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New Book Announcement!

Have you ever stopped mid-project to watch your cuts, then got distracted by watching other people’s video work and wondering, “Man, why doesn’t my video feel like THAT?” Have you ever sat starting at an edit point, wondering why it just felt…off? So much so that you spent twenty minutes wiggling the edit point back and forth on your timeline, finally finding something that felt right but not knowing how you found it? Have you ever wondered how to pack more emotion into your videos? Or wondering how to hook viewers and keep them watching beyond the first thirty-seconds? The answers to these nagging editing questions and more await you in my new book, “How to Edit Videos That People Want To Watch!” After ten years of working as a video editor and spending hours helping other producers solve their video editing headaches, I knew the independent video production community […]

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Going From Two Videos a Month to Six: A Case Study

Meet Dave Schlachter… Dave is a professional producer and in-house editor for Bon Secours Health Systems International. From his offices in Baltimore, MD, he oversees regular video work, creating content to showcase BSHSI’s work in communities across the United States. In February, 2017 a backlog of work suddenly caught up with Dave. He had six videos waiting to be cut, all with end-of-the-month deadlines. But as a single editor/producer, he typically finishes two videos a month. These videos often feature a few interviews, b-roll, graphics and music. He could edit three, maybe four videos in a month (if he pulled out all the stops). But not six. Dave had two options: Either work 18 hour days for a month straight and hope for the best, or somehow get work removed from his production schedule. Both seemed to be a recipe for insanity. That’s when Dave remembered seeing my ad, 10 Ways to Edit Video Footage […]

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Three Situations When You Should Work With An Outside Editor

You’re a video producer. Either you work for yourself, doing video projects for clients from shoot to final edits, or you’re a producer working with a small to mid-sized team, coordinating a team of people to handle all the aspects of video production. You have the whole production process covered in one way or another. So should you ever consider the possibility of working with an outside editor? I say yes! By writing off ever using an outside editor, you cripple your ability to solve these three situations: Situation One: The peaks in your production schedule are almost impossible to sustain. We all have seasons where our work seems to take 110% of our efforts. We work flat out, stay up late, drink endless cups of coffee, and grit our teeth to get through the work load. And while the work gets done, we come out on the other side […]

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How to Hire A Video Editor — Five Questions You Need to Answer

If you’re a busy producer or director, especially in the freelance, small to mid-sized production company world, there will be seasons when it makes sense to farm part of the workload to another person. If you’re a faster shooter than you are an editor, it makes sense in these situations to work with an experienced video editor to help you get through the hustle. However, there is a risk doing this. The last thing you need is to farm work out, only to have to redo it yourself. How can you protect your time, creative vision, and client expectations without having to manage another person? Is it possible to work with another person, even if they’re halfway across the country? I believe the answer is yes, but in this day and age when anybody can slap together a reel from Pond5 and build a website, you have to do some […]

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Three Ways to Fix Edits That Aren’t Working

I get asked to look at and offer suggestions on videos all the time. Frequently, the request is followed by the statement, “I don’t know what it is, something just doesn’t feel right.” Edits don’t work for a multitude of reasons. Sometimes it depends on the cut itself, the music, the sound, the color, the speed, and any combination of those elements. The sooner you can spot why a particular cut or moment isn’t working, the less time you’ll spend trying to solve the problem through experimentation. When reviewing a video, there are three areas I pay attention to, looking to discover which one may be the possible culprit. Usually, a video can be fixed with one of these simple things: 1). Match the Rhythm to the Mood Rhythm refers to the visual pacing of a video. You might think that rhythm is dictated solely by the music track. However, […]

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Use Frameworks for Faster Edit Assembly

Cutting video footage, especially when working on unscripted projects, is often a discovery process. As an editor, you might not have the luxury have been on-set during filming. There’s a learning curve to scale of what was shot, when, and why. It means watching minute after minute of clips. All the while, you’re building familiarity with the footage and the project. You must scrub through and listen to multiple takes of a scene. If there are interviews to piece together, the process can be laborious and time-consuming as you listen, and possibly transcribe what was said. And after all that, there is still the process of cutting and crafting statements and b-roll into something that will hold your audience’s attention. For some, this building familiarity process ends up taking valuable time away from assembly. The temptation is to short-change it in favor of spending more time elsewhere in the edit […]

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Say “YES!” to Vertical Video

You see it all over social media: folks keep taking and posting vertical videos! Sometimes they’re on black square backgrounds, sometimes they’re blown up to fill the frame, and overall they’re UGLY! Among the video community, shooting vertical video is almost a crime. It’s next to impossible to fit into a standard, horizontal frame size without sacrificing a pleasing aesthetic. All our camera gear is oriented for shooting horizontal video. Our TVs and computer monitors are horizontal. Heck, as the wonderful Glove and Boots PSA puts is, “even our eyes are horizontal!” Yes, vertical video in a horizontal world is like a square peg in a round hole. Just don’t do it. There is one exception to this rule: shoot vertical videos when making content for the vertical world. Wait, there’s a vertical world? Yep! Two of the world’s largest social  networks LOVE vertical videos. They’re Snapchat and Instagram. And […]

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7 Things Every Editor Wants Out of an Interview

I’ve been cutting interview-based videos for a decade now. In addition, I have spent hours behind the camera, conducting interviews and filming them. Invariably, whether I shoot it myself or I receive a hard drive full of footage, there’s always a few things I wish I could have: 1). Break it Up Scrubbing through a 25-minute long chunk of footage is tedious. I mean, sure, I do it often, but it takes so much time marking each question, logging timecode of where things are located, and then relocating those same sound bytes later in the edit. Having the interview broken up into smaller chunks to start makes a faster edit process. 2). Identify “It” You know what I mean. You’re listening to an interview and the interviewer asks, “So tell me how the Harper Feeding Program helped your family?” The subject then responds, “Well, it helped me feed my family […]

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7 Things You Need for a Stand-Out YouTube Series!

With video ranking higher and higher in search results, now is the time to have video as a part of your marketing strategy. A great place to start is with a YouTube show, where you talk all about your products, business and life. A webshow, or video blog, is format where you regularly create videos and post to your channels. These videos can be anywhere from a few minutes long to over an hour! As you use the regular updates to talk to your audience, you gain credibility and interest in your products, business and life. While it’s possible to just turn on the camera, hit record, then upload straight to YouTube, there are 7 essential elements your new show must have in order to stand out from everything else: 1). An opening graphic and/or logo Make your video instantly recognizable by having the same opening graphic or logo at […]

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Mark Chu’s Wedding Proposal Surprise

In the middle of September I got an email. A friend was planning to propose to his girlfriend in Portugal and he wanted a special video made during the event to surprise her with later. The shoot involved four people on the ground in Portugal, but the critical piece was getting the footage compiled and editing in short order. Specializing in this, I confidently told my friend that yes, he’d have his video back in one week. As with every project, there were some complications. A key aside to the camera was never shot in Portugal. The audio from the proposal on the beach was nearly inaudible in initial boosts in the timeline. After renegotiating the due dates, the new piece were shot and I ran the audio through my equipment to see what I could pull up from the data. And lo and behold, the video came together. Mark […]

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