Language of Editing Understanding how to shape the message through visual storytelling

What is Editing?

In its simplest form editing is a…

  • To prepare, condense, correct, shape, or otherwise modify content for a variety of uses.
  • To choose material for a created form of media – a written document, a play, or an audio or video artifact.
  • Editing is a crucial part of good storytelling in all of its forms.

Reasons why we edit:

Time: Opportunity and Venue

  • How long will we have our audience?– Is it a commercial or a three-hour documentary?
  • When and where they are watching affects how long we have audience attention. - Mobile device, website, television, movie theater?
  • As a function of... – Demographics (many factors), competition, interest... all of these things will affect how long an audience will engage with the content.

Content: Proper presentation of the story.

  • Pacing (predicting) – What moves the story along? Is it too fast, too slow, or just right. Can the story be told in one hour, one minute, or one second?
  • Pacing (measuring) – How do we find out if the pacing works with the audience?
  • Appropriate content for the target audience – age, demographic, cultural context, worldview, language (both literal and figurative). Messages for one group mean something completely different to another.
  • What is the appropriate emotional response we are looking to get out of the audience?

Inspired, Offended, or Frightened?

Noor Tagouri wants to become the first Muslim hijabi (covered) anchor woman in America. She has been pursuing this career since 2012. She has recently shifted her focus to working independently on social media rather than traditional media outlets. How do audiences respond to her?
  • Accuracy, truthfulness, and casting in the right light. Beware of bias - it is always there, but understand it's impact and know how to shape it for the greater good.
1994 arrest photo of O.J. Simpson. Same original photo, two treatments
  • Censorship – Negative connotation? What is best for the audience? Editing is choosing what to leave out and choosing what to include.
Gold stars added for modesty.

Format: How will the media be consumed?

  • Size matters – Understanding what screen(s) on which the content will be viewed will determine certain production elements. Cell phones, tablets, computers, apparel, televisions, and movie theaters - each have different shapes and resolutions.
What physical attributes work with this device? Do they create an emotional response?
What physical attributes work with this device? Do they create an emotional response?
And here as well...
  • Location and Opportunity for consumption - Competition for attention and delivery tool. Technical considerations such as visual, auditory, and compression limitations will impact your message .

Picture & File Format:

Do you see a difference between the birds?

Hi resolution versus low resolution.

What catches your attention in the following picture and why?

Times Square – What catches your attention and why?
Which Faces Do You See First?

Aesthetic is…

What is "Beautiful"...

...or best communicates the intended emotion. Light, color, sound, shadow, framing of shots, all contribute to telling the story.

Color has meaning
Shadows add Depth

Shadows & Light in Cinema

Texture of Light & Sound

Created By
John Rost

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