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Kessler Associates blog: Video editing

Video editing at the end of the world.

At least, that's kind of how it felt during the first lockdown in March 2020. The streets were falling silent as the worldwide pandemic took hold, but that didn't stop the work from happening here.

The slow-down meant a chance to undertake something relatively new which involved digital video editing for the large history reference site which Kessler Associates hosts and maintains: the History Files. The site was busy creating a new microsite and this would present its very first video content after over two decades of being online.

The first step was to fire up the trusty video editing software, load up the basic video file (just one file in this instance, but it's easy to play around with that, such as by cutting it into separate chunks and in-fill the gaps with photos, for example).

Kessler Associates video editing image

The single highlighted strand towards the bottom of the image above shows the combined video and sound file, plus some blank spaces to the left which is where the opening logo and titles were located. The inset image shows you where test playbacks are carried out so that you can see how the finished product will look.

There are plenty of tools to make it possible to add all the usual video tricks, such as fade in and fade out for video and soundtrack, lowering the sound volume for those lower quality recordings where the sound simply blasts out of the speakers, adding text over the video or over image stills, and quite a bit more.

Kessler Associates video editing image

Further timeline layers were added, making it possible to add closing credits (on the right-hand side of the timeline section of the image above). The soundtrack was separated from the video track to allow it to be softened and also faded out differently to the video.

The final video file was exported as an mp4 for uploading to YouTube, plus a different export for the History Files site itself, and also a webm version for anyone on a slower internet connection or who has a limited data plan. A text-based captions file was added.

The final video presents itself on the page like this (below), while also giving users the option of switching to the YouTube version if they want different playback options or a chance to see all the site's video output collected together in one place.

Kessler Associates final video image

The final video can be viewed here: American Lives: Oakland Cemetery

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