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Steve Janas's blog

Good Editing Is Really Just Good Thinking

If you ask me which I prefer, shooting or editing, I wouldn't think twice before giving my answer: editing. The reason, I suppose, is that I'm a writer at heart, and editing is pretty much the same process, except that you're delivering your message through images and sounds instead of just words. That adds exciting new dimensions to your creativity and the way you express it. Now, I'm not going to go into the technical aspects of editing (like which software is best), because frankly, that's not my forte. As I said, I'm more of a writer than a technician. I've always said that good writing is really good thinking, and the same applies to editing.

Being a Jack-Of-All-Trades Ain't So Bad

ImageWhen I was at film school, a common complaint was the hyper-specialization of movie sets. You had one guy to set up the lights and one guy to plug them in. The camera crew had all kinds of people whose function seemed ridiculously limited in scope when you looked at it. Most people blamed unions, and suspected blatant "feather-bedding" (favoritism) was going on. While unions are certainly still around, the best strategy for success in today's world, where television and the web are rapidly merging into a single entity, is to be able to wear multiple hats. You need to shoot as well as edit. In fact, don't stop there...

Welcome to the Real World

June - a beautiful time of year. The sun is shining, the summer is still fresh, young and full of promise. And, for newly minted college graduates - particularly in journalism - it's a time of dread. This is when you realize that investment of $100,000 and four years of your life has come down to this - a piece of paper with some fancy letters on it, handed to you at a Hogwarts-like ceremony where everyone is dressed in traditional caps and gowns and an endless chain of serious-sounding words are intoned. Now you take that paper and trade it in for a career in journalism, right?

Telling Stories Through Video Journalism

ImageA journalist with a video camera is really no different from one with a pen and paper. No matter what the medium, you're telling a story. The tools you use are different, but the technique is largely the same. First of all, remember the inverted pyramid. When telling the story, you're moving from the most specific to the most general (the rationale for which, in the days of newspapers, was that an editor could cut for length and not have to worry about losing important details). You begin your story with the lead - or "lede," to use the industry specific spelling - the general summation of the story's topic and the hook to draw the reader/viewer in.

The Art & Science of Being a "Preditor"

So you want to be a "preditor" (producer-editor). Cool word, huh? Preditor - kind of has that lone wolf feel to it. Have DSLR, will travel. And that's kind of what you're doing - being a one-man (or woman) production studio. The more you can do yourself, the more likely you'll get work. That's the reality of video production these days, at least for the web. A potential client wants to fill up his site with video content, and he wants one person to be able to do it. That person should be you. That means that you have to be able to plan out the shoot, execute the shoot - serving as shooter, gaffer and audio tech - then take it home and edit it together on your laptop with basic graphics. Next you export it, send the client the video file or go the extra mile and upload it to Vimeo or YouTube for them, writing up a text description and maybe putting in a tag or two.