It’s always fun to look back and see how far you’ve come. No matter what your craft, if you keep at it, you can improve in a matter of years or even just a matter of months. Then when you look back at where you used to be you may think “Wow, that could have been A LOT better”.
Recently, I took a look at an old video on my personal YouTube channel Kaiju Kim, a review of the film ‘Shin Godzilla (2016). After a session of criticizing and cringing, I jumped into Premiere Pro to re-edit the video (almost) completely from scratch. I re-learned 4 things as I took a trip down memory lane. These things are pretty obvious in retrospect and you’ll probably get the urge to say “Well DUH, Sherlock”. But just bear with me; I’m what you would call a “late bloomer” in more ways than one.
1. Don’t Be Lazy with the Audio
Right off the bat, I noticed the audio was atrocious. Mistake #1 was living right next to a noisy highway at the time of filming, but that was due to circumstances beyond my control. Mistake #2, however, was completely depending on my Rode VideoMic Go for audio. While that microphone will do just fine in a pinch, it picked up all those lovely highway noises along with my voice despite its supercardioid pattern. Perhaps I simply wasn’t close enough to the camera; I leaned in super close to that same mic for the voiceover portion of the video and it sounded much better. I remember having to do a bit of noise reduction in Audition, though. One of the things I did during my second run-through of the edit was re-do the voiceover using my AT2020 Condenser Mic. Had I taken the time to set up that mic from the get-go, I would’ve had a much easier time with noise reduction the first time around. Speaking of which, I tried reducing the background noise of the on-camera portions of the video and it turns out…
2. Some Things Can’t Be Fixed In Post
“We’ll fix it in post” is probably the laziest thing anyone in the realm of film or video can ever say. If you notice something is off while you’re filming, fix it right then and there. More often than not, that issue is unfixable once filming has wrapped. Case in point, the audio during the on-camera portions of the video. Despite my best efforts to reduce the background noise during my second run-through, I wasn’t able to do anything with it without effecting the quality and making it sound even worse, so I was forced to leave it as is. Additionally, the lighting isn’t the greatest. There was some natural light and I’m 95% sure I had one of my LED lights on in front of me. That’s all fine and good, but there’s noticeable shadow on my face. No amount of tweaking in Lumetri Color was going to fix that. (I mean, I’ve seen worse. But it definitely could’ve been better.)
3. Keep Your Stuff Organized
At one point during my re-edit, I had some slight trouble finding a particular clip I wanted to use for a revamped intro. I have a bunch of Godzilla clips in a particular folder. Which is located in another folder. Which is located in the subfolder of another folder in my external hard drive. Yeah, I need to take some time to reorganize my footage and assets. This can be challenging, as I have several projects and hundreds (if not thousands) of files to sort through. Nevertheless, organization is the key to getting things done faster. Just as I can’t be lazy when it comes to filming, I can’t be lazy when it comes to being able to find what I need when I need it.
4. Small Tweaks Make a Difference
I jumped into After Effects to spice up my ‘Godzilla Tuesday’ intro. It didn’t look bad, just needed a little extra something. So I took some Godzilla clips (after I finally found them hiding on my hard drive) and slipped them in under the text layers. I was happy with the end result! Additionally, something as simple as smoothing out a transition or adding in a sound effect can really make the video feel more put together. A little bit really does go a long way.
In conclusion, through this little “experiment”, I was reminded of the importance of putting your heart and soul into your craft no matter what. No shortcuts. No “I’ll fix it in post”. No “Eh, that’s good enough”. To quote motivational speaker Brian Tracy, “Never settle for anything less than your best”. That being said, don’t mistake doing your best for being absolutely perfect; that’ll just put unnecessary pressure on yourself and you’ll end up not putting up that video because it’s not “perfect”. Just give it your all and your video will be fantastic.