June 8, 2014

Here Are Some Great Tips for Editing Interviews & Commercials

Dave Dugdale Swim CommercialBack at NAB 2014, Dave Dugdale, who runs Learning DSLR Video, took some interview footage and b-roll he had shot previously, and sat down with editor Chris Fenwick for a three-hour editing session. The goal was to see what Chris could do with the footage having never seen it before. The video has some great tips for editing interviews down to their most powerful and interesting bits, and if you've never used Final Cut Pro X (or you want to know it better), Chris talks about how he uses the program effectively.

A few weeks later Dave put together a great 30 second commercial from footage he had shot, and shared some of the things he learned while making it:

While you can only do so much with footage that has already been shot, if you're the one shooting the video, there are some things you can do to improve your chances of having a usable interview in post. If it's the type of video where the audience won't hear the question being asked, it's usually a good idea to try to have the interviewee repeat the question in their answer. This way you'll get a full soundbite rather than a truncated answer that may not fit in very well without some context. It can also be helpful for the interviewee not to reference other answers they've given earlier in the interview, since it's possible you won't be using that other answer in the edit.

For more on both of these videos, head on over to Dave's site using the links below.

Links:

Your Comment

25 Comments

Editing software doe matter. Paying a little more up front is worth it because nice things cost money. And people that know what they are doing with the software is irreplaceable.

Here is a commercial edited with After Effects. What great results! This is the directors cut.

http://vimeo.com/94341931

Red Epic with Panavision lenses helps too, of course.

June 8, 2014 at 11:30PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply
Gene

Edited with After Effects?!?!? I hope you mean Premiere.
Using AE for video editing is like driving an Abrams tank in a Formula 1 race.

June 9, 2014 at 12:03AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply
Harry Pray IV

I'm just quoting what I read in the description under the video.

June 9, 2014 at 12:07AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

2
Reply
Gene

I just counted 39 layers that would be in after effects (not counting whatever adjustment layers and nested comps etc they might have) that would all need selecting and sliding every time you wanted to change an edit.

Cutting that in after effects would be crazy. Edit in Premiere, right click on a clip and use the best feature ever REPLACE WITH AFTER EFFECTS COMPOSITION, live dynamic link. Best of both worlds. No drawback.

June 9, 2014 at 8:32AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

1
Reply

I do have one editing tip and thats cut mid motion. Someone lifts a cup of coffee to their face cut mid motion etc

June 9, 2014 at 8:36AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply

Whats crazy is people actually do cut in AE only and dont seem to mind. I seem to recall the editor on The Social Network staying within AE for a great deal of the edit, if not all of his future edits. Like anything you bend the tool to your will and preference.

June 9, 2014 at 9:54AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply
seth

That cant be right.

June 9, 2014 at 10:43AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply

The cut Social Network in FCP7, and used Premiere as translator to get the cut into AE where they simultaneously did the Conform and all 200+ VFX shots before sending it out to a Baselight to color. They didn't come close to cutting it in AE. That would've been a nightmare.

June 9, 2014 at 12:15PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

5
Reply
Charles

My bad, it was a Quantel Pablo, but if you're interested, here's the whole article:

http://www.creativeplanetnetwork.com/videography/features/network-39the-...

When he came back and did Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, they did essentially the same thing but in 4k.

http://blogs.adobe.com/aftereffects/2013/01/the-girl-with-the-dragon-tat...

June 9, 2014 at 12:20PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply
Charles

I just want to say thanks to all the guys in this set of replies. I learned from this conversation. I wish all replies had something worth reading like this set had.

June 9, 2014 at 11:17PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply
Gene

Yeah no. RPS cuts FCP7 but is switching to Premiere. Tried it with Gone Girl, seemed fine.

June 11, 2014 at 2:00AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

4
Reply
MD

I cut commercials. You've seen my work. This is terrible advice. Cut in FCP7. Its the only thing fast enough to handle this type of frame fucking work. Avid is fine, but better for long form and massive media management. X is for when you're a one man show, not going out to color, fx, conform, and mix. And premiere? Interface is too slow / sluggish for anything with a client in the room.

Cutting in after fx is straight stupid and infeasible.

June 11, 2014 at 1:53AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply
MD

Love this! However, it must be pointed out that Chris said, "editors should take a refresher course in the English language. I think "it" is a preposition." :)

June 9, 2014 at 12:12AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply

Of course everyone has their own style and each video has it's own needs - but after hundreds of interviews and human interest stories, I never ask my subject to repeat the question. I have a big list of questions, then start engaging a conversation. I let the subject know I want to talk, not interview. Inevitably the best soundbites come a couple lines in, and sound more natural than a repeated question. Always be ready with a quick follow up, like "why is that?" or anything that will keep them riffing. Always maintain strong eye contact, and learn how to engage them without making a sound, smile without laughing, etc. If they say something brilliant, but stumble, wait until the end of the interview and ask if they will repeat that part. Then in the edit don't get ahead of yourself, craft those soundbites on a timeline before starting the full edit. With some broll and a good sound program, like Premiere's link to Audition, you can make people sound brilliant and avoid that dreaded Frankenstein sound.

June 9, 2014 at 12:51AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

1
Reply

I think it can depend on what kind of video you're doing, but absolutely you're right that it's important to have an engaging conversation with them.

June 9, 2014 at 4:12AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

1
Reply
avatar
Joe Marine
Camera Department

I have to say, I spent the last months in film school working on 16mm Steenbeck table, editing a 15 min documentary. You would ask yourself if in year 2014 still does it make a sense to edit in 16mm. And well, it makes a lot. Before I had this experience I was an Avid fan but since I worked with film stripes and tape, I realized that the machine you edit with, is just a tool and its only function is to put IN and OUT together. Basta. End of the game. Color correction tools, effects, filters, audio tools (the audio on perfo tape is so shit) it's just an extra. But editing is so basic.... you can edit on the worst editing software in the world and still produce feelings. And that's it. All the other things, just an extra.
cheers.

June 9, 2014 at 7:13AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply
Gonzo

Dave Dougdale reminds me Saul Goodman :))

June 9, 2014 at 9:48AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

4
Reply
zoltan

Always great to see another editor's approach to editing. Thanks for sharing the plug-in info for Alex4D. Some very useful plug-ins there. Also appreciated the fact that this interview had issues in it and that Chris addressed those issues with his edit.

June 9, 2014 at 6:32PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply

What software is being used here to capture the macbook's screen? It seems to be a staple among software tutorial videos, with the ability to zoom in on a different section of the screen and seemingly after the fact. Anyone know?

Thanks.

June 10, 2014 at 6:37AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply
Chayse

Most use quicktime. Open QT, under file select new screen recording. You can record all or part of your screen. zoom in and out normally and it will record it. Audio can be toggled on of off.

June 10, 2014 at 12:30PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

3
Reply
claude riban

Almost certainly ScreenFlow. It allows for controlled zooms, edits, titles, shortcut key overlays and more.

June 11, 2014 at 2:10AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply

May I ?

I would not edit it that way : far too much info at the same time, I would either move the image AFTER the sound, or BEFORE, but not synchronised.. so the word "Dream" or the name of the place would come before the actual images..

I know this is cultural, but..

June 10, 2014 at 2:26PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply
PierreEmmanuel

Actually that's a great tip.

June 10, 2014 at 3:32PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

3
Reply
Theo Slawin

I love how Dave D is so self-effacing and genuine. He's always positioned as "hey I'm no expert" - he's learning - and sharing the learning experience. I've been an Avid editor since 1994 and I learn something new every day. Hey when you know it all, you're done. Dave's enthusiasm is infectious. Good on ya. It's also nice to see another editor's approach to plowing through material looking for the story - and the "nuggets.".

June 11, 2014 at 7:58PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

0
Reply
ronn

So lame. How can you even put this sort of thing on the site??? This belongs elsewhere.

June 13, 2014 at 4:21AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

6
Reply
Jacob.