Lights, Camera, and a Lot of Editing: My Typical Workflow When Creating Videos

February 25th, 2014 by Student Blogger
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By Sakhile Vanqa

Poster I created for my video.

The poster I created for my video.

When Colleen and I were each assigned the task of blogging about our personal processes of working through projects, there was a moment where we looked at each other with an expression of confusion. Once we understood that the assignment wasn’t as odd as we had it out to be, everyone in the office laughed, “an artist’s workflow is not the same as someone studying something else.”

Indeed, we’re all different. For example, I have a friend who drafts her essays in slang before translating them into appropriate English for submission. She says it makes sense to her.

My workflow depends very heavily on what medium I’m working on. When I’m writing, I need to be in a space that allows me to see the outside so I don’t feel claustrophobic; but when working on videos in the labs, music becomes the substitute for the view.

While Colleen’s post follows a typical workflow on her illustrations, my post will follow me through to a video I completed for a class.

As soon as the project’s assigned, I like to create an outline of some sort so that the project occupies space in my mind. My attention span does this thing where it plays leap frog with tasks if I don’t consciously give them importance. As fun as that game sounds, my fall would be really painful. This is where I created thumbnails to give an idea of the shots I had in mind—the ‘mis-en-scene’ is the name of the environment within each shot.

Everything before you begin shooting is called ‘pre-production’. It’s the work you put into setting up for the next step: ‘production’.

My next step is actually my favourite: location scouting. I mean, come on, it includes having to go on a walkabout or cyclebout! Anything that gets me outside evokes a level of excitement akin to a seven-year-old allowed to all the candy they can consume. Location scouting involves searching for environments that best support the material you’re going to produce.

For my video, my friend and I shot in quite a few places. We started shooting WAY out in the country, then ended up in Columbus. Shooting the project was awesome. My friend and I had some brilliant chemistry, which made working together a breeze. It goes without saying that you need to be OK with the people you’re working with to create a healthy working environment, not only for you but for everyone involved.

Listening to Tycho while you can't go wrong.

Listening to Tycho while you work…you can’t go wrong.

After the shooting of the project comes ‘post-production’.  This step, as far as my history is concerned, is the most time consuming. It’s time consuming because once you think you have it all edited and ready to export, you may find you want to shoot a little extra; or a shot lingers for too long or not long enough. It’s never ending.

For this video, I believe there were more than five versions before I uploaded it to Vimeo. My professor and I went back and forth breaking it down piece by piece, and building it up again. One definitely shouldn’t underestimate how long it takes to edit a video to the way you had it in your head. It’s a process I underestimate sometimes, and man do I kick myself for it!

In addition to the final video, I also had to produce a poster for the film I made.

I recently switched my major from photography to cinematic arts, and the way I execute projects now are more or less the same as before, with just a few tweaks.

Both fields still battle it out to win my heart, but it’s a constant love-hate tug of war between the two. Below is the final—at least I’d like to think so—of my Lost video.

Sakhile Vanqa is a junior majoring in Cinematic Arts who enjoys humor, cycling, and aspires to shoot for National Geographic.

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