Reflections on Video Editing

Video is one of those things that always seems like a good idea… Until you actually have to edit it down and make it all presentable by the deadline. It becomes doubly so as I find that my best video editing happens between the hours of about 2 AM and 6 AM.

Sometimes it has been about preference. During my senior project1 in high school, the editing portion of the project, roughly the last third to last half, was done on a schedule that involved waking up at about noon or 1 PM, going in to school to meet with my adviser and talk to people, and then coming home, eating dinner, and then working at my desk til 6 AM, when the sun came up.

On the other hand, during the process of editing the UMass Model UN conference videos2, I burned the midnight oil out of necessity. I was taking pictures during the day at the conference, and at the social events, and then editing furiously when I got back to my hotel room.

I just finished a project for my Intro to Multimedia Journalism class. I did two short video interviews which I cut down to size to add a little flavor to my feature. The whole thing can be seen here, but in many ways, it is the video work I am most proud of.

Dan Miller is a graduate fellow at the NCSC. He talked about how he became involved with the center, the research he’s doing for weather projections, and the things he likes best about the NCSC.

Some of that pride is due to practice. I have more experience asking people questions and getting them to settle in front of the camera and then working to smooth out the stutters in the story telling, rearrange clips for effect, and build a narrative that pushes toward some overall effect.

I am still learning how to do that with print.

I also can’t ignore the part of film that is more rewarding. There’s a power to the moving image that gets to people. Trying to convince someone to sit down and read your article is an exercise in futility, much of the time. It usually ends in a dispiriting amount of criticism, which one has to accept gracefully and remember to apply in the future.

Cinema makes children of us all. The magic of watching another human being talk and emote, even from a hundred miles away, to hear their voice and know, in that moment, that they’re talking to you… It’s enchanting in a way that is wholly removed from the critical analysis that print inspires.

Incidentally, that very success, the enchantment, the romance of film is what makes me hate TV news. It lends itself so easily to partisanship, making it so easy to pull people along without them even realizing.
I want to find a way to escape the thrall of film. There has to be a way to marry the analysis of print with the emotion and passion of film and image.

I guess that magic is HTML5.

1 Back to Post Memories of the War: I made a short documentary (with the available resources, so please realize that these people are kids who went to private school) about what it’s been like growing up in the shadow of 9/11 and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was 10 years after the fact, and Osama Bin Laden had just been killed right as I was settling into the project.
2 Back to Post I don’t have the video for this hosted anywhere, as the conference is for high schoolers, and all the video photo work was contained within the conference, and then distributed to the chaperones. It was one of the most hectic, stressful things I’ve ever done, and I’m hoping they invite me back again this year.

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