If I Can't Hear Your Story, I Don't Need to See Your Story

I have written this advice before, but with many of you taking students to the STN Convention in a couple of weeks, where they will participate in pressure-filled, TIMED contests, this might be a good time to re-visit the topic.  It has to do with editing a news or feature package.

The simple advice, to save time, and focus a story from beginning to end, is this:  Edit. Audio. First.

 Sound bites need to be edited and placed on the timeline first in the editing process.

Sound bites need to be edited and placed on the timeline first in the editing process.

When my students ask me to look over their stories, the main thing I do is "listen" to them.  Video is important, but I have to hear the story first.  Sometimes, I simply turn my back to the monitor and have them play the story for me.  If it makes sense, and the voiceovers  and sound bites are solid, then we are in business.  It means I can hear a story.  Seeing it will be fun after that.

Many times, students will return from their shoot and start dropping all the video sequences they shot onto the timeline first.  I hate when they do that.  Sometimes I drop by an edit bay, where I highlight all their edited video clips, and happily hit "delete" as they look on in horror.  Well, I told you...EDIT.  AUDIO.  FIRST.  

It really saves time, because it forces you to first organize your sound bites and write your script.  Dropping in visuals and natural sound is fun, but that comes after you edit your audio.

Kids may not understand at first, but as soon as they edit a story this way and see how much easier it is, they will never again just start randomly dropping down video clips.  Plus, it will save them time, and keep their evil teacher from swooping in and deleting their timeline.