Finding talented videographers today isn't difficult. Hobbyists, college graduates, and long-toothed production experts are all over job posting sites. But being a great video producer (let alone the next Spielberg) takes much more than Premiere, the latest 8K camera, a gimbal, and a neat drone. In fact, it takes even more than video editing skills.
It takes a mind for content, looking beyond what you see and hear and into the messages that will serve your audience and goals. It takes someone who can rely on tried and true processes to find and tell your organization's best stories. Here are a few content editing basics that make for great video pieces, too.
Sink your teeth into your key message
The most common mistake novice producers and newbies make is trying to tell too many stories. A common refrain is this: "I've wanted to produce a video for my company for years and I've finally got the budget to do it!" So they try to tell every single story in one video instead of focusing on a story that clearly communicates their company's key messages.
An "about us" video doesn't need to include the Founder's Story. Instead, the best “about us” video might be a culture story that focuses on a single value at the bedrock of the business. You don't have to discard those other stories – just find the one that drives home your key message and build around it. Use what you learn making that video to hone the stories you didn't use into other pieces down the line.
Know when to edit brutally...
Words matter, especially when it comes to content editing. In video production, killing your darlings is about taking painstaking measures to make sure only the words that matter make the cut. If there's a rambling soundbite, listen for the most important part of that 40-second clip and take only that section. If an interviewee alludes to a topic that will deviate from the key message, cut that soundbite.
In fact, soundbites (or the lack thereof) can help you trim the fat from a video. If a character in your piece doesn't have a good soundbite, be willing to cut that character – or use them as little as possible. At all costs, avoid putting in a soundbite with someone because they "should" be in the video. The gratuitous soundbite extends the piece unnecessarily and can be the kiss of death.
… and when to stick to your guns
Defending your edits to key decision makers is critical. When you receive feedback, do your best to separate the suggestions that will enhance the piece from the ones that will dilute the piece. If you've produced to the best of your ability, you should know exactly why every character, cut, overlay, and soundbite is where it is. If others want to add more elements, interviews, and topics, ask yourself if those changes are really needed. As soon as you expand from one key message, the point of your video will become more difficult to remember.
An experienced video editor and videographer are critical team members of a production team. But creating memorable video content begins with a seasoned content editor, or producer, who can identify and craft a memorable story. They can highlight the important stories and messages to help the team create an effective video that people will remember.