I’ve been editing for about 8 years now and I love teaching editing to new editors. Here are some tips or rules that I like to pass on.
  1. How do we start the video? the intro is either music with establishing b-roll, or you’re maybe you’re doing a cold intro with just a talking head if they have a really bad ass quote that perfectly sets up the video.
  2. A lot of times the purpose of b-roll is to cover “jump cuts” with your talking head. Maybe they talk slowly with a lot of “ums” and you’re just making them sound better by removing them, or you’re taking things they said at 2 different times, and disguising them as one seamless thought.
  3. More on B-Roll. I’m usually either cutting on the beat of the song, or I’m cutting to the dialogue, to emphasize a word. If your subject is saying something really important, like “I hope this thing I’m building can really help a lot people" you might want to see their face when they say it.
  4. At the end of a section, you might want a bite that leads you to the next section, like “That’s when I knew that I had to build this thing.” When they deliver this line, the music has faded out, then BAM - next section with new music cue and exciting b-roll.
  5. For whatever reason, I start the music cue 2 frames after the subject has ended their thought. Big no-no is starting everything at once. B-roll, music, and dialogue. If this is a good doc and we’re learning stuff, our brain needs a little time to process things. Hence the break from dialogue with music/b-roll.
  6. A fun tip if a cut isn't working is to watch once without sound. Is your eye entertained, is it processing everything? Do you need to cut faster or slower? Then listen with your eyes closed. Are your ears entertained and processing everything?