I shot 40 hours of mini dv tape of cycling to India. I worked with a professional film company, who gave me some tuition beforehand. However, in the end the film company decided to produce the film about my mate who I was also travelling with and make a love story about it. However, I've got a bunch of footage out of which I think there is enough quality material to make a 1 hr film.

How can I craft this travel footage into a worthwhile product?

I'm currently logging a tape per day, with timecodes and paper notes, and keeping a record of clips I consider to be worthy of going into the film. What other methods can I add into my process to sort out my footage and what methods can I use to craft a story?

  • Can you narrow this question down at all? It currently is basically asking "How do I edit video?" which is way, way, WAY too broad. You are asking at least 3 different questions ("How do I know what is interesting?", "How do I take notes on my footage?" and "How do I form it in to a story?") and each of those is itself pretty broad. – AJ Henderson Dec 15 '14 at 18:02
  • ok I'll look into it – Andrew Welch Dec 16 '14 at 10:37
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    It might be worth maybe narrowing down the questions to make them a bit more specific so someone might be able to give you a process, link to resource etc, editing is a craft and something you learn as you do, storytelling is also a craft and something you learn with some experience and understanding of how stories work. – Adam Mann Pro Dec 17 '14 at 13:42

If this was me, I would log all the tapes with notes and do a rough outline (on paper) as to what I would like to have.

I would then go and do a rough cut (very rough tbh), putting all the content I want in a order that makes a bit of sense. you can then see how long it is, if its to long you know you can cut it down, if its to short then you might have to rethink your idea or find more footage to use.

I would choose some music (if you are going to have some) for background, montages etc then do another cut to the music getting closer to your final time limit-ish

Sit back give it a week or so go back watch it through and see if you like the way it is being told but have a open mind while doing this.

Do another refined edit of things you didnt like when you watched it back, move things around, change up the flow etc etc.

Watch again and keep doing the last step till your happy with output and story, making sure it wont bore someone watching or confuse them.

get a focus group (Friends, family) to watch it and let them be critical about it to see if they like, understand etc get there feedback and do a final cut.

Final stages are getting the sound levels and colours looking good then let people watch it


get a editor who knows how to tell a good story and ask them if they will help you edit the footage down or get their help in the last stages to refine it all.

There is a good course called Inside the Edit https://insidetheedit.com/ it is a little pricey but it will give you what you want I think, If I have the money I would do it but I just go with my feelings and the above

  • Thats excellent advice. Thanks +1 :) – Andrew Welch Dec 15 '14 at 16:48
  • Friends and Family review isn't really particularly helpful as they are going to find things interesting because you are involved, not because it is inherently interesting. The focus group should really be more strangers if you are going to do that. Possibly find a local independent film group or something similar if you can. – AJ Henderson Dec 15 '14 at 18:06
  • @AJHenderson I see where your coming from and do agree, but the OP is new to this by the looks of it (I may be wrong) and starting with friends and family could be a bit easier then trying to find some strangers to have a look. First things first is to get to this stage anyway, this could take days, weeks, months, years depending on how fast and how much time is spent on the project I know I have some personal projects I keep putting on the back burner – Adam Mann Pro Dec 15 '14 at 19:06
  • @AdamMannPro - yeah, I agree and it certainly won't hurt to check with family and friends, just thought it worth mentioning that there would be some noteable bias in that case. Still good for seeing some things that are easy to miss with your own work early on though. – AJ Henderson Dec 15 '14 at 19:11

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