Join Maxim Jago for an in-depth discussion in this video Considering structure, part of EPK Editing Workflows 02: Creative Editing and Fine-Tuning.
Once you finish stripping out the absolutely unnecessary content from your clips, you are probably shave off a little bit of time from the sequence. Let's have a look. I am down to about eight and a half minutes. So, I have shaved off a good chunk of time just by removing that I absolutely know I won't want to use. But once you get to that point, the next thing is really to think again about structure. And, I know it's a little bit controversial, but the way I tend to start out with a project where there aren't clear notes, or clear direction from the producers of the content, about how things are supposed to fit together, the way I tend to do it is, really just by randomly putting things into the timeline panel and building a sequence and seeing how things fit together as I'm doing it.
I know there are much more structured ways of doing this and to be honest, they involve a lot more time than many editors have. So if you have the time to look through your media and build a paper edit and build a sequence, go for it. But actually, the structure tends to reveal itself as you build the sequence anyway in my experience. But I wanted to mention something about making choices when it comes to structuring your sequence. For a start, it's important to understand that the principles of drama are the same, regardless of the material you're working on.
Ultimately, drama comes from somebody wanting something, and for some reason, not being able to get it. This is pretty much our life story as a species. So here, in our timeline for this EPK, we've kind of got two dramas going on at the same time. We've got the music video itself and there's a storyline associated with that, and we've got the people who are making this video. We've got Carmen Perez, the singer. And we've got Rob Garret, the director.
There are some challenges and we can see from the comment markers I've added now to the interview with the director, Rob Garret, that there are some things that went wrong, there are some things that went right. And you can see that this singer, Carmen Perez, is just a vivacious full of life person who's always looking on the bright side of things. And there's a beautiful section later on. If you've looked over this media, you'll see where she's describing how it was great shooting on the beach, but it was kind of cold. And it's nice to see the positive slant that she takes.
So, how can we see this as a classic drama? And I think the solution is to, first of all, start by looking at what's great in the story. And then look at the real challenges and see if we can structure our overall edit so that we set up that question about what are we trying to achieve and whether we think we can do it, and then we answer that question. Essentially, drama is fulfilling or contradicting the expectations of your audience.
And as a film maker, and in particular, as an editor, you're the person that plants that expectation for the audience. I think it's also very helpful as an editor to be clear about whose story you're telling. You've probably seen films in the past where you find yourself a bit lost about who you should empathize with and who you should care about in the story. So it's important, as early on as possible, that you identify who it is you want the audience to empathize with. Now, I think it's pretty obvious if I just scroll back a bit here.
We're going to be empathizing with Carmen, much more than we're going to be empathizing with the director. And certainly, I think it's fair to say, we've got this, male lead character. He seems like a nice guy, but, we're not hearing from him, we don't have any interview footage with him. And apart from him smiling and giving Carmen a few hugs, we really don't know who he is. So, once you understand that, once you recognize that a character is not likely to be useful in terms of creating empathy and care for the audience. Just be clear about that from the very beginning of the edit and stop worrying about it.
You're not likely to create meaningful drama for this character. They are a secondary character in support of your primary character, which in this case, of course, is Carmen Perez. We've got a lot of really good interview footage with her. However, if we look at the content with Rob Garrett, we can see that he's got some really interesting things to say. He speaks very well. He's a clear speaker. Actually though, some of the most interesting things he says are about Carmen. He's talking about some of the challenges, choosing the locations.
You can just see here from the comment markers I've added and you should have these in your media assets as well when you look at them. But looking down here, we've got a couple of really good items when he's talking about Carmen being all about love and positive energy and how that shaped and structured the film that he was setting up to make. And then also hear what it's like working with Carmen. And I would say that really, that then becomes supporting content for the main character, or main protagonist which is Carmen Perez here in our interviews.
When you're working with fiction content, you very much define the drama curve in the script, in preproduction, or in development. When you're working with documentary material, which is what we have here, then, to a greater extend, the story needs to reveal itself via the material. And if you're cutting during the making of a documentary, you can help to influence the development process of the production. You can say this is really going to work well in the edit, or this might not. In this instance where we've been handed our content, and we've gotta make what we can from it, then somehow, we have to identify a structure to start with.
And to my mind, the obvious answer is to begin back with the music video itself. It has a narrative, it has a story, so let's take pieces of that and lay that down into our timeline, and see if we can build some kind of structure from the interview material around it. The way I very often work with a timeline like this, is simply to click through yeah, we've got this, we've got this. Okay. And start to look at the visuals and see if they connect together. Now, I'm just going to mute the audio momentarily, so I can scrub through here.
What I will commonly do is just scrub right the way through and see, yep, we're getting some of Carmen. And then she's singing. Then we've got Rob. Okay. We got some more of the content on location. And you'll notice that the later shots here have more of a blue tinge to them because, that's what's going on in the video itself. So there's a kind of a color continuity, between the shots as well. Getting a sense of where the drama is in this story, even if it's one that you're making up, will help you to decide which shot to put next as your working through the timeline.
You can change your mind whenever you like, but it's good to have some kind of structure to adhere too.
In the previous installment of EPK Editing Workflows, Maxim Jago showed you how to ingest media and build a basic assembly edit from your favorite shots. Here you'll take that rough cut and fine-tune it using a number of industry-standard trimming techniques that work in just about every nonlinear editing system. You'll learn how to take your edited sequence from an assembly to a precise cut, with temporary effects and transitions that will help you nail down the final visual look of your video.
- Establishing the starting point
- Stripping out content from the assembly cut
- Editing quickly with keyboard shortcuts
- Advanced trimming techniques
- Trimming with the JKL technique
- Adding placeholder transitions and effects
- Achieving picture lock