Editing Videotape

Most of the points I have made about film editing also apply to videotape editing. You use slightly different technical methods, but your mind-set is the same. This being so, I merely want to comment on a few points worthy of attention.

Your initial cut will probably be done off-line in a small, low-cost studio. The purpose of your off-line edit is to create an edited work print and an edit-decision list (EDL). When that stage is complete, you move to an on-line studio, where you do your conforming and add visual effects.

In order to edit effectively, either your videotape must be shot with time code or time code must be added before editing. The time code, as mentioned earlier, is a series of numbers that appear on the screen during editing that later will help you find the matching point in your original master tape. These numbers also help you dub from one generation of tape to another.

With video, it helps to lay in the commentary very early. This is both because picture changes are slightly more complex than they are in film and because many video editors argue that such a procedure helps them work much faster.

Very often your off-line will be done from VHS or three-quarter-inch dubs taken from your master tape, which will probably be a beta cassette. Once the picture has been fine cut, an EDL can be produced from the edit master. This is simply a list of all your edit decisions with time code numbers, printed out on a piece of paper and stored on a floppy disk.

Once the picture has been cut, one generally moves into a one-inch or beta on-line suite to lay in effects and to master the film. The object of the work in the on-line suite is to come out with a one-inch or beta master video. The process is quite simple: The edited fine-cut dub with all the code numbers appears on-screen as your guide. The EDL disk is then loaded into the on-line computer, telling it exactly what edits were made at the off-line stage. The computer then finds the equivalent time code on the original cassettes and conforms the picture to your edit dub, thus making a beta or one-inch master. While this is going on, you are also inserting all your fancy video effects — dissolves, wings in and out, cubes, wipes, and so on.

The major point is that you should think through the effects before you go on-line, rather than working them out in the editing suite. The reason is twofold. First, the effects you are going to use will determine how you put together the off-line cut, which should be prepared with your effects in mind. The second reason is financial. On-line suites are expensive, and the more prepared you are to use the on-line time effectively, the cheaper it will be for you. Once the picture is conformed, the sound mix can he made with your one-inch copy acting as your master tape for any dubs.

One final point to bear in mind is that while most European studios work with the PAL system, studios in the United States work with the NTSC format. If you have shot and edited on NTSC but your work is for Europe, you will need to go through a systems conversion. This is best done one-inch to one-inch, or beta to beta. If you go three-quarter to three-quarter, you will find a drop in quality and subsequent picture breakup as you go down a few generations.

I have been very brief because video equipment and video techniques seem to change daily—but not to worry. Beyond all the paraphernalia, the art and the thinking behind the editing doesn't change drastically. If your thinking and approach is right, you can handle anything.

Newbies Guide To Video Marketing

Newbies Guide To Video Marketing

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