The final installment of TechSoup’s Digital Storytelling Challenge webinar series covered video post-production and editing. Arguably, one of the more challenging aspects of digital storytelling required a slight departure from past webinars.

Guest expert Aaron Bramley, co-founder and director of communication/education, Lights. Camera. Help. gave a basic overview of video editing before taking webinar participants through a live walk-through of editing techniques.

Plan, Capture, Produce

According to Bramley there are three versions of a digital story: what you plan, what you capture, and what you edit and produce. The version of the story you edit and produce is most important version. The type of equipment you have available and choose to use affects each of these three story versions.

Editing and post-production does not have to be expensive and, in fact, many digital storytellers already have access to the tools they need. Many storytellers begin the video post-production process on their computers.

Tools for Post-Production

Both Macs and PCs often come with video editing software pre-installed, like iMovie and Movie Maker respectively, that are a good starting point. However, those without video editing software can take advantage of web-based editing tools.

Tools such as Animoto allow users to upload photos and easily add music and transitions to create professional photo-montages. YouTube also includes video editing tools in addition to its oft-used uploading tools. It is important to note, however, that web-based editing tools can be limited in functionality. For beginners, limited functionality can be helpful as it simplifies the post-production process.

For a better understanding of post-production and production tools, it is worth looking into whether local public access stations offer classes on editing and post-production and access to editing tools. 

Create Transitions

Organization and an understanding of the editing process and editing tools are essential. Clearly and logically titling photo and video sources for your digital story saves editing time. Creating transitions between these elements should not be obvious unless you’re trying to change the tone in your digital story. For an understanding of how transitions work, Bramley advises watching television commercials.

Using text is another means of signalling transitions and if used when someone is talking is best when placed on the bottom third of the frame. In some cases, hiring a professional editor can be worthwhile if it’s possible to arrange a nonprofit rate or sponsorship agreement. 

Readers that may have missed any previous TechSoup Digital Storytelling webinars and tweet chats can find the collected blog recaps here.

Susan Chavez
Online Community & Social Media Team, TechSoup Global