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From the author of Editing Together Different Shots

Editing Together Different Shots

Good home movies seldom happen in one single continuous take. Instead, you shoot multiple little movies throughout the course of the day or event, which you then have to stitch together into a cohesive whole.

Editing together multiple shots is one of the most common features of today’s video editing programs. To do this, most programs let you access some sort of clip view. This involves dragging and dropping individual clips onto the program's storyboard, which is typically a filmstrip-type area in the interface. You can easily change the order of clips on the filmstrip, and delete clips that you don't want in the final video. Just keep rearranging clips until your video is in the order that you want.

Figure 1 Arranging multiple video clips into a single storyboard in Windows Live Movie Maker.

The key to effective editing is to tell a cohesive story. Don't jump around from topic to topic; more important, don't jump around temporally. Tell a linear story from start to finish; don't make the viewer work hard to figure out what's going on. Make sure one shot leads logically and directly to the next without any glaring gaps. If you're not sure whether the scene order works, just watch the video from start to finish—if you can't follow the threads, re-edit!

Of course, you need to somehow switch from scene-to-scene, which you do via some sort of transition. This might be a fade, a wipe, or something fancier, such as some sort of revolving or rotating effect. In most programs, you add a transition by dragging the icon for that transition onto either a clip in the storyboard or a specific area between clips.

Figure 2 Transition effects available in Windows Live Movie maker

When deciding what transitions to use, less is more. That is, fancy transitions tend to draw attention to themselves; kind of like, "Hey! Look at this gee-whiz transition effect!" So, it's best to avoid spins and whirls and shatters and the like. Simple old school transitions, such as fades, dissolves, and iris ins/outs are best, even if you think they're a tad boring. Ultimately, the transition should go unnoticed by the viewer; what's important is moving seamlessly from one scene to the next.

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