Remote editing: the new normal

Throughout my career, I’ve always done a combination of filming my own content and editing what other people have filmed. Right now, the latter is pretty much all I’m doing. The big challenge for me hasn’t been the editing itself, it’s been the lack of creative and technical control that comes with it.

When I worked for the BBC, producing digital video content for brands like Blue Peter, there were often times when I would be sent a video that a presenter had filmed on their phone, or given a piece of GoPro footage from the cutting room floor. My job was to assess whether it was worth using, and if so polish it up with a slick edit, some tasty graphics and a bit of music.

In the world of non-profits and businesses, there are always times when remote editing is the most suitable option. For one thing, it’s generally a great way to save on filming costs if a client already has existing footage, or has had professional photos taken that can be reworked into a video. It might be that a charity wants to promote an annual event, and has mobile footage that was shot by their staff or supporters.

That was the case for St Ann’s Hospice, a hugely important Manchester charity and one we’re very proud to produce video content for. Their Manchester Midnight Walk is a massive annual event, attracting thousands of walkers and raising millions for the charity. They approached me early in 2020 to create a suite of six videos for them, each aimed at a different type of supporter. They didn’t have any professionally shot footage of previous events, but they had plenty of material that people had filmed on phones, as well as professional still images. I’m a bit of a control freak, so part of me is always a bit terrified when I have to edit someone else’s footage, rather than shoot it myself or with my team. But still, there’s a lot of fun to be had finding ways of taking whatever I’m given and creating something that feels genuinely polished and professional.

The secret sauce in this particular case is my bespoke motion graphics, based on the event branding created by the charity’s design team. These give all the video content a cohesive style, even though each individual video feels distinct. As well as the one above featuring Mr Motivator, there was a video focusing on the fitness benefits, one focusing on the difference the funds raised would make, and so on. The stills, footage, copy and music were slightly different on each piece of content, to make sure it would resonate with the intended audience.

As the pandemic loomed, the event ended up being postponed til June, so I reversioned the video content with the new date. Within a few short weeks, though, it became clear that the event could not go ahead. Instead, the ‘Manchester Virtual Walk’ was born, with participants walking their own 5K route in their own time during the month of June. I went back to the existing edit and created this, the (hopefully!) final version of the video.

If you’re interested in our remote editing services, please drop us a line. For some tips and tricks for filming yourself with a phone, read this guest blog about self-shooting that I wrote for Mike Pye + Co. And of course, if you’re able to, please do join in with the Manchester Virtual Walk and support the fantastic, essential work of St Ann’s Hospice.