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Thread: Editing questions

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2020
    West Yorkshire, UK

    Default Editing questions

    Hi everyone

    I'm about to start editing a simple video I made in India showing the ghats of Varanasi viewed from a boat and have a few questions about editing.

    My friend and I were using two cameras (Go Pro 7 & Panasonic VX1) and I want to cut from one camera to the other.

    I did a couple of test edits and find the editing is too jarring, but I don't really want to use any fancy dissolving shots either.

    Can a fast fade to black/fade in from black work?

    Thank you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Surrey, UK
    Blog Entries


    Hi and welcome!

    Fast fades through black siggest a disjointedness. They might be used effectively in, say a drama where someone is abducted, and we want to give the impression theat they get only glimpses of their environment.

    Longer fades through black or dissolves are typically used to signify a change in location or a change in time.

    "Fancy" transitions are best used when you need to connect a series of non-contiguous, but somehow related scenes, such as in a title sequence or between scenes in a TV game show. They can also be used in the same way as dissolves in other shows, but note this is between scenes not between shots.

    In virtually all other cases, straight cuts are used. Watch any TV programme or film - particuarly narrative based (by which I mean it tells some sort of story, not it has a narrator) and you will find 99% stright cuts.

    The reason your shots are jarring is almost certainly due to mis matched shots either side of the cut. Two of the most jarring (and most common for novice film makers) cuts are:
    1. Change of image quality/colour/exposure/contrast
    2. Change of movement of the camera

    The first is down to matching shots as best you can. With different cameras this can be very difficult. indeed it's likely to be impossible on those cameras as the codec doesn't allow a lot of flexibilty, but, unles you shot with stupidly different settings, you should be able to get something close enough.

    The second is easier to avoid. If the camera is moving in one direction in the first shot, cutting to a movement in another direction, a static shot or even a movement in the same direction will jar. (Sometimes this is a desired effect). By far the simplest way to overcome this is to ensure the camera has come to a standstill before cutting away from a shot and ensure the shot you are cutting into starts with a static camera.

    On the other hand cutting on movement within the fame is good. If a subject is moving out of the frame, cut just as they are leaving the frame. Ditto coming into the frame. Or, if someone is, say, going from standing to sitting down, cut from one angle to the other another in the middle of the sitting movement. This is known as "cutting on movement". the reson this smoothes the transition is the viewer is distracted by the movement within the frame, whereas two static shots will emphasize minor differeces in colour/quality etc.

    Other things which can make cuts jar
    1. Crossing the line (filming forward out of a train window from one side, then cutting to filming forward from the other side or showing someone moving right to left cut to the same subject running left to right)
    2. Different sound. If you're using ambient/on camera audio, cutting the sound at the same time as the video really emphasises the cut. Use J and L cuts (cut the sound after or before cutting the video) and use audio dissolves to lessen the effect.
    3. Cutting between similar shots (jump cuts). Cuts between similar angles or similar amounts of zoom do not work. Aim for a difference of at least 30% so it is an obvious change of angle/size.
    4. If you're showing someone looking at something (or talking to someone else) when you cut to the new shot, it needs to match (ie if someone is looking towards the right and you cut to what they are looking at, thenew subject need to be on the right (this is all part of avoiding "crossing the line"
    5. Timing. If you are cutting for continuity, make sure it is realistic - ise don't show your subject passing close to the same static object in two consecutive shots.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2020
    West Yorkshire, UK


    Hi Tim, thanks for the welcome and great reply.

    So everyone is mainly using straight cuts. I will look at my footage again and try once more.

    I just joined the forum and am looking forward to reading some threads, hopefully taking some tips onboard too.

    Thank you!

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