I covered the macro aspects of editing in my previous post; check that out for my take on how to use subject, balance, distance & pacing to support the music. This is the micro side; zooming in on each cut to make sure it lands on the best frame. This is one of those things that makes a small difference individually, and a big difference across the whole video. When you nail your timing, the cuts flow seamlessly (sometimes invisibly) through the song, becoming another aspect that supports the performance rather than distracting from it. My cuts land on one of two cues; visual & audio.
Visual cues are motions that draw the viewer’s attention, covering up the transition of a cut and maintaining the visual flow. Visual cues include:
- a performer moving, turning, waving, nodding, jumping, etc.
- a guitar strum, piano chord, drum hit, etc.
- a light flare or lighting change
- a camera pan or zoom
Continue reading “Editing Live Music Videos: Timing Your Cuts”
For me, editing a live music video is about recreating the performance through the eyes of the audience. Imagine you were the entire audience; not just one person, but everyone in the venue. What would your collective experience be? You’d be watching the performance from the front row, from the balcony, and from the crowd. Your focus would shift from the bassist to the lead singer, to the drummer as he laid down a fill, and to the people rocking out in the front. When I’m cutting together a live concert video, I’m trying to recreate that experience; bringing the viewer into the space and creating the feeling of being right there.
My second goal is to follow the music. The musicians are already telling a story through their words and notes; my job is to support & mirror all those elements. A bad edit will work against the music, cutting out of time and focusing on the wrong subjects. A good edit flows with the beat, amplifying the hits & emotional energy of the music. When I’m putting the edit together, I’m focusing on four elements; subject, balance, distance, & pacing.
Editing live music videos is mostly a pragmatic process; my main goal is just to focus on the most interesting element at any moment. On my first pass, I’ll go through all the different angles and pick out the best moments from each (I’ll also cut out any uninteresting or unusable footage). For the lead singer, I’ll pick out the verses & choruses. For the guitarist, I’ll pick out riffs that stand out and any solo sections. For the drummer, drum fills; and so on.
In my second pass, I’ll go through and pick the most interesting moments from all the angles combined. At this point, I’ve got a good starting point to build my edit from. Continue reading “Editing Live Music Videos: Recreating the Concert Experience”