The Final Cut

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I spent most of yesterday at my editing desk. People are learning more and more that digital technology provides almost limitless possibilities in how one’s movies can look or sound.

In the past I have sped footage up, slowed it down, and had it played in reverse. I’ve added soundtracks, suppressed noises, zoomed in closer, or eliminated scenes entirely. I’ve restructured the timing of events, merged scenes together from two different sources, and added subtitles to help with understanding dialogue.

Today’s digital equipment provides editors with a vast array of tools that make it look like they can do just about anything. But it remains a labor intensive process and most editing jobs are still priced out using an hourly rate.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when contracting with a video editor that may help keep your budget in check.

  • Be specific in what you want the final product to be. The more information you provide the editor, the easier it will be for him or her to deliver to your expectations.
  • If possible, provide the time code of the sections that need to be edited. A lot of wasted time (and dollars) can be spent simply trying to find the piece of video that needs to be altered. Knowing ahead of time that it appears fifteen minutes into the hour long video allows the editor to narrow the search.
  • Editors work faster alone. While most will allow their customers to sit with them as they edit, understand that the process will take longer and therefore become more expensive.
  • Recognize the difference between what is available and what is affordable. Some requests, while achievable, can only be accomplished if some extensive man hours are put in. The result may not add a value that matches the cost.
  • Know that some things are simply not possible. A video editor cannot reshoot your original film to refocus, change the angle, or capture something that happened offscreen. What we can do is to insert additional footage or “B” roll to give it that illusion.

There’s an old saying that people “can’t change the past.”  While that remains true on an existential level, we can change how it was recorded and thereby change how it will be remembered.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit www.homevideostudio.com/mtd

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