In General

This time last week I was reaching the end of the long, tortuous 10 hour coach journey from Truro to Margate. I was traveling with the Cornwall U. 18s and all geared up to film and edit a football  match to be played the following day. The coach driver said that it was the worst journey he had experienced in over 25 years at the wheel. The boys were preparing themselves to play Kent FA in the 2nd round of the FA County Youth Cup.

There were no hold ups on the M25 or accidents on the A30 to bother us on the return journey and we sailed home. I had conversations with two of my fellow passengers and it wasn’t long before they both asked  the same question “How long does it take to edit a football match?” That set me thinking and, as I explained some of the strategies that I use, I felt a blog coming on in my mind. Admittedly I am putting the cart before the horse, but I will get round to writing the prequel  – “How to shoot a football match on video” – after the next football match that I film.

First things first, editing is 10 per cent keyboard shortcuts and 90% creativity – and when it comes to filming football – you really need to have played the game. In my youth, I was fortunate to have played for Wiltshire schoolboys, London University and Salisbury City in the Southern League. I know my soccer onions.

So editing is a state of mind not a bit of software or a button or short cut key to press. These  are mere tools. Editing is created in the mind –  in our heads – and transferred to the timeline via our editing tools. Part of this creativity will be evident in our ability to tell a story. That is what great video shooting and editing are all about, be it a wedding, a corporate or music video or a live football match. We’re always looking for an angle.

My football videos really took off once Dave Deacon joined me as the Piran Films commentator when we filmed Truro City. I  listen very attentively to his comments, both live (through my headphones whilst filming) and at my editing suite. I should also put out a shout  to those excellent  summarisers, who have helped me in the past; such notables as Steve Massey, Glynn Hooper, Jake Ash, Stewart Yetton, Phil Lafferty et. al). Dave tells the story of the game and the summarisers  interpret it. The visuals and the audio need to work in tandem.

Of course when one comes to edit a football match, the editing window is quite small. The players, officials and fans want to re-live the game and watch the edited highlights within 24 hours at the very latest. It all loses impact if it goes out midweek. When I filmed Truro City’s Conference South home matches, they usually went live on my website during the wee small hours of Sunday morning – ready to be watched over the bacon and eggs. So there are elements of compromise in this genre compared with corporate or wedding videos. There is little room for final finessing and I don’t go to town on the graphics.  So one has to be very methodical.

By the way, I edit on a 27″ iMac and use the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite.  My general routine is as follows:

Ingesting the footage

I connect  my Sony PMW EX1 to the computer and use Adobe Prelude to ingest my footage. This is the least complicated and creative aspect of the whole process. You set everything up, leave it to process in he background and go away and make a cup of tea or two. A football match will take around an hour for Prelude to ingest all of the files.


Uploading to Adobe Premier Pro

This is virtually instantaneous. Normally one would then, at the very least place the different files in bins. But there is not time for this or for logging the clips. We’re not making a documentary or feature film. Once in the browser, I then move all of the clips onto the timeline for sifting.


Creating Rough Edits

The next stage is to create a rough edit from the clips on the time line.  Excuse this old one and very sexist illustration, but a good edit is like a lady’s skirt – short enough to make it interesting, but long enough to cover the detail.

The first rough cut is usually of Dave Deacon, my commentator, speaking to camera and setting the scene. Dave provides some background information and brings the viewer up to date.  He generally speaks for between two and three minutes and I use around 30 seconds of the visual of Dave at the start of the rough edit and then superimpose B roll footage on top to move the story along. This will usually consist of the teams and match officials coming onto the pitch, shots of the managers and players and the toss-up. Using B roll footage to cover the rest of Dave’s monologue to camera (sync. as it is called in the profession), I am able to edit what he says – cutting out the pauses, “umms” and “errs” – and keep it succinct. This whole process can take 30 minutes or more.

The second rough cut is the first half and I scroll through the footage on the timeline and delete the clips that I am not going to use. By the time I get to this stage, Dave will have emailed over the breakdown of the match and supplied me with a list of key incidents and the timings (see below). I would have mentally logged them whilst filming and would be creating a story of the game in my head as the game unfolded. For example, in the video below, Jack Webber scored a stunning goal so, with my editing hat on, I am thinking about including some of his near misses by way of introduction to the turning point in the game. The assembly of key shots from the first half into a very rough timeline will take 45 minutes or so.

The third rough cut is the second half and I’ll follow the same pattern as for the first half. Ironically the creation of rough  scenes for both halves take as long as the game in real time.

The final rough cut is the post match interviews with the manager or players but I tend to leave this until the Sunday or Monday.


Finessing the Edit

The most enjoyable and creatively pleasing aspect is turning the assembly of rough edits into a  glossy “masterpiece” that can be uploaded for all of the world to see. Well, a few thousand over time if the game is significant and interesting. At the time of writing, my most popular football You Tube video is the 2015 FA Vase semi final first leg match between AFC St Austell and Glossop – 6.6K views. (See Mark Huckle You Tube Channel).

The first stage is to go through the rough edits and select the best clips from the game, ensuring all the time, that you’re faithfully telling the story of the game. If the clip doesn’t enhance the story it ends up on the metaphorical editing floor. The visuals need to match the audio commentary and you cut where the action stops or the commentator finishes his line. It is here, that one introduces the slow motions. This process can take over half an hour. You are always aiming for brevity. The average You Tube video will receive just over two minutes of viewing time. There is always a great drop off point the longer a video progresses. That’s why corporate videos now run from 30 seconds to about 90 seconds.

Having played around with the visuals and got the selected clips on the timeline with good continuity and avoided any jarrying, visually and audio wise, I open up Adobe Audition. This is the professional audio programme. This is where I can play around with the amplification levels of the two channels and make my commentators and summarisers clearly stand out and be heard above the noise of the crowd. I then put the audio track though Adobe Audition’s graphic equalizer to sweeten the audio track and make the voice(s) even bettter. This process can take as long as 40 minutes. By the way, in this particular illustrative video, I made a school boy error siting Dave on the gantry. The commentator’s microphone does not come with a wind jammer so the quality of the audio commentary track was adversely affected by the elements. You are only as good as your last video.

The penultimate stage of the edit of a football video is colour correction / adjustment /grading.  This includes getting the exposure right and consistent throughout.  However, the best bit is watching the images ping as one experiments with the settings within Adobe Colour (now integrated within Adobe Premier Pro). I am beginning to get my head around the use of pre-set LUTs (Looked Up Tables) and other grading software that creates a particular “look.” I have also begun to learn about storing presets so that I can apply a series of effects used in one clip to another and so on. This should reduce my time in the future. At the moment, Colour correction can take as long as two hours, but it is worth it.

This whole finessing of a football edit on the time line really distinguishes the professional editor from the rest. I  was there once – relying on my intuitive grasp of editing. Not now, after recently completing a 6 month professional online editing course entitled “Inside the Edit.” I now have the skills and knowledge to be able to edit a commercial documentary if I so wished. That is no idle boast.

The final stage is adding the titles. I use  Graphics within Premier Pro but recognise that there are others out there editing football matches using great graphics that regularly steal a march on me. This process will take around 20 minutes.


Uploading the Edit of a Football Match

This is relatively straightforward but time consuming; process  because the timeline has first to be rendered before it can be exported as an mp.4 file. You could be sitting around for 30 minutes, depending on the size of the file.

I use both You Tube and my website to promote my work. You Tube will take up to two hours to upload (oh how I need super fast broadband) and offers a good quality image these days. But of course you have no control over it and You Tube doesn’t offer much by way of analytics. When I upload to my website I use the Wistia platform, which I have found to be excellent over the years. The analytics are far superior.


Post Script

Adding up all of the above figures would suggest that the answer to the question posed  by my passengers on the return trip to Cornwall last week is around 360 minutes. Yes, it takes 6 hours to edit a football match to the quality that I wish Piran Films to be known for. That is probably why I don’t do it very often. I love the buzz of a football match but that does not help my ROI.

When I offer a quotation for filming a sports awards evening and videos to be shown on the evening, I tend to be undercut and miss out, as I did recently. The company in question went with a video production company that offered a cheaper price. I spoke with a representative of the awards company, asking what they were really looking for. The word quality was never mentioned.  In this life you generally get what you pay for. Quality comes at a price.


Dave Deacon’s Summary of the Match (Minute by minute)

2 C Josh Otto shot from right side pen area palmed over by K keeper Tom Carey
4 C GOAL : Olly Walker strolls towards an empty net to score – K defence sloppy
10 C Max Armstrong upended on right wing
11 C Corner
12 K free-kick
13 C Luke Gwillam save and then begins break for C ending in corner won
17 K Tom Barton shot from breakaway – a let off for C!
20 C Will Trew shot deflected off K’s Craig Cooley
21 C Jack Webber shot wide after attack involving Walker and Trew
28 C Gwillam save
30 C Gabe Hamshaw clears
35 C Gwillam save from Barton
35 C Archie Flack gives away free-kick
37 C George Tucker shot saved
38 K Josh Stirman beginning to look dangerous running at C defence – wins corner
38 C Walker turns and shoots
39 K YELLOW CARD – Will Palmer
40 K GOAL : Barton makes the most of Gwillam rushing out of penalty area
42 K YELLOW CARD – skipper Billy Lewins
43 C Webber effort palmed away by K keeper Carey

HALF-TIME Kent 1-1 Cornwall

48 C Trew effort
52 K Gwillam save from Barton
53 C Walker overdoes lob over advancing K keeper after put through by Flack
57 C Max Gilbert shoots forcing good late save from Carey
61 C Otto offside
62 C YELLOW CARD : Otto for late tackle on K George Porter
70 K Shot over
72 C Gilbert free-kick saved
74 C GOAL : Webber shot and roof of net. Reminiscent of last season’s v Devon
76 C Walker run at goal and save from Carey
78 K sub Dehnninger (forward) on for midfielder Riches
80 K Stirman shot over, but surely drags Armstrong to floor on way through
82 C Trew shot saved from chance after keeper miskicks clearance
87 C Walker header saved
89 C Cornwall sub George Marris on for Armstrong
90 C GOAL : Gilbert run through and shot into corner of net – cool finish
90 C Into 3 minutes of additional time and sub George Harvey on for Tucker
90 plus C Sub Max Everard on for Flack

FULL-TIME Kent 1-3 Cornwall (now meet Gloucestershire away in 3rd Round)



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