Join Christine Steele for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding the role of the editor, part of Commercial Editing Techniques with Premiere Pro.
Christine: In commercial work the editors often at the hub of a collaborative process and does many things in addition to actually editing. The client, the director, the producers, the advertising agency. Actually, even sometimes the creative directors of the post house where the commercial is edited might all be weighing in on the project. So, commercial editors take on the challenging task of incorporating a lot of ideas from many different people. It's really important to know who can approve your cut.
Is it the director? Is it the ad agency? Or is there a client in particular who has to buy off on your work? As I said, editing is only one aspect of the job. You'll also need to manage the expectations of everyone involved, while tapping into your creativity, and keeping the edit on track to meet delivery deadlines. There are many cooks in this kitchen, so getting approval for a final sequence may mean making a lot of revisions, and accepting more input than you need or want from a lot of other people.
That's just part of the process when creating commercials. If you've been given a script and branding information, your job will be much more clear. Typically, a commercial editor will be given a dual-column script with visual information listed on one side of the page and corresponding audio cues listed in the adjacent column. It's ideal for the editor to be involved early in the process even sometimes before principle shooting begins. If you're involved before the budget is finalized, or before shooting begins, you may be asked to pre-visualize the commercial.
This just means you're going to edit storyboards, which are rough drawings, or even digital still images to voice narration. Pre-visualization is great for testing ideas, determining timing, and preparing for visual effects creation. Above all, these edits are used to pitch the commercial. This type of editing is usually done to secure buy-off or approval from the client before the shooting begins. And this allows everyone involved to visually see the commercial concept before too much money is spent. Every commercial is different.
But the overall process is really similar. I'm going to show you a common three-stage process for a commercial edit. Now, this isn't the commercial we'll be editing during this course. I just want to introduce you to the big picture. So you understand some of the stages involved in creating a commercial. Storyboards are simple sketches that indicate shot framing and sequencing. Here's an example. When simple drawings are edited together with narration, this type of pre-visualization is called an Animatic. Here's an example of a simple Animatic, it's a typical storyboard edit.
Male: After 400 million years, they're still the scariest thing in the ocean. Get a little closer, if you dare. Shark Zone. All week long, on the Adventure Channel. If it's out there, it's on here. Christine: From roughly sketched boards, digital storyboards might be made to replace the rough sketches. If 3D animation is involved, you may be given rough computer animation and asked to edit that together into what's sometimes called a Cameramatic.
Here's an example of a Cameramatic. Male: After 400 million years, they're still the scariest thing in the ocean. Get a little closer, if you dare. Shark Zone, all week long on the Adventure Channel. If it's out there, it's on here. Christine: When I'm given the time, I like to animate the storyboards and simulate wrap focuses and camera moves using After Effects because it really helps everyone involved understand the scope of the project. What's really important is it gives exact timing information for the creation of 3D effects and other types of effect shots.
We'll still go through this second stage of the editing process in order to pre-visualize an edit even when there's not going to be 3D animation like you saw in this spot. But basically we just want to test creative ideas with life action footage. For the creation of really unique motion graphic effects. After Animatics or Cameramatics are approved and on location production is wrapped and the effects for 3D animation has been created, the editor already has really strong ideas for the look and the feel of the spot. This multistage process makes building and editing the final footage in Effects feel faster and way more creative.
Here's an example of a final spot that should show you how the Animatics and Cameramatics played a part in creating the final piece. (MUSIC) Male: After 400 million years, they're still the scariest thing in the ocean. (NOISE). Get a little closer, if you dare. Shark Zone, on the Adventure Channel. If it's out there, it's on here. Christine: Editors who were involved early in the process play a key role in creating the commercial. Visual aids like Animatics really enhance communication for the whole team and helps secure approval from the client before too much time or money is spent.
Commercial editors take on many different tasks. We sequence the storyboards and create Animatics with temporary audio, and simulated camera moves to pitch ideas to the client. We refine the spot with final footage, and sometimes we're expected to complete the commercial with color correction and an audio mix. These days, you'll also need to learn enough about compression to deliver the spot in multiple formats. To meet high expectations on a tight deadline a commercial editor needs to develop a strong set of essential editing skills.
Be able to quickly find solutions to both technical and creative challenges. Gain experience in visual effects creation and sometimes even complete a final sound mix. It's important to gain experience in using visual effects and sound designs so you can craft a commercial that's as singular as the product you're selling. Commercial content creation is often a multi-step process, from pre-visualizing animated storyboards to the creation of a finished commercial. And the editor should expect to create many versions before the final spot is approved. This style of editing isn't as tightly structured as narrative editing, because you're not bound by linear rules of storytelling.
Commercial editors can play with editing techniques that break from traditional cutting, to craft a persuasive short-film that's full of artistic nuance. And that is fun. If you're creative while keeping the cut focused on the brand and the message, you'll craft a spot with style that leaves the viewer with a lasting impression in only 30 seconds.
- Marketing a brand
- Understanding the role of the editor
- Using style frames and temporary audio to previsualize the spot
- Replacing hero shots
- Building action montages
- Timing the cuts to audio
- Refining the cut
- Adding color, lighting, and transition effects
- Sound design