TOP 5 MTV EDITING TRICKS
Think about this: everyone and his dog can now afford a 35mm look camera. What’s more, everyone is now editing. Many have a photoshop background so I tend to see a lot of wonderfully massaged footage, but really we’re now spoilt for editors. While many edit their own material I suspect very few would put their hands up to go and cut for a demanding corporate client. Particularly when it comes to what we call ‘polishing a turd’. We’re lucky these days that the turds we have to polish are far nicer than the old material we used to have to work with. PD150′s, Z1′s… ooh I shudder. In response to all of that of course editors were called upon to build what I like to call a ‘jazz bag’ of tomfoolery for dazzling clients. It’s pathetic really but they love that shit. So here’s five top MTV stylie editing smashers for blinging your timeline. Shizzle my DSLRizzle yo.
1. 2.35:1 letterbox double drop
Inevitably you don’t have enough footage. Everything’s been shot fly-on-the wall and badly by cheap cameramen. What do you do. Repeat the shots. But don’t just repeat them, letterbox them and even punch in if you feel like it. Children love repetition apparently. If you’re really hard done by then put it in black and white. Your audience is so stupid they won’t realise.
As seen on MTV Cribs.
2. G Film Flash
Graeme Nattress is an arch FCP plugin designer. His suite of tools is nicely high end but really the only one I ever actually use is the G Film Flash. Those lovely film burn flashes you get when you press record on a film camera? This kind of gives you that. It’s an additive type dissolve that has a nice grainy feel to it. Use it fast for epilepsy inducing cuts and watch your audience convulse, or use it slowly for a painful retina searing whiteness that will leave your audience blind.
As seen on: all MTV programs
3. Pointless split screen
The opposite problem to number 1, or the other side of the same coin? You had two cameras shooting for no apparent reason other than because the work assistant put his hand up and said he knew how to use a handycam so the producer said ok. Work around the mediocrity of both shots with a pointless split screen. Not only does it flag up the fact that you had two cameras (yes, score, we rule), it also allows you to frame action in a way that confuses the eye and serves no purpose, successfully distracting the viewer from the fact that the footage is terrible. If you really want to blow people away make the splits fly all over the place and go for that true video effects look.
As seen on: MTV Making the video
4. Walk/ramp/chop – the magical jump cut with a hip hop beat
Cameraman presses record, follows action, subject is phenomenally boring, says nothing of interest because they’re an idiot. In order to work around this simply jump cut, ramp cut (add in a bit of double drop too) all to the finely chopped precision of a Neptunes beat. You can get away with murder, horrible shots, boring presenters, anything you like, as long as the image is jump needlessly and repetitively all the time, then moronic viewers will feel that something’s happening. And god knows we need to keep them chewing on the furniture. Also, don’t be scared to flop the footage, just for, you know, no apparent reason. Works best with steadicam shots.
As seen on: MTV Cribs, Pimp my ride My Super Sweet Sixteen
Here’s a good example: http://youtu.be/oOSU0w7QUlY?t=35s
5. Fade in/Fade out
This is one of those oh so simple tricks but the subtlety with which you use it is the key to doing it right. There’s no point fading in and out at the end of sections of content. Forget about using it like a paragraph break. You have to think of it as a comma. But then mangle your editing grammar so the commas are all in the wrong place. This is such a rubbish trick it’s best used with ultra dramatic music to signify stuff that’s really important, when the shots that go with it are awful. Even when the shots are good there seems to be no end to the potential of the fade in/fade out.
As seen on: Beauty and the Geek, X-Factor, lots and lots of romantic R&B videos.
There are many more of course, but I find these are the ones which really jazz things up. One other trick is to use the lens blur filter in Final Cut Pro, keyframed from 0-50 and back again over the space of about 5 frames. This buzzes the RGB channels of the footage and is a nice way to lend a bit of fizz to the footage in response to a piece of music.Another one is the zoom/dissolve filter. Oh yes.
Go forth and shizzle my dazzlers.