As any other aspect of filmmaking, video editing can be extremely challenging and very exciting both at the same time. Finding the right pacing of every edit, in particular, is a craft on its own that can take years to master. Overall, it’s not a rocket science by any means but it’s still a tricky subject that’s hard to explain in a simple manner mainly due to its complex abstract nature.
Nevertheless, there are a few simple practical tips and exercises that you could implement in your daily workflow in the editing bay to improve the rhythm of your video edits and get better results over time. Seasoned video editor and filmmaker Brandon Li shares his insight on the topic in the must-watch video essay below.
A simple practice you can start with when you’re not working on a specific project is watching your favorite music videos with and without music. That way, you’ll be able to get a better sense of a rhythm-based piece of video content that isn’t entirely edited on the beat. If it’s executed well and keeps your interest while watching it even without the sound, it should give you some great ideas on editing that you could later incorporate in your narrative projects.
Another interesting concept that Brandon Li suggests in his video is using a well-paced music specifically made for movies when editing. According to him, even if you don’t use this piece of music in your final edit, it still should give you a base rhythm that could be used to eventually find the right pacing for your project. You can also experiment with trying a few different pieces of music against your cut and see how these alter the perception of your edit.
My personal favorite piece of advice on Brandon Li’s list, however, is the one that suggests taking a break from your edit. This approach will not only help you to avoid overworking that could be dangerous for your mental, physical, and emotional health, but also will allow you to look at your edit with fresh eyes and find the mistakes that you’ve probably missed out during the previous editing session.
Keeping track of where you are spending your time at the most when editing might also help on certain occasions. As a rule, try to spend less time on a specific part of your edit by transferring your energy to a different cut instead. This approach can help you to distribute your time spend in the editing bay more evenly, plus it can give you a fresh perspective on your entire video editing workflow as well. Just force yourself to scrub to a different part of your timeline and work on a random portion of your video. Once you finish, you can go back and continue editing from where you have previously started.
What are your favorite tips and tricks regarding this particular aspect of video editing? Let us know in the comments.