What To Consider When Picking Highlights

Do ever you find yourself picking apart things you're an expert in? I'm not talking about the things you think you're an expert in. Not the topics that fill our newsfeeds: politics, officiating, coaching, quarterbacking. I'm talking about the things that consume your everyday lives: jobs/fantasy football/fonts/pickling. You actually know a little something-something about these things and can talk intelligently about them. You know, the things you list on your LinkedIn profiles. The categories you dominate at Wednesday Night Trivia.   

I like to think I know a little something-something about sports video production, gender studies in the media, local news/radio production, The West Wing, and movie soundtracks (guys, I once won a cruise ship contest). I can't sit in the movie theater before the previews begin without naming the movie that goes with the song playing. I can't watch a local newscast without production room sarcastic commentary. And I can't watch a sports video without thinking of ways to improve it. That mostly applies to work that comes across my desk. I'm my biggest critic. I know that's pretty cliche to say...perhaps it's even old hat (pun point!). 

I don't go all Miranda Priestly on our work, but if you're not constantly trying to improve or be willing to take chances in the creative biz, WHAT'S THE POINT? 

I think we all have a "Wish List" when we look back at our work. Some things are in our control. Some things are out of our control. Here are just a few of my nonspecific wishes:

- I wish we had more time on that shoot.

- I wish we had more time on that project.

- I wish my writing was a little less cheesy. 

- I wish we didn't have to use that same concept every single year.

- I wish they had used a tripod.

- I wish that song had never been written.

- I wish we had better highlights.

This last wish: better highlights. When I wish for better highlights I'm not commenting on the quality of the play or the players. You don't have to have an awesome record to have an awesome video. My commentary is directed at the collection of highlights selected for editing. Below are five tips when picking highlights to use for a video.

1- Don't cut too soon.

The thing that makes your team different from other teams isn't the touchdown, the dunk, or the goal. It's the personality of your players and coaches after those actions. Their celebrations. Their emotions. Include the reactions after the actions.

   

 2- Variety is the name of the game.

Some of our best videos have highlights that are from multiple camera angles. You'd be surprised how big of a difference it makes with the pacing (aka: keeping things interesting) when you're able to cut from the full court camera to the under the basket cam, and then to the rim cam. Think about watching a sporting event, your favorite tv show or movie and how boring it would be if it all came from one camera angle.

  

3- Understand team politics.

Every coach is different. Every team is different. Before you start editing your slick hype video you better figure out the team politics. Does coach only want to show the starters? Three out of five starters? Seniors only? Does every player need to make an appearance? Has she really earned her spot in the video? You might not think coaches have an opinion on the video, but they do. You don't need to know all of the nitty-gritty details of what's going on with the team, but you need a general idea so you're not re-editing the night before the game. Sometimes a hype video is more than a hype video.

4- The audio. The audio. The audio.

Radio and television play-by-play can add an extra POW to highlights. It's an added layer of awesome to your video. There's something about hearing somebody get excited about a play. But remember with great play-by-play comes great responsibility. TOO MUCH p-b-p can have the opposite effect and slow down the pacing of the video. Most calls last longer than five seconds. Not every highlight needs it. 

5- Don't be THAT guy.

No editor wants to go through multiple game melts when putting together a hype video. Seriously, when you're in video-making-mode you don't have time to watch hours of games searching for the best 20-30 highlights (that includes reactions, multiple camera angles, only the seniors, and radio play-by-play) for a one minute video. Don't be that guy to your future self or to others. Don't sabotage the video. Organizing these clips throughout the season or at the end of the season will help you out in the long run. You can do it by players, by plays, by games. Just do it. Yes, it takes time, but it takes a lot more time trying to find that one awesome dunk by Jackson in hundreds of minutes of footage. Plus, now you can spend a whole bunch of extra time making your video more amazing.

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