Greetings. Once again your humble narrator takes a moment out of his busy schedule to offer a bit a technical advice for those interested in using video to present educational material in a flipped classroom or virtual learning environment.
Today’s suggestion concerns editing video clips to control pace and rhythm. I am sharing material garnered from the “Video for Educator” curriculum presented by the Adobe Education Exchange. There is a great deal of very valuable training and technical advice available here and all of it that I have found is free. Of course, the Creative Cloud Suite of development tools is NOT free but with the advent of the subscription method of purchase, it is affordable, PARTICULARLY for educators and students as Adobe offers a very attractive academic discount.
Setting and maintaining pace in any video production is important but no where more so than in the creation of educational materials. Often, the material is a bit dryer and more pedantic than content geared for entertainment. Also, the audience is known for having a short attention span and a very discerning taste in video quality. For these reasons, a producer of educational material must take care to produce footage that moves along at a good clip (clip…get it.) To that end, here are my suggestions for controlling pace and preventing your material from dragging down the production.
Point 1 – Cut on the Action: Often the inexperienced editor will cut from one scene to another while the screen is either empty or still. This is a mistake. Below is a clip that I submitted last week for a man opening a door and leaving a house. Notice how the cut scenes from the man to the lock close-ups are cut during the action. There is not lag and the scene moves quickly.
It is interesting to note that I could have also editing this clip, using the same footage, and made it appear VERY slow by editing the lock turns so that the turns were completed and maybe repeating the lock opening footage a few times in order to make the subject appear to be fumbling with the lock. I could also start each of the lock scenes from and empty screen in order to slack off the pace. Tricks like this may not seem so useful or important until you start creating video content only to have students ignore it because it drags along and is boring.
Point 2 – Have a sense of rhythm in your clips. Notice that the cut scenes in my clip are all of a similar length and are interspaced fairly evenly. This provides a feeling of rhythym to the clip. The length of the spaces between cut scenes and the length of the cut scenes themselves can control how fast or slow the clip feels. Mix the rhythm with a variety of shot distances, starting with a more long range establishing shot and working toward a more close-up focus and you will find the controlling the rhythm and pace of your material is easy. You will also find that there is a direct relationship with steady and lively pace and student engagement. Try this and see. If you have questions, please feel free to comment below.