Tip #144: 4 Steps to Editing Better Interviews

… for Random Weirdness

Tip #144: 4 Steps to Editing Better Interviews

Larry Jordan – https://LarryJordan.com

Don’t do everything at once

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After shooting and editing hundreds of interviews, the biggest lesson I’ve learned is: Don’t do everything at once. Rather focus on completing very specific tasks. This allows you to better concentrate on the story, rather than the construction.

Specifically, I build an interview in four stages:

  1. The radio cut. Build the foundation of the story by editing all the sound bites in order into the timeline. Don’t worry about the visuals. Create the best story you can first.
  2. Add B-roll. After the story is fleshed out, go back and add B-roll to illustrate what the speaker is talking about. (Adding B-roll before the story is complete just wastes time because the story you are telling keeps changing.)
  3. Add titles and graphics. With the story built and the B-roll in place, you now know where you can fit titles and which graphics you need.
  4. Finally, effects. When everything else is done, add effects. I’ve learned that effects will take as much time as you have between now and the deadline… plus an hour. Don’t get sucked into adding effects until the rest of your story is complete, you’ll run out of time to finish your story.

The benefit of this approach is that you are intently focusing on one element at a time, without wasting time creating, say, an effect for a shot that you ultimately decide not to use.

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3 replies
  1. Jacob Hodgman
    Jacob Hodgman says:

    Also, if you have hours of interviews, it’s worth paying for transcription so you can see it all on paper and start to edit the sound bites before you even open the edit suite. As many of us are visually based, trying to remember where that line you meant to come back to was can be difficult if you don’t have it written down. Sometimes it also helps with clients to show them what was said instead of telling them. “Oh you’re right, I did say that didn’t I?” And if you’re emailing back and forth with a client who is not a visual story teller, being able to copy/paste the transcript into an email can be valuable. A recent short film we did about Borderline Personaliry Disorder was saved by us being able to show the client what was said (quickly) and not having to play the whole video recording to get the same info across. They don’t have time to watch an hour long raw interview. They do have time to skim a transcript and head straight to the key elements. Clients often forget what they have said! Some of the transcription services include time references so you can jump straight to those points in the edit suite. It’s an old school technique (transcribing) that is much easier nowadays through automation.


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