Editing Guide (for Rookies)

So you're just starting out, and it's your first time working on a video production. You have a clear message, a killer script, and all the equipment you need.  Your cast nailed it during filming, and you are comfortably recovered from the wrap party.  So you sit down and take a look at your memory card...and panic.  There’s so much content here!  How do you cut it down? You don't have the funds to hire an editor, so it’s just you staring down the computer screen, wondering where to start.
 
No problem!  You’re sitting where every first-time director has sat, and you can master the basics of editing with just a little bit of help!  Editing is actually a key part of the filmmaking process and a chance for you to showcase your storytelling skill. Here's how to start the editing process, all by yourself.

1. Sorting Out Your Footage

So, you finally finished filming and you have all of your footage in a memory card. What should you do now?

Import all your footage into your laptop / desktop, and look through all of it. Refer to your storyboard / script (you should have done this before production), and pick out the suitable shots. Place these in another folder. This makes it faster to find the various clips you'll need while editing.

One mistake that many make is to import all of the footage into the editing software, and confuse themselves while editing. This takes more time to search through, and doesn't help you at all. A little work goes a long way! So only after you're done selecting the clips, then go ahead and import them into your editing software. 

First Impressions

2. Rough Cut

Making full use of your clips, cut them up in chronological order (following your script). This is your first rough cut.

Now, go back and look at the whole edit from the top. Are there any parts that seem a little off? If there is, and the edit flows better without these parts, do take them out. As much as we want to make full use of our clips, we want our final product to flow naturally. Continue working on the flow of the edit, to refine your rough cut.

Second Chances

3. Colour Correction

The reason why colour correction is important is because it sets the mood of the film. Believe or not, colours affect the viewer's mood, and different colours have different effects on people.

For example, for heart-warming short, editors will sometimes use warmer tones like orange or yellow. Likewise, for horror films, editors prefer cooler tones, like green or blue. So as an editor for your film, you can choose to set the tone of your film through colour correction. Make sure that it is consistent so it doesn't put off your audience.

4. Sound and Music

Music is able to create suspense, build emotions, get viewers pumped up, and many other things. This is why music is important for your short.

Also, sound effects go a long way in emphasising different parts of your film. Pick out suitable songs that would go well with the mood and story of your film, and select appropriate sound effects for certain parts of your film that you may want to highlight.

We're nearing the end of our editing, but do not rush through this part - sound and music are very important. While we're at it, also check the audio quality of your film. Make sure all dialogue is clear, and does not sound weird when strung together.

5. Fixing All the Details

We're almost there! Look through your film again and again, and be very hard on yourself. Invite over a group of friends and have them vet over your film. Be sure to ask them to give their most honest opinions and be as harsh as possible! When you can't find anymore flaws, voila, your short is perfect, and ready to go!

Head over to http://the5minvideo.com to submit your film now!