Updated: Jul 27
After a normal video shoot there's a ton of footage to sift through and sitting down to edit might seem overwhelming and intimidating. You might even wonder, "Isn't there a video editor app or something?" But, as video editors we really enjoy having the freedom of a thorough interview to be able to choose the best sound bites for a heartfelt storytelling video, or a beautifully lit product video that really make an impact. Whatever type of video project we are working on, we have a well refined video editing process and the foundation of it all is organization. We want to provide our clients with a very smooth, collaborative, and professional review process. Our goal is to align with our clients on story, cinematic look and feel, and ultimately achieve the results our clients are looking for! Here is a peek into our process.
Video Organization is Key
We start by importing footage into a project. Labeling is a key component to getting started. We love folders and bins and dates. The reason we are so organized upfront (other than our own sanity) is because we work together on projects and we prefer for our heads not to spin when we share a project. Sometimes we need another set of eyes on the edit that we’ve been staring at cross-eyed for days. Teamwork makes the dream work, baby! When we label dates/projects correctly there is no confusion between us on which version is the latest. This way, too, we can always go back into a project any time in the future and see at a glance what content we have, and what people talked about. Brains are good at remembering, but this is better and has saved hours of rework for clients revisiting past projects. We can pull up any version of a project faster than you can say “do you guys still have….”
Subclipping is like the homework you never wanted to do, but if you didn’t, you’d fail the class. When editing interviews, subclipping creates little chunks of the interview so you can label them with keywords you will look for later when you build the edit. We use the asterisks in front of our keywords so we can organize within the bins and find which sound bites we liked the best. This is probably the most time consuming part of the process, but also the most crucial. We’re all the time building and refining an edit in our heads as we’re subclipping. Editing from a transcript works ok, but editing from subclips really immerses you in the tone and context of the words on a transcript. A great part about our subclipping for you as a client is if there is a specific sound bite that you’d like to share on social media, or added into the edit, we can find it very quickly because we did the labeling work up front. Another perk of organizing upfront, is that YOU save money because we can be fast in finding the clip for the re-edit. WIN!
A-Roll Edit Build
Now we are ready to cut a story together! What is A-Roll? It’s the interview portion of a video arranged in a linear story on a timeline. We like to have this first version longer than we know the video will end up being, so that the client can choose what to cut out. Sometimes it’s hard to get content down to the ideal length, but we’re kind of lucky that way in having our gold mine of content to work with. We align with you, our client, on what your goal is with the video in the preproduction phase, so A-Roll usually comes together fairly quickly. Sometimes you can get away with a video of just the A-Roll but if you didn’t shoot two angles or focal lengths you might end up with some jump cuts. Not to worry, that is why we shoot B-Roll!
B-Roll Edit Build
B-Roll is the supporting footage that overlays the A-Roll. We will go through all of our usable B-Roll and lay it on a timeline. Then we go through and pick out the best shots out of everything we captured. B-Roll is typically shot without audio, so that this footage covers any jump cuts and adds to the visualization of the story. B-Roll really adds production value, and we use it in almost every single video we put together. It helps move the story along and acts as a way the audience can connect more with the story.
Depending on the video, sometimes it’s a good idea to look for music options before beginning the edit. For example, when we put sizzle reels together we typically spend some time upfront looking for a catchy tune that makes an impact. Then we edit to the music. It’s wild how much music can change the vibe of any video!
There you have it! We love video editing because it's an art form of storytelling. The possibilities are endless and it’s always exciting to get footage back from a commercial video shoot and begin the process. It’s also really cool to have the freedom of opportunity to try new things with each project we take on. Sometimes an edit is just missing something and it’s very satisfying to push ourselves to find the thing to elevate the video with an effect, graphic, animation, or an atypical music track.
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Shift Visuals is a Wisconsin based video production and commercial photography company located in the heard of Green Bay. We travel throughout the midwest for our clients as well as offer remote video production services.