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"Kill" -- A Tip for Better Videos

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This wasn't posted to any specific thread, for several reasons. It's intended as food for thought for all those who are truly interested in improving their videos.

It doesn't require much to get good looking shots from the Inspire1 (although a few on occasions some do manage to muff it). I've lost count of how many beautiful shots I've seen here and elsewhere on the Web from the Inspire. However, the vast majority of these videos share a common problem. That's length. The vast majority of those videos could be cut in half, if not more, to greatly improve their overall quality (and make you look like a better filmmaker).

Better than anyone, I know how easy it is to be enamored with all our wonderful shots. But like our children, not everyone thinks they're as darling as we do. Author William Faulkner is attributed with the quote: "In writing, you must kill all your darlings." The same holds true in film. You have to be willing to get rid of (or kill) what you think are your most darling (self-indulgently long) shots for the greater good of the film.

Most would agree it's far more enjoyable to sit through 1 minute of stunning images that are well edited than to sit through 3 to 5 minutes (or more) of long boring shots poorly edited that contain a few wonderful images.

Think of editing as sculpture (the subtractive method). The sculptor has a block of marble from which he has extract his "David," You, the filmmaker, have a disk full of shots from which you have to extract your "Lawrence of Arabia" (or whatever your favorite film is).

A good rule of thumb (and like all rules there are exceptions) is to come into the shot as late as possible and get out as soon as possible. Another rule of thumb, for camera operators, is to provide the editor with about 10 seconds at the head and about 10 second at the of tail on each shot (the reason should be obvious).

You've got to be willing to kill your darlings (ask any filmmaker whose best shots wound up on the cutting room floor) to improve your film. EDIT. EDIT. EDIT.

The trick is to leave your audience wanting more.

Hope this helps.
 
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A big +1 on that. The other reason aerial videos seem SO long is they don't go anywhere.

I got some direct and honest feedback from a real cinematographer on one of my posted videos that aerial videos from us fliers almost inevitably lack storytelling.

His comment to me was that without a story, you lose audience interest after a minute or so and no matter how great the shots or beautiful the subject, nobody cares, it's just more of the same.

Harsh stuff, but honest and gave me pause.

He quoted an example of what he was talking about done correctly by Philip Bloom.

Take a look. Lots of great ideas and techniques in this short little video:

 

Mazz

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Oh boy, this is too true. I am more guilty then anyone. A lot of times I am so amazed by the video I forget how quickly people get bored if they are not as interested as I am. I have cut way back on lengths since I first stared making videos. Good point.
 
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He quoted an example of what he was talking about done correctly by Philip Bloom.

Take a look. Lots of great ideas and techniques in this short little video:
And Phil's film has a few darlings of its own. That's excluding the last fifth of the film being darlings he simply refused to kill. ;)
 
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True and good point.. People these days have about a 1 minute attention span. I try to keep mine at that level.
 
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Another point worth considering, albeit obvious: shorter videos CAN take less time in post production but you DO need to cut until it hurts and then cut some more.

Tip: when you think you're done, play it on a big screen TV and ask the most critical person you know (hint you might be married to them!) to view and comment out loud while you take notes.

Then - do NOT ignore what they say and FIX the things they noted.

If you are in their good graces after another round of editing - REPEAT until there is no more negative commentary.

Oh and be sure to check your ego at the door before hitting play :)
 
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This wasn't posted to any specific thread, for several reasons. It's intended as food for thought for all those who are truly interested in improving their videos.

It doesn't require much to get good looking shots from the Inspire1 (although a few on occasions some do manage to muff it). I've lost count of how many beautiful shots I've seen here and elsewhere on the Web from the Inspire. However, the vast majority of these videos share a common problem. That's length. The vast majority of those videos could be cut in half, if not more, to greatly improve their overall quality (and make you look like a better filmmaker).

Better than anyone, I know how easy it is to be enamored with all our wonderful shots. But like our children, not everyone thinks they're as daring as we do. Author William Faulkner is attributed with the quote: "In writing, you must kill all your darlings." The same holds true in film. You have to be willing to get rid of (or kill) what you think are your most darling (self-indulgently long) shots for the greater good of the film.

Most would agree it's far more enjoyable to sit through 1 minute of stunning images that are well edited than to sit through 3 to 5 minutes (or more) of long boring shots poorly edited that contain a few wonderful images.

Think of editing as sculpture (the subtractive method). The sculptor has a block of marble from which he has extract his "David," You, the filmmaker, have a disk full of shots from which you have to extract your "Lawrence of Arabia" (or whatever your favorite film is).

A good rule of thumb (and like all rules there are exceptions) is to come into the shot as late as possible and get out as soon as possible. Another rule of thumb, for camera operators, is to provide the editor with about 10 seconds at the head and about ten second at the of tail on each shot (the reason should be obvious).

You've got to be willing to kill your darlings (ask any filmmaker whose best shots wound up on the cutting room floor) to improve your film. EDIT. EDIT. EDIT.

The trick is to leave your audience wanting more.

Hope this helps.

I am so pleased that somebody raised this topic. when I'm editing my videos I actually have a stopwatch on the desk beside me and I time each clip. No matter what the clip is showing, my aim is to cut it down to 5 seconds. There are exceptions where cutting it would ruin the storyline of the video but 99% of the time a 5 second clip is more than enough for my viewers to appreciate the scenery or what ever is in frame. I now try any edit all my videos (except the reviews or tutorials) down to around 2 minutes, preferably under.
 

Yt2

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Keep it short, too true.
I can only speak from a photography side, and I am no means a pro photographer, but I used to try when I took my photos. I only took slides (I can hear you all grown now) and I have sat through some shockers myself. The only moan I got after it was finished, was that it went tòo quick. The best thing about it was they retuned again and again. Now if I can only keep the same principle. Repeat business, isn't that what we are looking for?
Well actually first I have to start my Inspire buisness, but after reading and seeing stuff like this above and other posts whithin this forum, I think I are in good hands.
Thanks all for sharing your tips to us newbies...
 
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To quote MIchelangelo.........

Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.
 
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Bump. Lots of folks elsewhere looking for the advice in this thread. Any chance we could trim the meat out of this one and make sticky?
 

Mazz

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It is all pretty well summed up in the first post. We can add the suggestions in one of the tutorial sections.
 

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