Filmmaking To The Max: Editing Difficult Footage

Hi! I’m Kyla, teenage filmmaker & creator of the teen drama webseries To The Max. This column will serve both as a production diary and an ever-growing list of how I’ve found my way around every issue I’ve come across and every mistake I’ve made.

We all have our strengths and our weaknesses when it comes to filmmaking. I personally pride myself on my skills as a producer, a writer, and more recently, a cinematographer. My weaknesses lie in hair (never ever ever give me a curling iron), sound, and editing. The latter is my current downfall. Our lovely editor went off to college and is unsure if she is able to continue editing, so I cleared some space on my computer and decided to give editing a try. It’s not that hard, I thought. It won’t be the same as the time I spent nine hours editing an eight minute short for English class, I thought. I can do anything I set my mind to, I thought.

(Only the last one was true.)

I began my editing mission with one of the most difficult scenes I could have possibly chosen to edit. We had initially shot the scene on January 12th, but on reviewing the footage months later, I realized that we didn’t have crucial angles we needed to have smooth editing. This was because, as usual, it was super rushed day. Thankfully, I only had to pull the two main actresses back in for a reshoot instead of all five actors; however, both actresses had had haircuts at that point. This was a problem: I had to still use the January wide shots with them and the other actors to establish they were all in the same room together as well as using the new updated June angles. Additionally, like the majority of scenes we filmed, there was never one solid take so I had to be cautious of which lines were flubbed on which angles and where the lines were restarted from. Needless to say, I was out of my depth here-- but I still made an attempt anyways, and I honestly don’t think it turned out badly. And because it didn’t turn out badly, here are my tips for editing with difficult footage!

MIND CONTINUITY TO THE BEST OF YOUR ABILITY

One of our actresses is wearing a bright blue scrunchie in the wide shot and a light blue scrunchie in every other angle; another is wearing a different pair of shoes. For the former, I couldn’t do anything about that, so I simply only used the wide shot the one time I had to. Thankfully I’d noticed the latter on set and made sure to crop her shoes out of the frame for our new angles so there wasn’t an inconsistency. I did the same with a bag that existed in the wide shot but didn’t exist in the new angles.


The scrunchie inconsistency! I tried to gif it and ultimately failed.

COLOUR CORRECTING IS YOUR BEST FRIEND

Yes, it’s spelt colour. Also, my version of colour-correcting is currently just playing around with iMovie functions until my lead’s dye job is hidden. Actual tips on colour-correcting can be found here.

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOUR WEIRD ZOOMS/SHAKES/AUTOFOCUSES

Maybe this only applies to me because I had to begin camera operating for this project unexpectedly and the January shoot date was my second time wielding the camera, but there were quite a few weird camera things to work around-- especially when I was trying to save time by starting from a wide angle and then dramatically zooming to change the angle. I managed to use this and a weird autofocus thing to my advantage though in this scene because it actually made a character’s entrance way more dramatic than it was and also, since it included a glimpse of one of the actresses in the reshoot, helped to lend credibility to the whole “everyone’s in the same room shhh don’t question it” thing I had going on.

J CUTS J CUTS J CUTS

Aka this article.

USE AUDIO FROM ELSEWHERE

Again, this may only apply to me as it’s specific, but I needed longer audio of the guys from the first shoot laughing so I could put it in the background of the new angles. Looping the laughter I did have sounded weird and we didn’t have as much as I needed from the first shoot because someone had talked over it. So I found audio I had of the guys laughing during a different scene and subbed that in instead, and only picky people will be able to tell the difference. Or, if need be, you can find a lot of sounds online (like a door slamming) if you need to sub that in, or you can create it yourself (by literally slamming a door). Music wise, you can always depend on our good ol Youtube Audio Library if you need temporary music or just music in general.

2 Likes

The scrunchie problem can probably be fixed using Secondary Colour Correction. Maybe I’ll do an article on that.

In fact, if you want to pass me that footage I can use it as the example in said article.

2 Likes

So as an exercise for myself from my article on Secondary Colour Correction I tweaked the scrunchie in your screencap.

It worked pretty much as I thought it would and took about 5 minutes to set up. Actual footage might take longer depending on how much her head is moving.

3 Likes

oh wow that looks great! thanks so much for the article on it, I’m definitely gonna take notes and see if I can replicate that with moving footage!

1 Like

If the head is moving too much in the medium shot, you can always try the opposite approach and lighten the scrunchie in the wide shot

1 Like