How to Edit

And what you’ll find on each.

Popular Mechanics (South Africa) - - How To Do Every Thing With Video - By Joe Walker, Academy Award­nom­i­nated film edi­tor of 12 Years a Slave, Ar­rival, Shame, and the up­com­ing Blade Run­ner 2049.

“I’m guess­ing where an au­di­ence might want to look. Maybe that’s a re­ac­tion, or it could be the ac­tion it­self.”

Be bold. If footage hasn’t grabbed you in 30 sec­onds, you don’t stand a chance. You have to ar­rest peo­ple right away. From there, think eco­nom­i­cally. Give your­self the free­dom to use only what’s most ef­fec­tive and ig­nore the rest. Don’t be fright­ened to cut big chunks out. When the au­di­ence knows where it’s go­ing, they don’t mind skip­ping over some­thing. Sim­plic­ity and el­e­gance: that’s what you’re aim­ing for.

My style, if I have one, is to try to do the max­i­mum with the least amount of ac­tions. It’s kind of slow, to be hon­est. Not bor­ing. To me it’s a bal­ance be­tween ten­sion and speed. If it’s tense, then it’s never go­ing to feel slow. If I’m cut­ting a dra­matic scene, I try to find the most eco­nom­i­cal way around the scene that shows you ev­ery­thing you need to know. I’m guess­ing where an au­di­ence might want to look. Maybe that’s a re­ac­tion, or it could be the ac­tion it­self. If scenes are too busy, it has the ef­fect of mak­ing

the thing feel too long. If it’s very cutty – end­lessly bounc­ing around – that’s a turnoff.

Some­times show­ing where ev­ery­one is in the scene is not as ef­fec­tive emo­tion­ally as show­ing some­thing very spe­cific and unique. Re­mem­ber: just be­cause they shot it doesn’t mean you have to use it. When I see some­one hold­ing my hand too tight, I kind of re­ject it like a skin graft. It feels like I’m be­ing pushed. I like to find my own way around a story, to in­vest. I want to be drawn into a screen rather than just sit back pas­sively.

Con­cen­trate on an edit that works with­out mu­sic. Even if you know it needs mu­sic, it should still stand on its own two feet as a vis­ual and ver­bal piece. Some­times De­nis [Vil­leneuve, the di­rec­tor of Blade Run­ner 2049 ] and I will turn the sound off com­pletely. If it works visu­ally, then you have a clue that it will work with ev­ery­thing. Once you’re sat­is­fied that you’ve given the film the great­est scru­tiny in its barest, most un­pol­ished form, that’s when you al­low mu­sic and sound ef­fects in.


Youtube’s less fa­mous, more pol­ished cousin. It has no ad­ver­tise­ments and is gen­er­ally a venue for pro­fes­sion­als. (The series High Main­te­nance came out on Vimeo be­fore get­ting picked up by HBO.) Ba­sic mem­ber­ship is free, or you can pay R3 000 a year for a Pro mem­ber­ship, which al­lows 4K video, lets you re­strict ac­cess to your videos, and gives you 20 GB of up­loads each week.


Credit (or blame) Twitch for mak­ing watch­ing other peo­ple play video games a suc­cess­ful video genre. The site is en­tirely game footage, what you’d see on the screen of Minecraft or Mario, with the player’s head in the cor­ner, nar­rat­ing and likely shout­ing. We’d laugh more if it weren’t ac­tu­ally kind of ad­dic­tive. And if 100 mil­lion peo­ple didn’t use the site every month.


A video-shar­ing site sim­i­lar to Youtube, but with 10 mil­lion daily view­ers in­stead of 30 mil­lion. And more re­laxed re­stric­tions on nudity. It’s a mix of pro­fes­sional (Larry King in­ter­views, movie trail­ers) and am­a­teur (civil­ian footage of Ju­lia Roberts shop­ping). The site re­cently added a Net­flix-style rec­om­men­da­tion en­gine.


The re­source for of­fi­cial mu­sic videos in crisp res­o­lu­tion. Vevo also plays on Youtube, which is why you’ll some­times see chan­nels listed as the artist’s name plus “Vevo”.


An app-only so­cial me­dia net­work, like Vine, with 15-sec­ond videos. The app posts a topic (the Kar­dashi­ans, pub­lic breast-feed­ing, the pres­i­dent’s lat­est speech), and users re­ply with short video re­sponses, which other users rank.


Want to bum your­self out for a few hours? This site is a repos­i­tory of user-gen­er­ated videos posted in the name of pub­lic aware­ness, some of which are vi­o­lent as­saults, ex­plo­sions and shoot­ings.


A live-video app pri­mar­ily pop­u­lated by teenage girls, who rate the plat­form’s most fa­mous per­son­al­i­ties with “Likes”. Its other met­ric: “Gifts”, to­kens of ap­pre­ci­a­tion for which view­ers pay up to the equiv­a­lent of R1 300 and send to the per­former. Users also earn gift cred­its by watch­ing ads.

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