7 Ways to Shoot Like an Editor

At minimum, this will improve your craft. Now this is focused toward long-form and films, but the main points apply to news. The big difference, of course is that you should not recreate action as he recommends in the “overlap” section.

Shoot Like An Editor from Caleb Pike on Vimeo.

The tips include (times indicate where on the video you will find the tip with an example)

1. Transitional Shots (00:56)

Utilizing transition shots gives the editor the ability to move from scene to scene without using harsh cuts. As Caleb points out you can find very creative ways to develop and film transition shots without the use of “artificial crossovers and fades”.

2. Slate Your Shots (01:42)

Metadata is pretty important to an editor. It not only helps you, the director, to keep everything organized on set, but it also helps the editor in post. On any film shoot you’re going to go through several takes of multiple scenes, so by slating and cataloging each slate you’ve already begun the metadata collection and organizing for your editor.

3. Overlap Your Shots (02:16)

Overlapping shots can make editing easier and its gives the editor more options to work with. To do this you want to film specific actions and tasks in several angles, and you want to be sure and film the action from beginning to end in each take. Total pro move.

4. Get It On Film (03:09)

When shooting interviews or filming a narrative sequence begin rolling before you say “action”, this way you can gather auditory information about the scene or you can ask metadata questions to your interview subjects. Such questions for your subjects would include asking their name, spelling of their name and title. Having this information in audio form can greatly help your editor when setting up interview titles and or just labeling the metadata.

5. B-Roll (03:44)

As Caleb says, “B-Roll, B-Roll, B-Roll, B-Roll. You can never have enough B-Roll….it doesn’t matter how important it is or whether you’ll actually use it. I’ve always been taught that, “It’s better to have it than not.”

6. Practice A Lot (04:12)

You can go to school for years to learn the fundamentals of filmmaking, but if you don’t get out there and practice then you’ll never improve as a shooter or editor. So, use any open time you can and begin filming anything you can think of to practice shooting and editing.

7. Keep The Tone In Mind (04:31)

Know your story. Know what it’s about and the tone you want to set through the visuals. This is extremely important as the tone will most often dictate how the transitions and b-roll will work.

Mic like a Pro

The links below take you to what you need to accomplish the video’s recommendations.

Moleskin Plus

This Dr. Scholl’s product is cheap and helps create separation between costume and microphone, avoiding that muffled scratchy sound you’ve inevitably picked up before.

Vapon Topstick

For sticking the mic securely on the talent, Harrod recommends this easy-to-use pain-free adhesive.

Rycoat Overcovers

This tiny dead cat is perfect for preventing rustles and scratches from clothing. These are crucial when the talent is wearing multiple layers of clothing.

Hiding in the Hair

Working with spaghetti straps and tank tops can be a challenge. Harrod suggests trying to hide the mic on the sternum or in the cleavage. And if that doesn’t work? Try hiding the mic in the hairline!

Dress Shirts

Taping the mic on the sternum, in between the buttons of the shirt, should guarantee security and quality audio. However, if a tie is being worn, consider placing the mic in the knot of the tie instead of on the sternum.

Sew the Mic In

For narrative endeavors, never rule out extensive pre-production with your costumes. Harrod dives into the possibilities of sewing the mic into the fabric and how beneficial this strategy can be.

Helmets Galore

Though it might seem obvious, anytime a subject wears a helmet, you’ve got a clear shot for good audio. The helmet will provide a great place to attach our mic with little to no chance of being seen.

Ditching the Lav

It’s inevitable. Sometimes wardrobe and audio just aren’t going to work well together. When in doubt, get the boomout.

Consider the Camera

This might seem like the most obvious hint, but always mind the camera’s blocking and position at all times. A receiver sticking out at the bottom of the screen is never a good look.

Flying Cars-the story and how he did it

Here is a story and a tutorial that you will want to share with your colleagues/students.

Scott Jensen, a former TV photojournalist (and NPPA Photojournalist of the Year) who now shoots video for the Alaska Dispatch News captured a fairly amazing video of a very Alaska vent, flying cars on the Fourth of July. It is pure silliness as country folks run cars and vans off the side of a steep hill and watch them crash. But Scott turned this into a video epic.

Scott also produced this remarkable step-by-step tutorial on how he shot and produced the video. You are going to take a few lessons from this. First, how MUCH work Scott put into getting so many angles that it looked like he was working with a team of photojournalists.
Scott also was not afraid to sacrifice a GoPro or two to get something remarkable. And he moved around a LOT to get this story. Count the angles. He also makes use of bystander’s video for a few shots.