Sunday, May 1, 2011


OK, it's actually the power of the pick up shot but what the hell, I'm not above a little innuendo to get your attention.

I am now into the post production phase of the video, well mostly. But it's time to start putting this thing together. It's pretty obvious that what I want to do here, is to edit to music, in particular the song After by Moby.

So the first steps are to create a new project in Final Cut Pro and import my assests, that being the song and my footage. Naming your shots, or your clips, is a very important thing here. I have a lot of footage and once I load it into Final Cut's browser, it can be difficult to keep track of it.

The shots are coming off my Sony's internal hard drive where everything is named clip 1, clip 2 etc which would be a mess in my software so I rename every short during the import. In this case I used two naming priorities: All the location shots by the actual location and Monique's shots by her name. So all her shots were M and then by number, so M-1, M-2, etc in sequence as they were shots. Varsity Stadium shots were V-1, V-2 and Eaton Centre was EC-1, EC-2 etc. It makes finding everything that much easier.

Since this video is in actuality a music video, the video will follow the audio. FCP allows me to enter various elements, music, video, titles separately, on different tracks. So I lay in the audio track, the song first and lock it off. This allows me to lay my video clips into my timeline ... the editing interface ... to follow points in the music.

One of the things I liked about the song After was that it has tempo changes and even rhythm changes and I wanted to exploit them, I want to cut to them. So even before I even begin laying in clips I want to make notes of these musical cues so I can best exploit them. I do this by using Markers, little visual ticks I can insert into the timeline and use later to match my In and Out points to. There is a shortcut to insert markers in FCP, you just hit the "M" key. What I like to do is play the timeline, play the song as I come to these musical cues, hit that M key which places my marker. I just let the song play, hitting that key when I hear the point to which later, I will want to edit.

What I will do first is make a rough cut, which is sometimes called the "offline". Usually this is just a bare bones edit, placing shots that will tell the story, making sure they work, cutting to the time etc. You usually don't put in affects, adjust colour, create titles until later, in what is called the "online" edit. Some shots though I will need to affect right away. Slow motion shots or shots that are going to be time lapsed or sped up need to placed as such, to check out the timing (if I speed the shot up 5 X will there be enough viable footage to spread between two markers) and to make sure they work visually.

The offline is the best way to make sure that I actually have all the footage I need to make the edit work. The song is about 5 1/2 minutes long, that's like a freaking movie, trust me, expecially when cutting to the beat. I need to know pretty quickly if I need to grab any pick up shots, to either replace current ones that may not be working or to just help tell the story.

It really isn't going to be possible to redo any shots with Moniquea but I think I'm well covered in that regard. Time is fleeting so hopefully I won't have to do many pick ups. But the only way to do that is to get through the offline. What I'll do is try to edit the whole video with what I have, to make sure I have the footage to tell the story and to illustrate the music in the way that I wish. Then I can go back, shot by shot and examine each for how well they are working.

This is why, in movies, if they blow up the Great Pyramid, they take like 900 angles .. you only get to do that once

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