Zen and the art of video editing
The world famous Queen Mary sits majestically (on pillars!) in Long Beach Harbor, California. Click image to enlarge. © SGE, Inc. All rights reserved.
IT MIGHT COME as a big surprise, but editing video and motorcycle riding have something significant in common: it can be called the Zen of video editing.
On Saturday afternoon Aug. 17, I enjoyed a marvelous summer’s day on the oceanfront at Belmont Shores, in downtown Long Beach, Calif.
The bike path, which both circles the marina and follows the shoreline south and east for about three miles, affords splendid views of the Queen Mary, Long Beach Harbor and the downtown skyline.
I covered the distance in less than two hours.
It took more than twice as long to edit the video. It was during this process that I became aware of the zen of video editing.
WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW THE FOLD.
THE EXPERIENCE IS ANALOGOUS to riding a motorcycle, which I blogged about in Zen and the art of motorcycle riding on May 13.
Editing video involves several mental processes, some occurring simultaneously, others sequentially.
First, selecting the images. From more than 45 minutes of raw video, finding the 9 minutes presented here requires total concentration.
The downtown Long Beach, Calif. skyline as seen from the bicycle path on Belmont Shores in the Long Beach marina. Click image to enlarge. © SGE, Inc. All rights reserved.
It is this total immersion that cleanses the mind. All the stresses and strains of the past and future vanish as one processes 30 frames per second, finding just the right ones to include, making split second decisions on where to cut and what to leave out.
Simultaneously, the editor must listen to the audio. This is perhaps not quite so critical because it can be modified later – improved or removed and overlaid with music. But the focus needed to monitor both images and sound in real time is intense; no distractions can be allowed.
A pair of bike riders in contrasting black and white outfits, seen on the Belmont Shores bike path. Click image to enlarge. © SGE, Inc. All rights reserved.
The consequences of inattention, however, are not nearly as dire as they are on a motorcycle, where split-second distractions could cost the rider his life.
In video editing they simply waste precious time.
In the news business, speed is of the essence. Competition is intense and the first to get a story on the air routinely will capture the audience.
There is often no time, and much breaking news video is aired without editing. But what one sees on the evening news is most often edited, and the process is similar, the deadline pressure enormous, and the need for intense concentration just as important.
I call it “zen” because it is similar in effect and result to meditation. It is relaxing in that it allows no intrusion from the past (which for many, has been stressful) or the future – which for all of us is unknowable, so why worry about it?
It is being In the now – the second way to read the title of this blog.
Enjoy the tour of Belmont Shores as seen from the perspective of a bicycle rider in the video below.
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