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What Happens in Vegas...
...stays in Vegas! This PC-based editing app is a safe bet with these tips.

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Old November 22nd, 2010, 12:50 PM   #1
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I've just recently started to shoot video and edit. I do it for fun and mostly record bicycle rides and then create a video. I've been able to get answers to specific question from this forum and other source but i'd like to better understand shooting and editing....So i'm seeking some advice on how to gain knowledge. I use Sony Vegas Movie Studio Platinum HD10 (someone help sony with naming products!).

I would like to learn about topics that i know little to nothing about. I've viewed every Sony training video i can find along with some related topic videos on youtube. What are your favorite sources for the fundamentals of editing? I'm not looking for only free sources. Do i need to learn the fundamentals of editing from one source and the operation of the software from another? Or is there a good source for both at the same time?

Mike Prendergast
my videos: ChainRing Films on Vimeo
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 05:07 PM   #2
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Personally, I think editing is an entirely creative process. Like most creative things, there are certain "rules" that one should use as guidelines, but they are mostly just guidelines. I have not found many good internet resources about editing. There are some things that will give you little tips, but often they're so intermingled with rubbish that it's almost not worth it. I'm going through "The Eye is Quicker" now by Richard Pepperman, and it seems to have a lot of good advice and examples. But, it is just that, advice and examples. Books like "On Film Editing" (don't know who wrote it) is often cited as a good technique book.

Otherwise, honestly, there really aren't that many decent resources I've found on _editing_ itself. There are many on using Vegas (VMS or Pro) and doing various things, but most of them are focused on a particular effect, not editing in general.

Course, the references above are mostly from a film perspective, but some of it I'm sure still applies to more documentary style pieces.
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Old November 23rd, 2010, 07:40 AM   #3
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Actually, you would probably benefit from learning basic filmmaking and storytelling techniques more than anything. You might start with books on photography/videography that have basic ideas on how to frame shots, etc., then learn the art of storytelling. Basic books on how to shoot video are available at the library, but most are not so good. I found one years ago that had ALL of the basics, (how to frame shots, etc.) and it helped a lot. Also, more important than editing is learning how to shoot. With well planned shots and a great story the editing happens naturally.

Editing is analgous to a learning how to swing a hammer, but what you're really wanting to do is learn how to direct, shoot, and put it all together (edit).

The carpenter, like the editor, needs great ingredients, all set to a plan that makes sense.

Movies are stories (or they should be). As an amateur, you need to learn basic storytelling techniques, and the shooting follows, then the editing. Learning how to edit is the easy part when you know where you are going.
The horror of what I saw on the timeline cannot be described.
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Old November 23rd, 2010, 10:23 AM   #4
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Mike, there are countless books out there on editing and cinematography techniques. While both are an art and therefore allow a degree of freedom in breaking from those conventions, it is very important to remember that there are "rules" for a reason and breaking from them requires an equally compelling reason. Most of the things that have come to be the norm in movie making are because that's what we, as viewers, are use to. Most of the time, using a different technique will create an unsettling or slightly uncomfortable feeling. From the way a scene is light to the camera movement and framing, they all help to portray an idea using a common visual language. To be able to improve on your shooting technique as well as your editing you need to understand those fundamentals. It will also give you a common language so you'll understand what a jump cut is or a cut away, or what the rule of thirds is.

I believe learning the technical side of how to operate a camera or use your NLE software is one subject that is learned, for me at least, from reading manuals, listening and working with others who are familiar with the gear, and just plain old experimentation. There's nothing like getting your hands dirty when trying to figure something out. Then there is the artistic side. First, learn the fundamentals. There are several good books available for both shooting and editing basics that you could read. However, a better way to go might be to find out if your community college has any good courses on basic film theory. Try to find one that is not necessarily focused on the mechanics but more the theory. You'll know that you've hit this when the description talks about watching certain film clips and dissecting the techniques used. Then, you have your homework. Every film class I've taken has had one thing in common. The teacher has always emphasized the importance of doing your homework. As film makers, we have perhaps the best homework imaginable, simply watching lots of movies. The more you can watch the better. Good, bad, classics, even down right horrible films all offer something great lessons to learn.

Here is a link to a whole discussion on editing books to read:

Good Editing Books?

For a good perspective on editing "In the Blink of an Eye" is usually a standard. For cinematography techniques I like books such as "Setting Up Your Shots" for quick references for beginners. Also, in my opinion a must read is the "5 C's of Cinematography", this book explains some of the most important aspects cinematography convention.

BTW, I took a look at the videos on your Vimeo channel. Some very pretty scenery and you are well on your way. I might suggest that you get a portable recorder and record some ambient sounds as well as maybe some dialogue as you are riding. There are many situations where a some ambient sounds or a few words could really add to what you've already got.

Just some of my thoughts,
Garrett Low
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Old November 23rd, 2010, 03:30 PM   #5
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Garrett, Jeff, Craig, Thanks for the replies. I've looked into some of these references and will check the rest and then figure how to proceed. You have given me some good avenues to investigate.

Garrett, Thanks also for the comments on my videos. I do have some ride audio in videos but my camera makes getting audio from the bike difficult so i may need a separate recorder.
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