Media Production Mentoring

Free online film school designed with beginning filmmakers in mind.


How to Think Like an Editor: Finding the Moments that Tell Your Story

As I watched "Watchtower of Turkey," it reminded me of my first attempt to edit some footage together. But before I tell you that story, check out this amazing bit of art:

Now go read this great write-up on how he made it.

Okay, back to my story (which is far less impressive, but a little more attainable than taking three weeks to wander Turkey gathering four terabytes of footage and then exporting each usable shot as an image sequence so you can color correct it using a photo app and then exporting it all out as video again for editing along with your 3,000 sound bites). The first time I was handed a bunch of footage to cut, I looked through it and saw nothing usable. Here is that story:

Take heart if you're despairing that your footage is worthless. I've been there. I know exactly what it's like to look at what you have and see ... nothing useful. But this, this is the very heart of editing. Your job is not to have the footage tell you its story, but for you to draw your story from the moments captured as video.

Start, as Leonardo Dalessandri did, by finding all the moments you like and discarding the clips that aren't any good. What can you tell with what you have?

 ~Luke Holzmann
Your Media Production Mentor