How to Create Continuity When Using Stock Footage
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Creating continuity is an essential aspect of video production. Here are three ways to make sure that continuity in using inventory is maintained.

When I was editing a music video a few years ago, I faced a dilemma. I had received footage that was to be edited and combined into a scene. However, because the footage was shot over two days, there were significant differences between the appearance of some of the footage.

One of the days the weather was cloudy. This produced some nice, shadow-free images. However, the sun was shining the other day, so sharp shadows were visible on the faces of the video.

It was unfortunate, but nothing could be helped. Due to time constraints, the team had no choice but to take photos in these contrasting lighting conditions. And despite my best editing efforts, I couldn't create a strong sense of continuity. The illusion that everything was a scene was shaken.

Create a sense of continuity

It's important to create a sense of continuity from one scene to the next. Image about creative travel projects.

Creating continuity is an essential aspect of video production. Many productions have a script supervisor whose job it is to maintain continuity during a shoot. They track numerous details with the help of photos and a lot of paperwork, take into account the many factors in the scene, and keep detailed records of camera positioning, lighting configurations and other technical details. If this is done successfully, footage taken months apart can be side by side in a scene without the viewer noticing.

However, due to the complexity of production, continuity errors are still more common than you think. It can really be anything, and it is usually something insignificant – the length of a cigar at the level of a drink. But occasionally they're more noticeable – like a change in the main character's appearance.

There are so many factors that come together to create a production. This is why continuity errors can occur so easily. Productions are seldom shot in the order in which the last piece is edited. They're usually messy too, as they are moving parts. Tight budgets or tight schedules can mean that things have to move faster than ideal. As a result, these small errors can occur.

However, continuity on smaller, non-written productions can be much easier. It's more about conveying a sense of cohesion within a piece, connecting each take to the next, and preventing anything that might pull your audience out of the moment.

Integration of stock footage, images and music

With travel, safety, and budget concerns raised by the COVID-19 pandemic, more video professionals than ever are relying on stock footage to substantiate their projects.

It is difficult to create a sense of consistency when using footage because the footage is often shot with different cameras and different image profiles in different lighting conditions. Of course, you cannot control these elements. So you have to be innovative in order for your footage to flow.

Definitely worthwhile to really look for material that matches your existing footage, even if it takes some perseverance. Do your best to coordinate things like lighting, time of day, and weather conditions. If you can get close, you can make it work.

Build continuity with stock footage

I downloaded the following clips using the Shutterstock extension for FCPX, which made working with stock footage quick and painless. Once it's downloaded and installed, just open up FCPX and a new icon will appear as shown below.

FCPX: Shutterstock extension

After FCPX opens, click the Shutterstock icon.

Clicking the icon will bring up a window that will allow you to browse the Shutterstock library and download your selected shots directly into your FCPX library.

FCPX: Shutterstock Library

Download your selected recordings from the Shutterstock library to your FCPX library.

All you have to do is click the download icon and the preview of these clips will be automatically added to the event of your choice.

FCPX: Download your shot

click download So that the preview is added to the event of your choice.

You can also license the clips through the extension so that you can add the high resolution versions of the footage while you are within an interface. Working this way has greatly improved the efficiency of my workflow. (For your information, Shutterstock has a few other plugins and extensions, including one for Premiere Pro.)

Now let's look at three ideas that will help me build continuity in using stock clips.

First, here is the video we're going to fix. It contains some original footage, some stock footage, and some fairly obvious continuity errors.

Idea 1: mailbox

The key to these ideas is to create an element of the video that every shot has in common to make the cuts between shots far less noticeable. If you apply a mailbox to the entire video, it gives a sense of identity throughout rather than appearing as multiple disjointed shots. It's a stylistic choice, but if it fits your video it can be helpful.

Idea 2: degree of color

Differences in brightness, contrast, and saturation between images can be problematic when using stock footage. Sometimes there are certain throws on certain shots that can make them stand out from those on either side.

You can try to minimize these differences in appearance during the color correction phase of editing. You can also give them a stylized touch for a better sense of connection. Occasionally, however, they still look disjointed even after your efforts.

One way to neutralize these differences is to view all clips in black and white. I did this in the following video. Now all recordings have the note and the mailbox in common.

Idea 3: sound effects

Using a sound effect that runs under all clips can create a sense of consistency. In this video, I used a general outdoor ambient sound effect that reflects the hustle and bustle of these clips. It definitely helps in making one clip flow well on the next.

No, you are a stock footage professional. Here are some more tips, tricks, techniques, and hacks to help you grow as a video editor:

Cover picture about Samot.

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