I recently decided to try my hand at editing a video essay. For my topic, I chose one of my favorite films of all time, Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain, which has been the topic of many conflicting interpretations in the past. The primary objective of the essay was just to share my thoughts on the film’s plot and to provide some other assorted thoughts on the symbolism in the film’s imagery.
I learned a lot about what it takes to edit and share a video during the process (more of that will probably come in another post). The whole thing took me probably 8 hours from conception to the point when I exported the video. A few thoughts and reflections on the process:
Knowing the source material backwards and forwards is essential – To prepare for the essay, I watched the film several times and took copious notes and timestamps to be able to access things easily.
Music is hard – I threw a few tracks from Mansell’s superlative score onto the video, but I really don’t think I did them justice. In future videos I hope to improve the way I mix the sound on these things so that it makes more sense with the structure of the essay.
Keep the clips you use from the film as short and tight as possible – Most video essays I’ve seen will cut to literally a single line from a character and then cut back to something else. In my opinion, this can be too short – sometimes, I want to luxuriate in what is going on in the original film. But I may have overshot it with this one. The scenes I use from the film may have gone on for a touch too long in a couple of instances.
I was gratified that Aronofsky saw fit to tweet the essay. I hope he found it worthy of his attention. Check out the /Film link for a bunch more discussion on this underappreciated film.