I have wondered why it takes filmmakers up to a year to edit a film. This was until it took almost a year for me to complete an edit. Now I’m more empathetic about the editing process.
Last summer, I volunteered to gather footage during the final phase of the Soccer for Education and Cultural Exchange program. For those who know me, it isn’t surprising that I will do photography or video as a social service if I’m drawn to a cause or story. I don’t advocate doing this frequently. I personally choose to do this and do so only a few times a year.
Unfortunately, the post production could not take priority over other obligations, freelance work, commercial work, and graduate school projects. So, I did not have time to edit this project for several months.
Sifting through over 60GB of footage was painful. The quantity is part of it. But this project was my 2nd time ever shooting video. Half the footage was easily rejected. The remaining rejects were done based on comparing similar clips and determining which was better. It’s a soccer video; so, no matter what, soccer footage would be plentiful (insert hackneyed SNL “more cowbell” reference).
Aside from this, it was quickly realized and determined that narration would be needed to assist the story arch. Also, this piece wasn’t intended to be a staunch photojournalism project. It teeters more on the advocacy side. This resolved any potential conflict with using music.
Before this piece, I never had to write a script for narration or use music in an edit. The script had several drafts. I am not an athletically inclined person. I trip on air. I also am not sports savvy. In a conversation about hockey, I called the puck a putz. This conversation was with my friend Matt, who also narrated this soccer piece. So, I wasn’t surprised when he read the first draft, laughed, and told me to try again. The original first line was something like, “one sport to rule them all” which he read in robust serious fashion before chuckling.
Honestly, I loathed the script writing part. Mostly because I know very little about soccer. But once I realized it should be more about the philosophy of the game, the emotions behind why people love it and what it means to be a coach, those were concepts I could write about. Even so, the revisions got put off until the day some of us returned from Look3.
The best “sound booth” option was a car. So, there we were in Matt’s SUV. It’s dark except for the dulled street lights and my laptop’s LCD screen. I’m in the passenger seat with my Rode mic, Zoom H4n, and headphones. There is nothing unusual about this at all.
We re-write the script as we record. Certain words don’t sound right. Some phrases should be more succinct. And Matt is victim of my limited direction: “Slow down. Pause more. More chutzpah!” Thirty-nine audio clips later, a narration could be pieced together.
With the narration as the last piece needed, I could finish the edit. People usually ask how much time post production for a video takes. Basically, for every minute of a finished product takes 2-6 hours of post production time. This is about a 5 minute video, so between 10-30 hours (I’d lean more towards the higher end) for this project.