Design’s Best Friend – Font

What is it about book covers that draws us in closer to open up to the first page – and even causes us to buy? As I walked around the book store I noticed fiction book’s had the most creative and engaging covers. I began to look around to see which books grabbed my attention most, then asking myself why?

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As I snapped some photos of the books that I was drawn to, I noticed the font choice. They were very clean, easy to read, some font’s were entertaining, or the very opposite – plain. For me – I am attracted to mysterious covers that don’t say much but are visually interesting.

It’s known that the prelude to a film sets up the tone – same can go for the font used in design. Just like the title is a critical part to the book, so is the font choice you make for your videos. It becomes the eyes to the soul. Your font is your element that requires eye contact. 

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As I’ve worked with more volunteers who come in the office to learn video editing, I am discovering knowing how to design is very important to the creation of videos. You want to connect with the viewers to watch and be engaged in what your video is saying. Design might seem like a whole different subject from editing footage and creating a story. But just like a book, the cover gets the reader to read the story inside.

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This recent year, I’ve been more strategic with my font collection. I created a personal archive on flickr of screen shots I’ve taken when I come across font’s that attract me. I also organized my font book to hold my favorite fonts, making it easier to find what I am looking for when I am designing a new video.

I would encourage you to develop your own style by discovering your style – what attracts you and why. Some create Pinterest boards but I found if everyone is pulling from the same source of inspiration – everything begins to look the same. I follow different typography artist on different platforms to keep good smart design in front of me always.

Also, take the same to learn the foundations about typography; sans serif,  serif, modern, leading, tracking, kerning, basically space and weight in and in-between letters. There are many books, on-line videos and blog post about this subject. Grow in your deep understanding about fonts and it will help you design with a purpose. Here’s a youtube video I found that gives a good understanding about the history of fonts.

A great talk about typefaces –

Some Instragram’s to follow & so many more these artist will lead you to.

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The Editor Counselor

When I meet new people usually I am the first editor they ever met. I often have to clarify I am a video editor and not an editor for writers. I find it fascinating that years later they have become video editors too. Because I am the first they ever met working in the profession, I often receive calls in the middle of the night with emergency editing issues. I’ve even met new editors here on my blog through email with not just technical questions but about becoming an editor.

The conversation usually end up going deeper than editing. We talk about freelancing, self confidences and how to deal with current work situations. My heart goes out to them when I hear about their client who is paying them very little. When working freelance we have to use our best judgement but even more important we have to learn how to talk business with confidence. Over the years dealing with all types of people for all different types of projects, I’ve gotten better at making deals where everyone leaves happy.

Communication upfront is KEY! Making the price clear, how payments will be made, due date, final format and vision. So many problems come up when things aren’t clear.

Know your worth – Before you are caught off guard with someone asking you how much you charge, know their expectations. Ask questions about the person’s budget to see what you can give them for what they want to pay. Work out the amount of hours something takes and add some padding. Usually a project will take longer than you think. Under bidding is the worse, so try to over estimate how long it will take. Ask if you can talk at a later time when you have a better idea on what you might charge.

When Free is okay – There is a time and place to do free work. Its usually when you are still a “student”. You should no longer be free after two years of editing. There is always a ton of free work out there! Its the paid jobs that you want. Once someone has you for free, they will tell their friends and family you are happy to do work for them for nothing. Watch your editing reputation. I often hear people say, “She’s good but expensive”. If you want your project done well and on time, I am your girl and yes it will cost you.

Put it in writing! – I once heard, if its not in writing it didn’t happen. Write contracts to cover your back. Send invoices with details of what the clients are paying for and receiving. Include text about extra cost for revisions, etc. Keep in mind of duplicating, dvd’s, and even hard drive space. It all depends how big your project will be.

Make sure they have money – If you have a feeling a client doesn’t have much money, don’t risk doing business with them. I once did a job where I over heard a conversation that things were tight. I should have asked if the project was something they could afford. I completed the project and never got paid. The client said he wasn’t happy with it and not willing to do revisions to fix things. I didn’t have anything in writing, I was too shy to talk business and I wasted my time and effort.

Beware of the difficult cheap client – There will always be that client that is very picky and cheap. Do business with them at your risk but know this person will try to get the most out of you for very little money in return. If you pick up that the client is going to be difficult, over bid the job to turn them off. If they are willing to pay, well then maybe it will be worth it after all.

Deal with the issues and move on – If you are freelancing your client may want more and more. If you failed on your end to communicate extra cost of additions, take the bullet, make the change and fix the issues and move on. Don’t bother fighting it. If the client isn’t happy at the end, they’re not gonna wanna pay you.

Test your final product – If its a DVD, see if it plays on your player. Watch your final product. Don’t be lazy to fix your audio or jump cuts. Have someone else read your text to check your spelling.

Try to remain a good relationship with your client – You want them to refer you to others and hire you for more work in the future. The customer isn’t always right but let them think they are. Make them happy.

No matter what you’ll always have some freelance issue. If you learn how to do the business part well then you can focus on the creative part of the project.

Freelancing is differently a skill. What have you learned over the years?

A Video Critique

The best part of having a blog is meeting people. I love getting email from dreamers, editors, visionaries and artist. Mandy emailed me with a few questions about editing. The cool thing is that she took my advice and reworked her video. Her second version looked like a whole different event.

After watching her first version, I emailed her back with a few tips:

The thing to learn is your equipment, the better you know what it does the better your footage will be. Remember focus is important on your shots and try to keep your motion smooth if you are going handheld and moving one place to another.
Know what you want to focus on in your framing.
Also don’t be shy about getting in to people’s faces and asking them to smile. What is happening on stage is just half of what is taking place, the crowd’s reaction will make great cut-aways when you are going to the next shot. You are making your viewer a part of the experiences.
Use the higher number of lens (70-200mm) on a tripod to get some close-ups.
As for sound, if you are filming for a church or venue, see if the sound guy can give you a copy of the mix they are recording, sometimes you can get the clean mix and then sync it up later.
The length of a video is everything. Keep the rhythm and story flowing. Captivate the viewer. You need what is called “a ramp”: For your recap video you can build up to the concert, people saying, “I can’t wait…” “I’m excited…”, then transition to the stage, the crowd going crazy, you can add a clip of someone saying something inspiring, pick up the pace at the end either with the soundtrack or editing to end with a bang. The over all point: People’s lives are being changed, they are connecting with God.
As the editor you are taking the viewer on the same journey that would have happened if they were there in the crowd. The excitement, the experience and the impact.
Your video is full of great footage but now make it in to a story that will change lives!

Here are a few questions she asked me:

1. Do you create a timeline/storyboard for every project you do..or is it more experimenting with clips and seeing what comes of it?

I create a timeline for videos that require me to hit certain points. It keeps the video on track. I create scripts when important information has to be given and a story board for animation. If you are the only one working on the video then its your job to be very strategic. Know the purpose of the project. Close your eyes and play the video in your mind.

2. Do you choose the song first and work around it, or do you work out some footage, then choose a song?

Sometimes a song inspires a video and you know exactly what you want. Most of the time finding the right soundtrack can take time. Music is powerful. It carries emotions and feelings, knowing what vibe you want to give will help bring out your vision.
Before I start editing I like to find the type of song I want, if I am getting a song created then I show the composer what I am looking for. When the track is finished I swap the soundtrack and re-edit the sequence to match better.

3. Is there such a thing as recording too much footage? or the more the better?

Yes and no. Too much footage can waste time looking through it, but not having enough can leave the editor in need of more. The key is quality. You can have hours of footage but if there isn’t one single shot that could be used then its useless. As an editor I prefer to shoot my footage only because I know what I want. But if someone else is shooting then I have a conversation with them and tell them what I want. I also remind them to hold their shots three seconds before and after. Having a shot list is handy. Sometimes the hype of shooting can cause a person to forget what they need to get. I like to mark things off as I go. Then once I have everything, I shot random stuff or give the footage to the editor or capture it.

4. If you don’t have footage you need, how do you work around it?

If I don’t have footage that I need then I look for stock footage, photos, film something abstract or plan to create some motion graphics.

5. I saw in an interview where you said that when you worked with Hillsong Australia…if there was one uninteresting shot, you had to start all over again. Is that a good rule of thumb? start over from scratch if the video’s not working?

When I was at Hillsong they taught me the value of a frame. Each frame matters, each frame is with full intent, nothing is random. If a video isn’t working then starting over helps but it probably just needs to be re-worked. There are some videos where I have different version. The great thing about editing digital is that you can try out many things but beware of wasting time or over working a project.

Well that was a video critique. Know that more than anything be yourself, edit, have fun, learn, ask questions, if you make mistakes, learn from them, and stay humble. One thing I do know is that I don’t know everything. 🙂

Video Editing with FCPX & God

My twitter friend from Australia shared a video with me about the new updated editing software FCPX.
As I watched the demo and listened to this editor explain the new software, I became excited at the new program and was no longer concern with what everyone else was saying about it.
I was now forming my own opinion.
This made me think of how people react to God. (Yes Im making this deep, haha) There are misconceptions about Him. We’ve listened to others opinions, never really checking Him out our self. A change in life style (or editing software) would mean we will have to break old habits, learn how to do things, and forget our old ways. Some complain that living for God means the party of life is over but in fact so much life is found in Him. Editors were so busy listening to what the software couldn’t do that we didn’t listen to what it can do.

And that concludes this editing devotion haha Here is the video to check out yourself. What do you think about fcpx? or better yet.. What do you think about God?

Photography is Video’s Friend

The reason why I got in to photography was to help with my video work. Before photography came in to my life, my video shots were random, shaky, and slopping.  My color grading was horrible. I didn’t know what to look for when adjusting colors in after effects. Here is a screen capture of one of the first videos I did at the Rock Church.

I’ve been learning about photography and color correcting for the past three years. I edit my photos in Lightroom and love the set up. I’ve been reading up on color correcting and been collecting color graded videos that I like to keep as color reference.

I recently filmed a wedding with my Canon 7D, and today I edited it together. I am now color grading it in After Effects and for the first time I know what to adjust to give me the color that I want.

It feels great to know all the work I’ve been putting in to photography has made me a better camera operator, video editor, and color corrector. I highly encourage you to put in the good work in your craft. One day you will have a moment where you see how far you’ve come along. You can read my post on how to color grading here.

Video Editing Mom

People has often asked me if I will still work when I have children. Though this is a normal question to ask a young girl, I know they were asking because they know I love video editing. I tell them that I will put my child on my back like the moms in Africa and edit.

My nephews were visiting me today and I decided I would test drive having a baby in my hand while being on the computer. Here is a video of me being silly with my baby nephew, Jacob.


For Your Very Own Pleasure


There are so many opportunities than any ever before to be creative and make a living out of it. This is the generation that can finally work in the creative field and feed their family too. Its an exciting time but also it can be a dangerous thing for the heart of a creative person. Its so easy to get caught up in make money that you forget the love of photography, video editing, writing, cooking, whatever it may be that you love to do.

May the motivation not be a dollar but for your very own pleasure. You’re worth it and your art is worth it.You will find happiness once again in your work. And if you haven’t gotten to the point of being paid for what you love to do, then may I remind you it is possible and not to give up. The world needs you to do that thing that you are good at.

Enjoy your work, and enjoy life.

David, my nephew, never fails to remind me of this.

Basic Editing : Equipment & DSL Cameras VS DV Tapes Video

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I’ve been having a lot of friends ask me to teach them how to edit. Editing is diffidently a learning process and it involves  many elements . In this video I give a crash course to a few guys from church.

This short video is about some basic video editing equipment as well as discussing the pros and cons of using a digital SLR camera.

More basic editing videos to come.

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Film Management

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Every week the team and I create videos for the weekend. We also create special event videos for conferences.  With that, comes lots of files to manage. I’ve often gotten the question, “How do you file manage?”

Well here are some tips that work best for me. First NEVER leave anything UNTITLED! When you are capturing, ALWAYS NAME YOUR CLIP, if you don’t this, it will bite you in the butt, I promise. So from this point on, name every file. Also, don’t save everything to your desktop! It will run your computer slow, and you will lose files in the process. The only time its okay to save something to your the desktop if you are in a rush and have to export something right away cause you have 5 minutes to load it up on to the screens!

Oh right, here we go.

Categories: Your main folders.


Numbering your folders will give you control on how the files are stacked up. The colors will help your eyes navigate through your folders faster.

1: Announcements: Every week I create the announcements, so this folder is the most used.

2: Projects: All other projects I put in here which has sub-folders. We will get to that in a bit.

3. Elements: This folders is full of my overlays, stock footage, tutorial I downloaded, gradients I created, etc. I often use these elements for many projects. It’s the box of tricks.

4: Final Cut Pro Doc: I set my Final Cut Pro scratch disk here. Also my AE RAM folder is here too. It’s now at an easy location to get to. I often delete audio saves of old projects, old renders, and old captures to save space. (Make sure you WILL never need that footage again before you delete it, or have it backed up on tape.)

5: MB: I have a personal folder to place random things I create.

6: Monica File Share: This is a folder that I tell the other editors to connect to through the church network to grab videos or voice overs that I have for them or to give me their completed videos. They can connect to my computer at any time.

7: Scripts: I use the same scripts often for repeating projects, so having them all in one locations instead of with the project folder helps me find what I am looking for faster.

8: Pictures: All my photography photos are in this one folder.

01 Announcements:

– Everything is named by date. I also have a FCP temp file that has the same set up that I open every week and do a save as.

Having an EXPORT folder allows you to place all your completed versions in one area.

02 Projects:

– I name everything differently. I name by ministry or event.

-Each ministry has its own folder with

-Audio folder

-Render Folder

-Image Folder (specific images only. For common images such as overlays, those will go in the element folder)

-You can see the FCP file along with the AE file.

-The AE auto saves creates a folder where ever the AE file is at.

Big Events

When more than one video is required.

-I place numbers next to my folder so it can be organized. As you can see some have the same number. I did that so videos can be next to each other that of the same “family”. All the videos that will be put in the conference announcements have the same number. All the building pieces such as images, audio, scripts, renders also have the same numbers.

When you look inside the specific project folder you will see that folder the project is broke up in to parts:

Audio, Exports, Images, Renders.

I encourage you to learn how to categorize your files the best way that works for you. This will help you save time when you are looking for something and will also help others who work with you to navigate through your files. Customize your computer for you, I placed all my most visited folders on the side bar. Its great.

Hope you got some ideas.

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How to Reconnect Media in Final Cut

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An editors worst fear is to watch their video with an audience and see a MEDIA OFF LINE clip. I’ve seen it happen to the best of us. There was once a time I didn’t know how to reconnect my media with grace, I used to panic at the sight of a bright red MEDIA OFF LINE. Media off line happens when your main clips are moved, renamed, or deleted. If they aren’t deleted then there is hope, other wise you will have to recapture the deleted clips.

Here are two ways to Reconnect your media in Final Cut Pro.

1. You are able to reconnect more than one clip. Select all the media offline clips and right click on to “Reconnect Media.”

2. If you like you can select all your missing clips in your Browser window. You can select clips that aren’t next to each other by pressing command on your keyboard and selecting with your mouse.

3. You again select all your missing clips and right click >Reconnect Media.

4.Now you see the Reconnect Files window. You can Locate the folder where all your clips are and hit choose. It will not only reconnect that one clip you are directing but all the other media that are in the folder.

5. Or Search for the name of your clip. If you change the name of the clip you are trying to reconnect, you can un-check “Matched Name and Reel Only”, then it will let you connect your clip with it’s new name.

6. Hit Chose and it will connect all the other found clips.

7. You can also change the default location FCP searches in where it says Search Single Location, click on the pull down menu and it will give you the option to add a search location or you can direct it to the hard drive you are work from.

Now your media is connected and all your hard work won’t be over looked by the dreadful media offline clips.

Every editor has to start somewhere, keep working hard and learning.

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FCP TIP: Changing 4×3 to 16×9 //Anamorphic// Custom Column Layout

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How to change 4×3 footage to 16×9 (Anamorphic)? How do I create my own column layout?

If you haven’t captured your footage yet, scroll down to the bottom to find out how to prevent this issue.

So this is the most asked question I get. I actually remember when I didn’t
know the answer, it was 2003 and I was in Australia, a hot guy who I was teaching video to asked me, I had to act fast in order to impress him. And I did, figure out how to change the aspect ratio, not impress him. He thought I was a geek.

Here we go. ONE WAY:
Command Zero or Settings>Sequence Settings.


change 4x3 footage to 16x9 (Anamorphic)
change 4x3 footage to 16x9 (Anamorphic)

4×3 is hardly used, it was once the standard TV screen  and projector size. But now everyone has a widescreen TV, projector, or web video. There are two ways that I use to  change my video from 4×3 to 16×9.

change 4x3 footage to 16x9 (Anamorphic)
change 4x3 footage to 16x9 (Anamorphic)

You can double click on your footage in the time line and it opens up in your VIEWER window. Click on the MOTION tap and go down to your ASPECT RATIO.

change 4x3 footage to 16x9 (Anamorphic)
change 4x3 footage to 16x9 (Anamorphic)

There you see the number 33.3, well change it to 0.

change 4x3 footage to 16x9 (Anamorphic)
change 4x3 footage to 16x9 (Anamorphic)

You might have to re-drop it in your time line if it hasn’t already changed.

In your BROWSER window you can check mark the ANAMORPHIC.

change 4x3 footage to 16x9 (Anamorphic)
Column Layout

Your can add the ANAMORPHIC option to your BROWER window by right clicking on the title bar.

change 4x3 footage to 16x9 (Anamorphic)
Column Layout

There you will see a list of options, you will see ANAMORPHIC. Pick the information you will use often, then save it where it says SAVE COLUMN LAYOUT. Then next time you can chose LOAD COLUMN LAYOUT and it will bring it up.  I have ANAMORPHIC/DESCRIPTION/SCENE/SHOT TAKE / REEL/ LAST MODIFIED on my column layout which I named MB.

Column Layout
Column Layout

To prevent this drama, just set your capture settings to Anamorphic if you are capturing DV.

Capturing DV
Capturing DV

Adjust your setting accordingly, if you pull down the menu it will give you some standard setups. You can even create your own. You can find this out in one of my future Rookie Tutorials //How to capture DV & HDV

Capturing DV
Capturing DV

Don’t let anyone know you are a video rookie. Look professional and pretend you know what you are doing or to save time google the question.

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