April 23, 2014By Lance Baily

Intro to Video Editing: Tutorials, Links & Contests

video editing simulation healthcare

Previously I have written on the numerous benefits of using video production in your medical simulation labs. A recent question by the community on how to better handle countless tour requests for their simulation lab prompted me to remind them of the huge cost and energy savings that a recorded video tour could provide. Here are some of my previous posts on the matter:

At SimGHOSTS 2014 USA this August, I will be teaching a hands-on workshop on Advanced Editing Techniques Using Final Cut Express, which is what I use to edit all over the 100+ medical simulation youtube videos we’ve shown here on HealthySimulation.com. But before we get there, I thought it would be to cover some basics to video editing as my tutorials above never covered that area.

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There are three key things to remember when learning to video edit, which can all be demonstrated by this classic scene from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark:

1) Timing is everything: First, lets define a shot as an individual cut (or edit) of one particular camera placement which shows one angle of character, setting, or other info. An average shot length is 7 seconds long. If a shot is shorter or longer than 7 seconds, the audience can be triggered to feel something other than normal progress of the story. For example, the first shot of this scene above  lasts about 9 seconds while Indy searches for Marion because we keep hoping that he will find her. The bit of extra seconds here forces the audience to spend more time in the uncomfortable situation Indy is experiencing. The next shot, in contrast, is only 2 seconds long which helps show surprise when the crowd parts to reveal: a lone and very dangerous swordsman in shot 3. The timing of these two shots illustrates how shot duration can play with audience expectation and feeling.

2) Keeping continuity: The point of editing is to create story continuity as the world unfolds before the audience. After Indy sees the swordsman, we enter into a “shot-reverse shot” pattern where we gain the understanding of where these two individuals stand to face each other. Even though we first watch Indy see something when the crowd parts, when turn to understand what he sees the edit actually jumps behind him. Its a subtle transition that allows the audience to understand exactly where the bad guy is in relation to Indy during the reveal. The editor could have picked a shot that just revealed the swordsman, but then that would not have placed Indy’s distance to the bad guy – which was essential for the quick unfoldment of the gag of this scene- that the distance between them is enough to give Indy the winning advantage.

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3) Sound is half of the movie: In just 25 seconds we hear music drive the emotion of anxiety Indy is feeling as he searches for Marion, the horn indicating an enemy, the evil laugh of a formidable foe, the many long whooshes of this expert swordsman, the musical transition to the lighthearted tiredness of Indy, and finally the loud bang that quickly brings the fight to an abrupt end. Close your eyes and play the scene again, doesn’t it give most of the audience queues? If we just focus on the sword whooshes and the gun shot alone, you can see how the editor uses sound to set up a scene for a long drawn out battle which Indy’s character has no time for, and so the edit comes to an instant close with the single sound of one bullet. The point here is that when you edit, you have to spend just as much time considering the sound of your shots as the visuals of your scenes, because sound is half of the presentation to your audience.

I suggest you read Great Video Editing Tutorials From MediaCollege.com when you are ready to learn about the basic theories of film editing. After committing to these three principals and reading the theories, the best way to learn video editing is to install some free software and learn by doing. Nothing lets you feel the joy of building a timeline, honing your timing skills, or shaping your editing style than by editing a project yourself. Here is the Apple and PC options for both worlds:

  1. Intro to Editing with Apple’s free iMovie
  2. Intro to Editing with Microsoft’s Windows Movie Maker

If you are ready to dive into more advanced topics before my workshop at SimGHOSTS 2014, I highly recommend buying Lynda.com ‘s professional training videos that will really take you the next level. “From narrative scene editing to documentary editing, our video editing tutorials will help you make a movie, short film, or documentary. Learn the art of video editing from our expert instructors using popular video editing software like iMovie, Final Cut Pro X, Premiere Pro, and Media Composer.”

Already have video editing skills? Put them to good use and submit your projects to the B-Line Medical Video Competitions for SimGHOSTS Australia or SimGHOSTS USA for your chance to win thousands of dollars in prizes!

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