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Things to Avoid When Digital Video Editing

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 7/1/2011

Editing is the culmination of all of your planning and recording, and there are a few tips and tricks that can help when you are digital video editing.

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    Fun or Frustrating

    Depending on the kind of video artist you are, editing can either be your favorite or most challenging digital video techniques. The interfaces of most non-linear editing programs are difficult to master, but allow you to craft your film similar to the way painters color a canvas. When working on this process there are a few things to avoid to make the process go even smoother.

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    Avoid Disturbing Natural Physics

    When cutting together shots for a particular scene avoid violating the natural time and spatial relations of that scene. This may sound simple but can prove very challenging when you are at your computer arranging shots. Keep in mind that the events are taking place in an environment that has its own set of concrete rules, so do not violate them. This includes not putting shots together that may highlight the fact that they were shot at different times in the day, if someone is traveling from one side of the environment to the other show enough space passing so that it is realistic that they are actually making these movements, and don’t let people jump around from one location to the other in the scene.

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    Cause and Effect

    When editing sequences together always make sure that you pair up shots so that you see a “cause and effect" relationship. This means that every movement in the shot should be seen, as well as its effect on the outside environment. Do not have an object moving in the scene without cutting together a clip of what inspired that object’s movement.

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    Never Similar

    Try to never edit together two very similar shots. This seems like it may help maintain continuity, but it tends to do the opposite. If two shots are on the same subject and at only slightly different angles it will look like an awkward jump cut and will distract the audience. If you have two shots that are framed very similar together it will simply bore the audience and they will feel like they have been looking at the same image for a long time.

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    Mix Up Depth of View

    Make sure to mix up the proximity of closeness that you have with the different shots. Do not have too many close-ups or long shots pushed together. This can confuse people and the relationships between the characters and the environment will remain a mystery to the audience.

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    Keep Your Eyes Open

    Most people already have a good eye for what looks good in a final project. Trust your instincts, and if something looks awkward to you on first glance it probably could use some revision.