How an idea transforms into a video: Exploring Taiwan

End of January 2020 I spent three weeks travelling across Taiwan. I recently uploaded a new Youtube video which gives you an insight into this beautiful and diverse island. However, it took me a year to finally edit the footage. In this blogpost I’m gonna write about how an idea transformed into a video, what kept me from editing straight away and what the whole video editing process looked like.

I think I started editing my first videos with Windows Live Movie Maker when I was 13. My friend Alina and I used to make short music videos and upload them on Youtube. A few years later my dad bought a Lumix camera. I started filming and editing me doing my make-up (top secret) and captured some family holidays.

With time I wanted to improve the quality of the footage. A huge inspiration was Sam Kolders 2016 video, which I’ve probably watched a hundred times by now. Subsequently I decided to invest in a Lumix GH5* and DaVinci Resolve, a proper video editing software for a reasonable price two years ago. I’m very happy I put money into new technology, as it gave me more options to be creative and transform my ideas into reality. A DJI Spark drone completed my equipment. Over the past few years I’ve filmed some weddings and made a promo video for a hairdresser studio. And as you can see on my Youtube channel: I created many travel vlogs, “exploring…”-videos of the countries I visited and … my latest video about Taiwan.

The creation process of “Exploring Taiwan”

Now that you know a bit more about my journey, I want to go deeper into the creation process of this video. Before I even came to Taiwan I knew I wanted to create another “Exploring…” video. The exploring-series is supposed to give people an insight into different countries and to show their diversity. The challenge with these videos though is to find the right song, to film in a cinematic way and to give them a storyline, so that the audience wants to watch the whole video.

When I already have a song in mind, my head starts to see certain pictures and stories. This is probably the easiest starting point as the main challenge is then to take the footage and edit the video according to the story in my head.

driving through kenting nationalpark by scooter
view over ocean in kenting nationalpark

However, with Exploring Taiwan I didn’t have any song in mind, which made the whole process a bit harder. I took different shots of all places I’ve been to, hoping they would work as one video. Except for the beginning and ending scene. When I spent a night in a hostel in Tainan I came up with an idea for the start of the video: A room somewhere in Taiwan, a Taiwan travel book on a desk which suddenly comes to life – you kind of dive into the book and see Taiwan, not in pictures but in videos.

The editing process at a glance

For most of my videos, I usually follow this process:

  1. Sort all videos & remove the ones I don’t like
  2. Find the right song
  3. Put footage in order to create a storyline
  4. Add music & adjust video material
  5. Add special transitions and sound effects
  6. Color grade
  7. Finetune
  8. Watch
  9. Finetune again
  10. Publish

The first three steps are the ones that usually take up most of the time. I guess due to the fact that I didn’t have a proper song and story in my head it took me so long to finally start editing the Taiwan video. I think I first started in June, gave it another try in September and finally finished the whole video end of January. Once I had a storyline and especially a song that worked with the footage, editing almost became an addicting task. I sat there for hours and finalized the video within a few days. It was very satisfying to finally watch my piece of work and share it with the world. Summing up all hours I worked on Exploring Taiwan, it would probably be around 25 – 30 hours.

editing a video in davinci resolve

Creating videos gives me a chance to put all the ideas that are flying around in my head into reality. It’s a similar process each time, but looking back I can see an improvement with every video. I’m also glad I started at such a young age, as I enjoy watching all my creations. I got to admit though, it does make me want to go back in time every time I watch them.

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