EDITORS NOTE: Guest Post by Ron Dawson

To see Part 1 in this series, go to : https://photofocus.com/2009/11/16/primer-for-still-to-video-shooters-part-1/
To see Part 2 in this series, go to : https://photofocus.com/2009/11/17/primer-for-still-to-video-shooters-part-2/
To see Part 3 in this series, go to: https://photofocus.com/2009/11/18/primer-for-still-to-video-shooters-part-3/

Editing Your Project

Now that you have your footage “in the can,” it’s time to do the editing. I won’t go into any details regarding editing systems. There are too many. Unless you’re a pro, you’ll most likely use Movie Maker on a PC or iMovie on a Mac. In any case, the concepts are the same.

Capture all of your footage to the computer.
If you have the ability to categorize and separate your footage, do so by creating general topics (e.g. childhood, college life, career, family, etc.)
As you watch and listen to the interview footage, set aside the takes that are the most “meaty.” These are the part of the interviews that say the most in the least time, are the most emotionally powerful, most funny, etc.
Whittle the interviews down to the best takes and reveal the essence of the story you want to tell.
Order all the takes based on how you want to tell your story. For instance, do you want to start with childhood then go through marriage. Or is the video just about the subject’s family life, so you’ll start with their wedding and go through the birth of their latest child.
As much as possible, add photos to spice up the video. A talking head can be boring. Zoom in and out of the photos to give them movement. This is often called the “Ken Burns Effect,” named after the technique used in the famous historical documentarian’s many films. Also, throw in all that juicy b-roll I told you to get while on set.
Add music and sound effects to round out the video. Try to time the music crescendos and beats to fit with the interviews so they complement each other.
Make your DVD, pop it in the player, then sit back and enjoy.

This whole series is a very simplistic overview. You could take a class for a whole semester on making these kind of films and still only scratch the surface. And as I mentioned in the beginning, these techniques are applicable to just about all kinds of filmmaking/video work. Like anything else, the more you do it, the more you’ll learn. Have fun.