In the final instalment of a series of blogs looking at how to produce high-quality recruitment agency marketing videos in-house, Shane Wheeler, Marketing Communications Executive, Adapt focuses on selecting video editing software, editing the video, adding graphics and music then sharing the final video online…
The End: Post-Production and Sharing
Every story has a beginning, a middle and an end. In this ‘end’ blog about telling your story, I share my advice for editing your video and sharing it online.
Miss parts one and two? Find out how to select your video recording kit here and set-up the kit and conduct great interviews with company spokespeople here.
Importing the video and audio files
At this point, your video shoot has hopefully gone very smoothly and you have the footage ‘in the can’ – meaning it’s safely saved on the SD (Secure Digital) or MicroSD cards slotted into your camera and sound recorder. Now it’s time to transfer the footage you have recorded onto the hard drive of the computer you’ll be using to manage and edit it…
You will most-likely have three main options when it comes to transferring the video and sound files to your computer. You can use the USB cable supplied with the camera or sound recorder, just the SD card itself, or the SD card with a USB adaptor.
If using a supplied USB cable, just connect the camera or sound recorder to your computer via the cable, wait a few seconds for Windows Explorer to recognise it and ask ‘Open folder to view files?’ then click on this option. Create a new folder on your desktop and merrily drag and drop your files into the new folder. Be prepared to wait a few minutes for larger files to transfer.
Even easier is plugging the SD card directly into your computer. If your computer has the right slot built-in, this is a joy. If not, you can use an SD to USB adaptor; a handy little device with an SD card input slot and a USB output plug. Either way, you can transfer your files as above but without faffing with a cable.
Cameras and sound recorders tend to name their recorded files in a way they find easy to understand, often coming-up with lengthy numerical file names which are tricky to identify. My advice is to re-number the files ‘01’, ‘02’, ‘03’ and so on as soon as possible.
It’s also a very good idea to back-up your files on a second (external) hard drive, just in case.
Logging the footage
Now your video and sound files are in folders on your desktop, it’s great to watch everything and get a feel for what you have (and check the files have transferred properly in the process).
Once you’ve watched your footage, the first thing to do is log it. To log your footage, play the files with a media player (such as Windows Media Player or VLC Media Player) which displays a time counter during playback. I like to have a small window on the left of my screen playing the video and a Word document open on the right. That way, I can easily start and stop the video and type-up the log.
Carefully log the footage within each video file by noting the timecode (the time on the counter) as each piece of new content begins (especially if you would like to use it in the edit). Also, it’s a great idea to transcribe interviews in full – this does take time, but it’s worth it because you’ll be able to go through the transcript and highlight every important soundbite (and potentially use the written content elsewhere, such as on your website or social media feed).
If you log and timecode all the clips and relevant material within them now, you’ll save a great deal of time later by zeroing-in on the ‘gold’ (the material to use) and avoiding the, as I like to call it, ‘guff’ (the waiting, chit-chat, fluffed comments, passers-by spoiling the shot, planes noisily flying overhead etc.) throughout the editing process.
Writing a paper edit
Go through the log and highlight all the parts you would like to include, and where you would like to include them – then use these details to write your paper edit.
Add each clip/file number and the ‘IN’ and ‘OUT’ points within it you would like to edit into the final video; along with descriptions to make sure you have the right sections. Then number each clip in the order you would like them to play in the final video. It’s also a good idea to add the details of any onscreen graphics you would like to use at certain points. Now you can ‘paper edit’ by cutting and pasting the clips in various orders and reviewing and refining until you’re happy you have the structure just right.
Selecting video editing software
There are quite a few video editing software systems to choose from, ranging from the free (Windows Movie Maker), to very low cost (Apple iMovie), mid-range (Vegas) and semi-professional (Adobe Premiere and Final Cut Pro). Naturally, as the cost of the software increases, so does the quality and power of the functionality it offers. When editing videos in house, I like to use Techsmith Camtasia. Whichever editing software you have access to, the vast majority work to similar principles, such as using a ‘timeline’, making cuts, ordering clips, adding transitions, video and sound mixing and so on.
Editing the video!
Now it’s time to open your editing software and import the video files you are going to use (the numbers of which will be on your paper edit). Depending on the system, you’ll most-likely find an ‘Import Video’ button which goes on to open the folder needed, or you may be able to quickly ‘drag and drop’ the files in the right area. Either way, the software now knows where the clips you’re editing are held on your computers’ hard drive. A good tip – don’t move these files once you begin an editing project, if you do the editing software will have trouble finding them again.
Next, in the order of your paper edit, add the clips to the timeline in the editing software. The timeline is a number of strips (known as tracks), usually across the bottom of the screen, where your clips are displayed as thumbnails and can be re-ordered, cut and manipulated in a number of ways to assemble your video.
Once safely on the timeline, trim each clip to the required timecodes (the IN and OUT points on your paper edit). To cut video clips, often there’s a ‘split’ or ‘cut’ tool which simply cuts the clip in two (like taking scissors to a strip of film) where you ask it to. The editing software will have a large-window video player with a time counter (matching the timeline) – click on the relevant thumbnail, play the clip to the point where you would like to make the cut then pause and click ‘cut’….and delete the piece you don’t need. Don’t worry, these cuts aren’t permanent, you can ‘bring back’ deleted footage if you find you need more. Once you’ve worked through all the clips in this manner and pulled them together on the timeline (by dragging and dropping the thumbnails), your ‘rough cut’ or ‘assembly’ is ready.
Now you can review and refine – watch and re-watch the rough cut and trim or extend the clips (by fractions of seconds) until you’re happy.
At this point, you’ll have ‘hard cuts’ between each clip, but the software will offer numerous transitions (some slick, some quite ‘cheesy’) which you can add to cuts to smooth and polish the video. A little bit of artistry comes in here – with every cut, you have the choice of which transition works best to tell your story. Hard cuts can be seamless and transitions such as fades and dissolves can smooth rough patches or emphasise certain feels to heighten the effect.
Adding titles and graphics
Professional corporate video agencies will be able to create slick animated titles and graphics for you, but you CAN create solid graphics yourself. Similarly to video editing software options, graphic design software also ranges from the free (Microsoft Paint) to the professional (Adobe Photoshop). Whichever graphic design software you choose, the key is to create a jpeg (or similar) image file to the same resolution as your video (usually 1920×1080). This file can then be imported into your video editing software and manipulated in the same way as a video clip. You can set the duration (a good tip is to give the viewer time to read it twice), add transitions, and (using an image with a transparent background) even overlay the graphic on the video. Most likely, you will need to add an opening title, titles for new sections and subtitles to identify interviewees. When adding subtitles, the industry term is ‘lower third’, because it’s popular to use the lower third of the screen for these graphics. Wherever possible, be sure to use current company branding and colour schemes within your video graphics.
Editing the audio
Your video editing software will undoubtedly also offer sound editing functionality. The most common (and important) tool to use is the one adjusting the volume levels during each clip. Just click on the timeline thumbnail to tweak the volume – this is really handy if an interviewee is speaking too quietly or loudly; and absolutely necessary to smooth the sound across cuts and transitions (usually by adding a ‘cross fade’ to avoid sound ‘pops’ created by hard cuts) and even-up the volume throughout the edit so the sound doesn’t ‘boom’ at any time during the final video. You can do this with the sound recorded by your camera; or you can import the separate sound files from your sound recorder, sync them up with the video (by lining-up the clips on the timeline tracks) and adjust them in the same ways. Be sure to mute or delete the camera recorded sound if you’re using separate sound – your editing software will probably help in this regard by allowing you to separate and remove the camera recorded sound from the video clip on the timeline (but not the original clip, which always remains complete on your hard drive).
Often the last part of the editing process, music is the glue which holds your video together, emphasises key moments and creates the right atmosphere for your content and marketing message. Find a few pieces which you think might work and play them with the video. When you have the right piece, you can import the mp3 or WAV file (WAV being higher quality) into your video editing software, add it to a track on the timeline, sync it with the video and mix the levels with the video’s ‘live’ sound to ensure the music isn’t ‘drowning out’ spokespeople or vice-versa.
It’s important to use music in the right way. Either paid-for or copyright-free, you must have the license to use music within a video you share online. If you Google search ‘Copyright free music’ or ‘Royalty free music’, you will find a number of artists, websites and payment structures to choose from. Some have nominal fees, some allow you to use their music free of charge if you credit/link them in the video.
Sharing the video online
Now it’s time to share your finished video and marketing message with the world! If you’ve got this far, especially for the first time, well done you, a pat on the back is in order!
Be sure to export your finished project from the editing software in the highest possible quality (probably 1080p) and in a commonly used file type (mp4 is quite a safe bet). It’s a good idea to check the website you are using to host your video, such as YouTube or Vimeo, to see which file types they currently prefer.
Now it’s simply a case of uploading, sharing and embedding your video within your agencies’ website. There are loads of possibilities and your audience of prospective clients and candidates can only grow.
Good luck! You CAN make recruitment agency marketing videos in-house.