6.04.2013

Time in the water. I heard all about it yesterday from my kid.




You've probably read me making the point that you only get better as a swimmer if you spend time in the water. More practice usually means that your body learns subconscious corrections during swims while your brain does some iterative trial and error with new techniques, layering them in with tried and true techniques. Over time your hands and feet and your brain develop a feel for the water that makes your swimming more fluid and enjoyable. I say it all the time. Mastery is all about time in the water.

So I've been trying to master video editing and it's hard and frustrating. Not the technical stuff; I know which buttons to push and how to make my clips look the way I want them to but it's the actual sequencing and the cadence and knowing where to end one segment and start another one that seems difficult to me. These are stylist choices and aesthetic choices. I guess a video editing style reflects a person's story telling styles.

So last weekend my son edited some food preparation footage he'd shot for school project and I was mesmerized by the way the quick cuts and the music created a 1:30 piece that riveted my attention for the enture duration. Yesterday we were out jogging around the lake in the heat of the afternoon and I asked him how he learned to edit so well. Was it the classes at school?

He glanced over and then said, "Well, you have to consider that I started playing around with video when I was about ten and that my friends and I have been through a lot of trial and error in trying to edit our stuff for the YouTube channel and stuff. If you add in the three years of cinematography classes at school you'd get that I've edited a couple of hundred pieces. That, dad, is how you learn an editing style."

Then I asked his if he wrote the scripts first and if the narration was an important framework. He responded, "Video is basically a visual art. I know what story I want to tell but I start with all the visual pieces and I put them together first. Then I add in the basic narration. But here's the deal: a good video is a like a children's picture book. The pictures are what captivate the kids. You only need enough words to drive the story along and no more."

We jogged on. He looked at me and decided I needed a few words of encouragement so he added, "Dad, it's just practice and paying attention. Do more videos for yourself and don't concentrate on client work. Once you've got a hundred fun videos under your belt you'll have a style and your clients will probably like it. It just takes time in the water."

I always give that advice to other people. Sometimes I need to hear it too.


13 comments:

thequietphotographer said...

Great! And it applies not only to video editing...time in the water...first time I read such an expression but I like it!
robert
PS. and I like to swim...sometimes...

lsumners said...

Has he posted his latest school video anywhere. If so send us the link (after getting his permission)

Matt Buntyn said...

Out of the mouths of babes.

Kirk Tuck said...

He plays all of his stuff close to the vest. Most of his videos for school can't be released because they have minors in them. As soon as he gets a music release for his food video I'll stick it up on Vimeo. He's shooting for an ad agency next week...

atmtx said...

Wow, you know you're getting old when your son gives you good parental advice. But equally a proud moment since you know that your son is learning, gaining success and becoming independent.

I'm only a few years behind you, Kirk.

bmillios said...

Smart kid. Must take after his mother. :)

Claire said...

Tee hee, smart kid ! I bet you really enjoyed that. I totally enjoyed reading about it ! I don't know about your side of the Atlantic, but here in Europe you still see parents with little kids trying to limit (sometimes to a great extent) their children's access to technology. Well, it makes NO sense to me whatsoever. It's a bit like keeping little girls from going to school, or learning to read and write, no ? I mean, we live in a world were techno skills are an ASSET of importance, why on Earth no take advantage of the huge facilities one has to learn *anything* at a young age ?! Sure, monitoring internet content and console time seems absolutely vital to keep a kid mentally sane, but by all means let them learn the tools that they'll need to succeed (or even merely survive) tomorrow. My answer to keep a healthy balance is plenty of technology... and an equal amount of real life, hard to the touch skills. In our family, horse riding, working out, photography, all things my 5 yr old has been at a couple years already.
On another note, Ben's lesson is genius. And it is of value to stil photographers as well. Put the visual first, the narrative will follow. Yes, of course, it's brilliant. Video editing is not something I would dream of doing in a million years. Or rather, not until about 10 or fifteen years from now. But if I ever start to tackle it at whatever point in my life, be sure Ben's advice will have stayed with me all that time. Thannks for sharing.

Claire said...

Oh oh, great news...

Unknown said...
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reggordon said...

What a job you did on that kid. ( Apologies that was me above , I dont like posting anonymously)

Alan Fairley said...

The day my kid gives me advice like that will be the day I know beyond any doubt I've succeeded as a parent.

theaterculture said...

In Ben's day they didn't need dialogue - they had faces!

Kirk Tuck said...

It's not the first time. A couple of years ago he talked me out of buying a motorcycle...