#SciFund Challenge Class

Video storytelling made easy for scientists

Part 11: Rough Assembly- the First Step in Editing

The first step in video editing is importing all of the relevant audio and video clips into your editing software. You'll also need to organize those clips very roughly so that they show up in the order that you'll need them for your final video. This entire process is called rough assembly. As a consequence, you'll need to have recorded the audio and video that you plan on using (at least mostly) before you get started. One exception to this is audio and video produced by others that you plan to incorporate in - later on in these instructions we'll have a lot to say about how to find and legally use other people's stuff.

Exercise: Rough Assembly

  1. Create a new project in your editing software. It is really important to match the settings of your project with the quality and resolution of the video clips you create with your phone. For iPhones and most smartphones, this will be: 1920 x 1080 30fps but you should check (Google) the video format for your specific make and model of smartphone. You can also check the properties of video files created with your phone (using Right Click, Get Info on Macs; using Properties in Windows) to at least find the dimensions of the video files (called frame width and height in Windows). In either iMovie or HitFilm, make sure the first thing your bring onto your new project timeline is a video clip that has the dimensions of 1920×1080. Do note that we have created a video at the end of this section that will walk you through this process.
  2. Import your narration/script recording. We will use this as a base to build the rest of our video from. Don’t worry if you’re not happy with your script recording, it will be good to get started with a rough version and swap in the final recording later. If your video won’t feature yourself, then make an audio recording of your script and use that. If your video includes no talking at all, then you need to think about this a little differently.
  3. For videos with no talking, the music and other audio will actually drive the initial pacing of story. If this applies to you, go to the section about music choice below. Once you have chosen the music for your video, add it to your timeline in place of your script and then continue to Step 3. For videos with talking don’t worry: we will get into music choice later.
    Add your B-roll and illustrative shots onto the timeline roughly where they are mentioned in the script. Alter the length of the B-roll clips so they fit nicely over the relevant section. For sections where you have not managed to source the B-roll yet, add a card in there with some text as a reminder that it still needs to be recorded/found
  4. This is a good point to save your project (iMovie autosaves). Through the editing process, the story may change, or you might want to try out different structures and versions. The rough assembly is a good point to start any later version from because you have already done a good deal of cutting and clip length alteration. Make a duplicate copy of the project at the rough assembly stage and save for later.

Here’s a video on how to set up your master project settings and begin your rough assembly in HitFilm Express:

Here’s a video on how to set up your master project settings and begin your rough assembly in iMovie: