Post Production: 8 Tips for Editing Montages

Montages are video sequences that include a rapid succession of different images that all tend to be associated with a specific idea. Normally these montages combine many different pictures. These montages are used in film, TV and video all the time as most title sequences of films are montages. The power of the montage comes from showing many images instead of a single picture.

  1. The Narrative: You want to make sure that the images that you choose fit the narrative. You want images that start the beginning of the story, the middle and then close the end of the narrative. By separating your images into different sections you can make it very easy to choose which images you can change if you want to change certain images. Numbering things and cataloging the shots can make it very easy.
  2. The Length: Montages can go on for a long time and you want to ensure you know the correct length of your montage. Many times setting your montage to a song is a good way to determine the length. If your montage is part of a larger video then you will already have a time period to fill.
  3. Transitions: Once you have all of your pictures in the montage you can set up the different transitions between the images and clips. Many people will dissolve the images or fade between them. However, with videos you can use whip pans and other transitions. The type of the transitions you use will depend on what is available in your video editing software.
  4. Live Action: If you have live action clips then you want to shorten these down so they show exactly what you want. You do not need to include the entire clip but just the part you want. Many times highlighting a specific spot is enough to get the message across.
  5. Freezing Shots: Also, realize it is not necessary to use live action all of the time. You can blow up and freeze specific shots. Take 30 minutes of footage and choose specific frames that show what you want to convey. Many times including these freeze shots can make specific parts stand out.
  6. Pacing: The pacing and rhythm of the montage is important. News stories tend to have a fast pace with shots appearing at about 3 seconds. Depending on the length and importance of the images you can pace them accordingly.
  7. Synchronization: There are several types of synching you can use. Micro synching tends to have a clip per each beat. Mini synching is commonly used as you can adjust the speed for each of the clips or shots. Mood synching is used for suspense and tends to incorporate music and sounds.
  8. Over Editing: Many people tend to over edit and this is a problem as it will distract the viewer. Many times too many effects and transitions will cover up the images and content of the montage. There are many ways in which you can over edit. Make sure you watch your montage to ensure you have not over edited and the pace and transitions work.