Want to turn your riding footage into a shreddin' edit? Our friend, kiter, and video producer extraordinaire Jenna Venter shares her top tips for turning your clips into a killer video. We met Jenna at last spring's Women's Kite Camp in El Cuyo, Mexico and were so impressed with the video she made of our trip, Endless Tacos. Read on and start creating!
The main reason I love making videos is because it's one of the best ways to tell a story.
There are tools in editing that you can use to enhance what story you're trying to tell:
1. Firstly and most importantly: the song.
I cannot stress enough how absolutely crucial the soundtrack is. It will make or break the video. A song is the easiest way to create feelings and emotions for your story. It's happened before where I've had amazing footage for months, but no song. Then, I'll find a song that goes perfectly with different footage so I'll edit that video while the other gets put on hold again for even longer - It's that important.
You'll know you've got the right song when you can easily visualize the video while listening to it. I encourage listening to the song many times before editing because you'll start getting more ideas of how to build the video up and integrate the soundtrack. Finding the song before you're done filming is also a plus as you'll start filming with the intention to match the song.
It's always nice when lyrics somewhat match the clip. It'll never be exact but things get awkward when lyrics express deep feelings of sadness while the clip is a smiling selfie shot.
2. Timing. My friends and I call a video "snatched" when clips and effects change perfectly on time with the beats of the song. This makes the world of a difference to the viewer as it creates a flow.
However, a game changer for me was learning which clips to stretch longer over multiple beats and to not necessarily change clips rapidly on every single beat just for the sake of it.
Often with editing, because you've seen everything over and over, you forget what's it like to watch it for the first time. If things move too quickly, people will miss shots or want to see a shot longer. You don't want to waste beautiful shots due to an unnecessary beat change. If you've got a knack for it you'll find a way to arrange it in a way that is "super snatched" but still has an easy-to-watch flow. A nice trick I use for text is make sure you can read it twice before it disappears.
The order of your clips is also something to be noted. Always keep your story in mind. Use clips to create a buildup and climax. Plan out what you want to happen during what part of the song. I often make a mark in my timeline and say "up until this point, it has to be clips of setting up and then afterwards everyone has to be on the water" or whatever the case may be. This allows you to edit other parts of the video when you maybe haven't filmed the rest.
Video editing is also the type of thing you cannot force, as the best results are created when you're most inspired. Sometimes, I've edited the ending before the beginning. It's also happened where I've had days to work on a video but I wasn't feeling inspired so I did something else. Then, I'll have an urge and edit a whole video in a couple hours.
Editor's block is common and being continuously creative is more difficult than people think. Don't let this demotivate you. Rather listen to the song again and remember what inspired you to start in the first place.
3. Colour Correcting and Colour Grading. These are things you can implement on a simple level that can really improve the look of your videos. Different cameras capture light differently based on the settings you use. In editing, Colour Correcting involves tweaking the light, exposure, contrast and saturation of your clips to make them all match. Colour Grading essentially involves adding a filter after colour correcting. This filter can be applied to all your videos as your signature style or perhaps be applied to match the feeling of your video. Colours are a great way to express emotions.
4. Downloaded special effects/ transitions. You might have seen the hyped-up zoom transitions. I'll admit they look awesome especially when applied with intention. They can really spice up your video.
Just remember that anyone can download a fancy transition or effect. What makes your video special is your story and your unique experience. Be careful to not overlook basic editing principles and apply these downloaded effects all over the place in hopes of it transforming the whole thing.
On a similar note, I know I sometimes feel insecure because I don't have the latest transition or plug-in, it all gets very overwhelming with everything out there on the internet. Focus on what you do have and what you're good at and make the most of that. Once you've got that mastered, there are amazing tutorials on YouTube where you can start getting fancy with all sorts of fun stuff in good time.
5. Equipment. You don't need super expensive cameras and gimbles to get beautiful footage. Learn the settings with what you have. Save up for a large SD card, film in high Res and FPS, learn to film with a steady arm and get the best quality you can. Fancy equipment will come. Start creating content and expanding your repertoire now.
One of the best tips I ever received: don't measure the success of your video based on likes and views, but on the actual feedback you received, whether it's on a large or small scale. Sure, exposure for your video is awesome, but if you're receiving positive feedback and engagement you're well on your way regardless. Keep going!