If you’re a sports fan you may have watched a soccer match and not even noticed the referee. That usually means he’s had a good game, because he got all the decisions correct; he wasn’t the center of attention – he was, in effect, invisible. It also adds to your enjoyment of the game if the referee remains invisible.
Another example is your car. For most people, it’s best if you just drive it and don’t ever have to think about the mechanics or what’s under the hood; just fill it up with gas, take it for a service every 6 months and get behind the wheel. Essentially the mechanics of the car are invisible when everything is working; as soon as something is out of whack, you are forced to think about it.
The same applies to your online video. The last thing you want the audience to be thinking is “who edited this video?” You want the audience focused on the content of your message; anything that detracts from that is not helping you.
This means you need to aim for a smooth and natural look to your videos, whereby the message remains clear and central in the viewer’s mind rather than any physical concerns of the video itself.
This, in fact, is a skill that comes with experience and it applies not only to editing but in all stages of the video making process – from the scriptwriting, equipment used and settings you choose to the actual shooting of the video footage with angles and zooms and so on.
Sometimes, professionals at the art want to create waves, make a statement or try to create more impact by using new video-making techniques; but newcomers to video-making should stick to the “invisible man” concept or they will probably end up making a complete hash of things!
In terms of equipment this means ensuring your camera, background, tripod, lighting and audio set ups are adequate. People WILL notice if the lighting is too bright or too dim, the sound quality is poor or the camera is not steady, for example. They will not notice any of the equipment if it is doing its job correctly and this is exactly the way it should be.
When it comes to editing you will need your raw footage and a good video editing software program like iMovies that can help you arrange it all. You will need to practice techniques like getting transitions right; adding the right type of music in the right places; adding text in titles, lower thirds, calls to action and watermarks.
Usually the place to add editing is when the mood changes, time lapses, the message changes focus, the body position of the speaker changes or something needs to be emphasized.
The beauty of iMovies is that mistakes can be easily rectified in seconds; experiment and play with the editing until your video flows naturally from the title sequence to the first of the footage, transitioning through your story until the call to action screen at the end.
The danger with iMovies is that you may be tempted to over-elaborate.
Remember- if it doesn’t seem right to you when watching it, it probably needs adjusting, as it means something other than the message is taking center stage.
Having said that, don’t be over-critical; the best person to judge may be a friend or colleague; get them to have a look at your video and provide feedback.
You can get more nitty-gritty on these general tips for online video editing in the Lights, Camera, Profits! workshop. Just click here to find out more about it.