August 30, 2013 - 8 comments

Video editing: the Williamson project

We had an amazing time in Haiti recently filming a piece for World Wide Village (WWV). We’d love to give you a glimpse at what goes into making something like this.

With a short documentary-style piece like this, you’re relying on interviews, b-roll material, and secondhand accounts. That means there’s no script. No script forces flexibility.

We had the honor of meeting with Pastor Joassaint, a Haitian pastor who has greatly impacted his community in Williamson with the help of WWV (who built him a house, partnered with him in the school, and from there how he's influenced the town).

From Minneapolis, developing the plot outline was relatively easy and straightforward. What Pastor Joassaint has done is powerful, and we were eager to show the house that WWV built for him and how he has partnered with them to create such an impact.

However, in Haiti, things weren’t as cookie-cutter as the plot outline (which is always the case). So, we had to adapt. We couldn’t get enough b-roll of him interacting with the community and portraying visually how he personally has influenced his community in Williamson.

Screen Shot 2013-11-30 at 5.14.41 PM

We got some good footage, but were unsure if our original plot outline would be effective with the material we were able to collect.

Video editing is a huge part of the process in production. In non-scripted pieces, the story is usually molded in editing.

We compiled a folder of all the clips. After meshing the video and audio, roughly editing the English translator out of the clips, we re-watched the footage to get a better grasp on what material we had. We made a Word document and wrote down a summary of what was said in each clip.

We went through and read each summary to understand the content we had access to, strategizing how to structure the story. We organized each story element into sections and created a new story arc with the material we had.

It turned out much different than our original plan, but that’s the case with many projects, and it can always be reworked into something good, even if it’s not exactly how we had previously planned it.

The end result, after long hours in our editing suite, was a piece on the community, and Pastor Joassaint being a part in the growth and development with the aid of WWV.

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Published by: Ryan Gates in Storytelling


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