasions which I've already edited together (lots of cuts from the different footages) which will form the basis - so I already have appropriate music and footage to fill in any "spaces"
    I have a lot of clips of: my daughter on slides/swings, my daughter and others kids on a bouncy castle, my daughter & others playing organised games, loads of people in the (shallow) pool playing games/singing.
    I've done a bit of Googling but as soon as you type in "video" and "montage" all you get is loads of links to software that will automatically create video montages from stills.
    Tim

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    Phew - that is a hell of a question Tim, and I suspect everyone approaches this process differently, but I can tell you how I work and it may be of assistance.

    I have just finished a high energy pop vid type edit so it's all fresh in my noggin.

    I start by watching all my captured video many times. I dont capture with scene detect on, so I just watch it all through. As I do this I will have an idea in my mind of the type of music ( what vibe) I am after so then I try watching the raw stuff with different tunes to see what transpires.

    I have the music in my head and know the video - now the structure begins to form in my mind. Next I edit all the shots I like thinking about how they start and end and how they might edit together - I look for linking actions and or obvious places to cut.

    Near the end I think about the ' look ' to keep it feeling of a piece. EG the techno zombie edit is all low lows and high highs both sats and gamma, and a 'acry' flickery look. All fx aiming to add so,ething specific rather then just being bunged on willy nilly.

    Thats it sort of. It's a hard process to describe.

    I have left out one coffee / fag every thirty mins, staying up all night when in the zone, shouting / cheering at the computer...

    Sometimes i do get totally stuck. Nagging at me is an edit of a kids party that I just cant find a hook for yet.

  3. #3

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    I make montages from all sorts of scenarios and also carry out same day edits in under 2 hours which teaches you (a) to be quick (b) hit the button.
    In reviewing any storyline, no matter how long, there will be iconic scenes of maybe only a few seconds, that tell the story of that particular section of the day.
    Piecing together these clips with the right choice of music, fades, cut to the beat and cutaways are what makes it all work. Jump cuts rarely work.
    When the hairs on the back of your neck spring into life, you're nearly there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark W View Post
    Phew - that is a hell of a question Tim.
    And that's a hell of an answer, too. Thanks Mark.
    I can see how that works for you and I can see how as you watch your footage again and again a germ of an idea may develop into something more concrete - indeed this has been known to happen to me on the odd occasion. Nevertheless I'm really a techie with very little natural creativity and I need all the help I can get from structures/guideline/rules etc.
    What I guess I'm hoping for is someone who can come up with the equivalent of "not crossing the line", "rule of thirds", "don't cut between camera angles less than 20 degrees different", "don't cut between focal length that are too similar" - ie stuff I can quantify. Maybe such guidelines don't exist and I'll just have to keep plugging away until it becomes more natutral for me to produce something I'm happier with.
    It is encouraging (for me anyway) though to know that like me you have stuff hanging around waiting for you to get a germ of an idea.
    Tim

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zero View Post
    I make montages from all sorts of scenarios and also carry out same day edits in under 2 hours which teaches you (a) to be quick (b) hit the button.
    Actually that's probably a great way for me to improve. Once I begin to understand something I do have a tendency to over-analyse to the extent that I never finish anything. Perhaps I should just go for quantity & speed, accepting the product will not be perfect, but that as I do more, the quality will improve over time.
    Tim

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    Ahh - I see.

    Most of these rules are rules only for hollywood. In the thirites and forites the process of production became an industrial process and rules developed so audiences were served films that thay could easilt digest.

    Keep to these rules and your films will look ' swish ' and connected with a flow people can engage in.

    Once you know these rules breaking them can be much more creative too.

    A book I have read several times and use for reference is - ' the five Cs of cinemaphotography', Mascelli.

    Found it in waterstones, 25.

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    My instincts have been honed over 10 years and I too can still agonise for hours over shots that just don't work. Being brutal is an option especially when there's time constraints, and sometimes these 'quick' edits work best.
    Obviously, we can all go back in time and we'd re-edit most things differently. Learn to trust your instinct.

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    The secret? Practice. It's one of those things you simply get a feel for with experience. You know what kinds of movement work well together in cuts, and how to pace to the music. Cutting to the beat is one way to put it, but I much prefer the term pacing to the music. On that note, it's also good to develop a library of music. It's amazing how the musci can inspire you in ways you'd never have though. I've often watched my cut videos without music and that's when you know if you've got the edits right.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark W View Post
    Once you know these rules breaking them can be much more creative too.
    As with everything (at least in the "Arts"). I think one goes through three stages.
    1. Learn the rules. This gets you up and running quickly, producing work (photo/film/sculpture/landscape painting/council estate) which may be fairly ordinary but at least won't be a pig's ear.
    2. Learn & understand why those rules exist. Knowing why a rule exists helps you exploit their benefits.
    3. Break the Rules. So long as you understand what you are doing, breaking the rules can have a variety of effects, mostly challenging the audience.

    I'm still very much at stage 1 and not even there with montages. But from all the (very prompt) feedback I've had so far, it seems there are no general guidelines to follow.

    I'll look up the book you mentioned - sounds like a useful addition, but I suspect it doesn't have what I want for montages.
    [/quote]
    Tim

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    Wise words above.
    I totally agree with Marc too about music. I have a file of ' editable' tunes, and in fact the latest tune for the xombie edit was one I spotted about 3 months back as 'editable' to.

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