Video editing essentials
If you’re thinking of producing your video marketing or (hopefully) viral marketing material in house, then obviously you need the right equipment. For the actual shoot there is a glittering array of options in terms of cameras, lighting and sound etc, but what about once the shooting stage is complete? This part of the process is called ‘post production’ and if you’re planning on doing this in house rather than finding an agency to supply video editing services, then there are some vital tools that you’ll need.
So the most obvious thing you’ll need is some software to edit the footage that you’ve shot. This kind of software comes in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and costs, but essentially it will do the same basic job. It allows you to quickly and easily sequence video clips, audio and graphics to form your final film. Depending on the complexity of the edit and the scale of your project you may want to go with a professional editing software package, but there are lots of software packages out there aimed at the enthusiast which are more than capable of doing this job for you.
At the highest end of software comes AVID. This is the software that most of the Hollywood movies you see in the cinema are edited on, and it’s the only editing package the BBC will touch. It’s well suited to large-scale projects and is powerful and robust enough to handle anything you throw at it. But what if you’re working on something much more typical to companies who supply video editing services to businesses such as just cutting together a simple interview?
Well, both Adobe and Apple offer great and instinctive editing software in the form of Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro. You can sequence, edit and colour grade your footage easily in these applications, and they come with a great array of tools to enhance your edit. They are priced reasonably and would generally be our suggested approach. However if your budget is sensitive, there are stripped down editing packages available such as iMovie that are often free and perfectly adequate for simple editing tasks.
So other than the basic editing, what else will you need?
You may want to enhance your film by cleaning up the sound a little. Noise pollution can be a factor on any shoot and a good sound editing tool will allow you to reduce any unwanted sound and enhance the sound you do want. With most projects we produce, there are 2 main tasks we perform in sound editing applications: we can eliminate any unwanted background noise (such as air conditioning) and also apply filters to the sound so that people’s voices remain at a constant volume level (these filters are called “Limiters”), which you may need if someone’s voice varies in loudness, and if you want to keep the voice soaring above musical tracks you might lay in the background.
Software such as Apple’s Soundtrack Pro or Adobe Audition are our ‘go to’ applications but there are many more on the market that will do just as good a job.
So next up, you may want to add some animation to your film. Having a dynamic animated logo at the start or end of your film can really elevate the brand and give it a higher production value. For this we turn to motion graphics software.
Within most editing packages are ‘drag and drop’ effects that you can apply to any clips that you have. However most video editing services providers steer well clear of these as they often result in slightly gimmicky effects that look as if they belong on a 1980s TV game show. The other drawback is that as they are an easy ‘drag and drop’ option, they are very often overused (and therefore could be in your competitor’s video marketing) so its always wise to try and create logo animation that is bespoke and original. To achieve this you’ll probably need 2 pieces of software which are mainstays of most video editing services.
Firstly a pixel-based artwork package like Adobe Photoshop to prep and create the basic artwork (although vector tools such as Adobe Illustrator would be just as good).
Secondly you’ll need some motion graphics software. In this case there is only one package that we use which is Adobe After Effects. After Effects is a robust and comprehensive motion graphics and animation package that will produce just about anything you require, and as with AVID, it’s very often used by Hollywood visual effects artists. It requires a fairly in-depth skill set so its not a ‘jump on and go’ option but you can find ample online training at sites such as the excellent Video Co-pilot. You can use it to add a touch of high end animation to your film that will lift it above your competitors.
Video editing services – Storage
Next up is storage. Digital film files are BIG! There’s no way around this, so you will need large and speedy storage systems in place for your files to sit on and be accessed from. A lot of corporate film makers like ourselves use G-Tech Thunderbolt hard drives which allow us to copy our raw files to them quickly and work without any read/write lag. However, there are other options out there, and storage space and price go hand in hand so identify a robust and quick storage facility if you’re processing video in house.
Finally, you need a good delivery platform to help you distribute the fruit of your video editing services. Throughout most video projects, draft edits and approval edits may need to be shared quickly with multiple stakeholders in the project. So having a quick and easy way for them to view the edits means that feedback times are reduced and project runs more smoothly.
For this we’d suggest a Vimeo Pro account. It allows you to quickly and easily upload multiple HD files that colleagues can view on their desktop, laptop, tablet and smart phone. The other obvious platform to upload videos to is YouTube, but Vimeo has features that are more suited to corporate video projects, such as the ability to password protect the video, and replace the video with an updated version without changing the web address.
Having this quick and easy sharing platform greatly reduces delay on feedback and allows you to complete projects in good time.
So that’s it really. Yes, processing the post production of your video in house rather than contracting out to a video editing services company requires some time and financial investment, but it can be worthwhile and it gives you ultimate control over your final video marketing output.