Found Footage Filmmaking: Make Great Videos with a Camera | Penny Lane | Skillshare

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Found Footage Filmmaking: Make Great Videos with a Camera

teacher avatar Penny Lane, Filmmaker

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      The Power of Found Footage


    • 3.

      Understanding Your Footage


    • 4.

      Safely Sourcing Your Footage


    • 5.

      Developing Your Story


    • 6.

      Exercise: Pick Three Words


    • 7.

      Editing Styles


    • 8.

      Choosing Your Clips


    • 9.

      Starting Your Edit


    • 10.

      Refining Your Video


    • 11.

      Final Thoughts


    • 12.

      Bonus: Watch Penny's Video


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About This Class

With access to the vast world of online video, every creative person has the tools to be a filmmaker—no camera or crew required!

Why make new images when so many already exist? Join award-winning nonfiction filmmaker Penny Lane to discover a fun and freeing approach to making movies: working with found footage. Penny never really liked operating a camera, so instead she developed a unique approach to storytelling that transforms existing content—from historical archives to YouTube videos—into innovative and irreverent films. 

Now, she’s sharing what she’s learned so you can do the same. From sourcing to editing, Penny guides you through best practices, tips, and techniques to craft original stories using entirely existing footage. 

Each lesson explores a different aspect of found footage filmmaking, including how to:

  • Unlock your creativity by working within constraints
  • Discover untold stories all around you, from newsreels to reality TV
  • Make familiar footage your own while respecting the original context
  • Edit using simple steps in Adobe Premiere, or your program of choice

Plus, you’ll join Penny in the studio to work through a hands-on exercise—assembling a short film out of found clips—with plenty of creative problem solving and laughter along the way. 

Whether you’re a movie buff looking for a fun weekend project or an experienced filmmaker curious about a fresh format, Penny’s approach will open up a whole new way to express your creativity. Sharpen your storytelling, expand your editing skills, and make any video you can imagine—like the world of found footage, the possibilities are endless!


All you need to follow along is a computer and your video editing software of choice. New to video? Check out the Projects & Resources tab for links to recommended free editing programs.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Penny Lane



Penny Lane has been making award-winning, innovative nonfiction films for over a decade. Her most recent feature documentary Hail Satan? was released by Magnolia Pictures in 2019. Her three previous feature documentaries are The Pain of Others (2018), Nuts! (2016) and Our Nixon (2013).

The Pain of Others premiered at Rotterdam and went on to Sheffield and BAMcinemaFest. Nuts! premiered at Sundance where it won a Special Jury Prize for Editing. Our Nixon premiered at Rotterdam, won the Ken Burns Award for “Best of the Festival” at Ann Arbor, and was selected as the Closing Night Film at New Directors/New Films.  

In 2018 Penny was honored with the Vanguard Award at SF DocFest, a Chic... See full profile

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1. Introduction: As an artist, you get to choose your constraints. If you're a poet, you decide what form of a poem you want to write. I think that working with found footage is a fun constraint. My name is Penny Lane. I'm an independent filmmaker and today's class is about working with found footage to inspire creativity. Found footage is just someone else's footage. It's a common misconception that to be a film maker, you have to be someone that loves holding a camera and loves looking at the world through a lens. You don't actually have to be that kind of person to be a really good filmmaker. There's so much out there to work with. There's whole history of images that stretches back millennia, there's libraries full of images, there's whole movie collections, there's YouTube, and the whole wide world of Internet video. It just feels to me like an exciting frontier. Today's class will cover different types of found footage and different ways to edit found footage once you've gotten it and we have an exercise that we'll do that we'll put all that together into a fun video. Whether you're a beginning filmmaker or a career filmmaker, this is a good class to take if you're looking to sharpen your editing skills, if you're looking for just a creativity prompt, you can get into this process very quickly and get out very quickly and feel like you've had a little creative breakthrough. You don't have to have facility, you don't have to have a camera person. You can just have an editing program and access to the Internet. Thank you for joining this class, let's get started. 2. The Power of Found Footage: Welcome to this class on found footage filmmaking. There's this common assumption that filmmaker and camera person are at the same job, and that's really not true. Your job as a filmmaker is to work with and manipulate images. It doesn't really matter if you create the images yourself or if you find them in the world. Either way, you can still be a great filmmaker, and that's what this class is all about. Some people when they hear the term found footage, jump right away to a certain type of horror film or horror filmmaking where the images are like fake found footage, like The Blair Witch Project, or Paranormal Activity, or Cloverfields. But that's not what we mean at all in today's class. In today's class, we will use the term found footage to mean any footage that exists already in the world, footage that you find. Learning to work with found footage is a really good thing to do for really any type of filmmaking that you're involved with. Obviously, it's a big part of documentary filmmaking. Some examples are Apollo 11 which is all made up of NASA footage, or Amy which is a collection of mostly home movies of the singer Amy Winehouse, or Senna which is this like action-packed race car movie. It could be the basis for a music video or an advertisement. I often use it for pitch reels. So if you haven't had the opportunity to film your film yet but you're looking for funding, you can find material that is like the footage that you plan to shoot and cut a pitch reel together with that. You can use it for research, or it can just be for fun, like to unlock a little creative block that you're feeling. I think the first thing to say about making art in general is that you are in charge of your own constraints. You decide what the rules are, and then they can be completely arbitrary, the rules. They don't need to be meaningful or logical. You just make up some rules and you apply them. Then the more you stick to those rules, almost the better because then you're forced to solve problems along the way. If you just say, I'm going to make a movie and you don't make any rules, there's no way to make the movie. You have to choose all the different rules that you're going to follow. Well, that might be a topic, or a theme, or a style. But it also could be a list of rules that you apply, like a poet or anyone else. I always use poetry as example because poetry just seems so hard, because it is, like you have these really strong constraints that you have to work under. These constraints are your friends. You can't just do this, you have to go like [inaudible] , and then once you get down to this, you might have a work of art. So found footage filmmaking is just a couple of rules that you're applying that force you to be creative. So the great thing about this class is you don't really need a lot of materials to get started. You don't need to have a story in mind, you don't need to know what you want to make, and you don't even need any equipment. You just need access to editing software and an Internet connection. So the first lesson is really understanding your footage. There are many different types of found footage. The next lesson is finding your story, figuring out what you want to do with your footage. Then finally, we'll cover three different strategies of editing that you might apply to your footage. Today's class will be really a creativity prompt. It could lead to a really cool finished video, or it could just be a sketch for you to get some ideas going. The really fun part is that at the end of this class, you'll be able to upload a video into the project gallery and also view the projects of other people who have taken the class. That is really the most fun part because it's such a specific exercise that I'm teaching today that it will seem like it's a paint by numbers. But then if you look at the other people's projects, you'll see it's like not that at all. I will reference several of my own films in this class, including Our Nixon, Nuts, and Normal Appearances. We'll also link to those films if you want to check any of them out. So let's start with understanding your footage. 3. Understanding Your Footage: Found footage is obviously a really big category. There are lots of different types of found footage, and understanding what type of footage you're working with is really important in this process. The most important thing to understand about found footage is that it was already authored by someone else. So this set of images that you're working with were created by someone else for a different reason than the reason that you're now working with them. This is the single most important thing. So when you take preexisting material and you start to rework it in your own way, you're essentially dancing with an original author in an original context and there are always going to be elements of those images that come from that original author and that original context. If you can't wrap your mind around that, you won't know what to do with these images. The first type of found footage I want to talk about is archival. Everyone knows what an archive is. It's any collection of material. It tends to be more formal or institutional, think libraries or the basements of libraries, but really, you could say any collection that has a boundary around it could be an archive. Archival images tend to be more about history. Ken Burns is a really good example of an archive heavy filmmaker, and traditionally, what we mean by archive is a physical location. It's a place you go to do research. We have this assumption now that everything that exist is on the Internet, or at least reference to everything that exist is on the Internet and that's really not true. Most archives, very little of their collection will be searchable online. Even the Library of Congress has an online finding aid but at any given moment, maybe 10 percent of their collection has been digitally recorded. It's always changing, they get new material all the time and it takes time to process it. So just because you search a collection online does not mean they don't have what you're looking for. You need to pick up the phone or even better, go in person to the archive, make friends with the archivist, and they will help you find your material. Mass media, popular media is a good source for found footage as well. Again, the same way that archival images lend themselves to thinking about history, popular media images lend themselves to thinking about popular media. If you show clips from Happy Gilmore, then we're going to think about Adam Sandler and Adam Sandler's movies and what they mean to us or don't mean to us and so all that baggage comes with it. That's just something to think about when you're using popular media images. Whether those images are recognizable to people, will carry a lot of meaning with it. For example, when I made Normal Appearances, my interest was in a particular type of woman's gesture, adjusting her clothes when she is feeling uncomfortable. I could've found that footage from anywhere, but I really liked putting it in the world of the bachelor because I felt it really heightened the sense of self-consciousness of being looked at. That wouldn't have been the same way if I had used images from a scripted Hollywood film because you don't have that same sense of self-consciousness in the footage. Reality TV images come with their own baggage, TV commercials come with their own baggage, and again, this is all part of just understanding what your footage is saying, whether you know it's saying it or not. Another interesting category of found footage is personal footage. Maybe it's your own home movie collection or someone else's home movie collection, or someone else's collection of logs on YouTube. Those images come from an amateur author, we're not talking about personal images that are in the popular culture, we're talking about some more private images. They tend to be more obscure, a little harder to understand in a sense like if you've ever looked at someone else's home movies, you understand that you don't really know what's going on in them. They have a lot of meaning for someone else but often that meaning is hard to discern if you're not the author. You could do really interesting things with someone else's home movies. I made an entire documentary of someone else's home movies. But again, it has a certain kind of character that comes with it that you need to be thinking about when you're using it. Another kind of common misunderstanding is that all found footage is "stock footage," and it's really not the case. We've been talking about archival images or pop culture images or personal archival images, all of which have very specific qualities that come with them when you're working with it. Stock footage is meant to be invisibly authored. Stock footage is neutral. You can go on Getty or on any of these stock footage websites and look through the material and it's really meant to seamlessly integrate with whatever you're working on. If you're making a commercial or a film, and let's say you need a skyline shot of New York City and you don't have the budget to hire a helicopter to take you up to get a skyline shot of New York City, you can go to a stock footage website or a stock footage house and pay a little bit of money and have a very professional looking New York City skyline shot that's shot in a way that's supposed to seamlessly integrate with whatever you're making, whether it's a documentary or commercial or music video. I think a big mistake is that people try to use something like a home movie or images from a movie, a popular film, as stock footage. They're trying to ignore the original context in the original authorship of the image and they can't figure out why it's not working. It's because a home movie, the camera is shaking because the person doesn't really know how to shot and that kind of quality comes with it so when you try to force it to be stock footage doesn't quite work. Understanding the original context and authorship of the imagery is really important to unlocking what you could do with it next. 4. Safely Sourcing Your Footage: We won't be going into depth about the legal considerations of working with found footage in this class, but here are a few things that you should know. One is that every image that is created is automatically copyrighted. Everything, like every text message you write is automatically copyrighted. If you take a snap on your iPhone, it's copyrighted. You don't have to go to an office and register a copyright. But the flip side of that is, there's something called fair use. This is an exemption that's built into the copyright code to encourage creativity and encourage the production of new creative works. If we couldn't get around copyright law, you couldn't do anything. Another common misconception is that if you employ the fair use exemption that you're somehow getting away with something, that you should feel guilty, that is not true at all. The fair use exemption is there in the copyright code to encourage the creation of creative work. So if you're using fair use, that's good, that's a good thing. So I'm not a lawyer, and before you ever go out in the world and try to sell something you make with found footage, you will consult a lawyer. In the meantime, some considerations for a fair use case would be the nature, and character, and purpose of your use. So what is it that you're making? Are you making a commercial? Are you making an educational film? Are you making an independent film? That's going to factor in. Another thing to consider in a fair use evaluation would be, what is it that you're using? Are you making use of images that are widely disseminated? Are they private? Are they popular images? So the third thing that you'd want to look at when you're making a fair use case is a really big one. It has to do with how much of the original worker you're using. If you take an entire film and you just copy it and sell it on the street corner, that's not a very good fair use case. But if you're taking a small portion of an original work and you're reusing it in a new work, then that's a much better case. Then the fourth consideration for fair use case is really about, are you effecting that original author's ability to make a living? So if this is a person who makes music for the purpose of licensing it to make a living and you're taking that music and not paying for it, you are having an impact on their ability to make a career. So that really does matter, because again, the purpose of copyright law is to protect the original authors so that they are incentivized to make new work, but also to protect you so that you are incentivized to make new work. So it really is a balancing act between you the author, and the original author of the material. If you're working with material that is licensed by, let's say, a stock footage company or an institution like a news archive, and the purpose of that news archive is to license material, or the purpose of that stock footage house is to license material and you're making a fair use claim on their material, then that's not a very strong claim. But if you are using, for example, material that someone is sharing for free on YouTube and they are encouraging people in the video to share this image wide and they're not asking for payment, then that's also a pretty good case. We'll link to some resources to help you sort out which category of copyright your images fall under. Public domain images are images that are not protected by copyright, that are available for free for anyone to use. Some examples of public domain material would be material that was created by the government. Since the government works for us, we do have copyright-free access to material that they create. So that includes things like NASA, the White House, and also a lot of older material is public domain material because the copyright on it has expired. So public domain material is free and clear, you don't have to worry about licensing it or paying for it, anything like that. For this class, this is not something you need to be worrying about. No one's going to knock on your door and arrest you for downloading a YouTube video for your Skillshare video. Really want to stress that you should not let copyright law discourage you creatively. If you stopped and thought about every law, every step along the way, if you were really a lawyer about it, you wouldn't make anything. So the best thing to do is to chase your creativity and be free with what you're doing. If you get to the point where you're actually going to be selling your work, then think about it then, don't think about it now. So the next lesson is about finding your story. This is really about whether you're going into found footage with a story you already know you want to tell, or you're going into the found footage looking for a story. These are two different paths you can take. They're both great, and I do both all the time. 5. Developing Your Story: If you already have a story that you know you want to tell, One way of working with found footage is to go looking for found footage to support that story. The example from my own work that I would use is my second feature documentary called Nuts. With Nuts, I had read a book about a historical figure named John Brinkley, and I went out into the world looking for archival material to help me tell that story. The counterexamples that would be my first feature documentary Our Nixon. With Our Nixon, it was the discovery of a certain group of home movies that inspired the entire film and I found the story for the film in the archive itself. Neither one of these is better or worse. It's just a matter of thinking through what you're really using the archive for, discovery or for illustration. If you're into this kind of thing, you can walk into an archive with an open mind and walk out with 100 stories that no one else is already fighting over because it's not in the newspaper today. There are filmmakers who really engage with the world through their camera. They walk around with a camera and they find stories that way and this is really similar. You can walk into an archive with an open mind and find a story. Whichever method you choose, obviously you still want to stay open-minded. I might have a story I already want to tell, but the type of archival material I find will help me shape what that story is and vice versa. At some point when I was making Our Nixon, yes, I had been initially inspired by this particular group of home movies, but at a certain point, I didn't know what story I wanted to tell and I did another layer of archival storytelling to fill that in. If you're working in a nonfiction context, if you're making a documentary, the problem of archival storytelling is very clear. You either can find material that exist or you can't, somebody they record that event or they didn't. It can be very limiting and you do have to be willing to let your story be constrained by the availability of material. Similarly, again, just with any other film, it can be hard to know when to stop looking. You can search for archival material for years and years and years and continue to amass material but at some point you have to stop, just like you have to stop shooting. With this class, the exercise that I'm giving you is not about illustrating a story you already have. You do not need to have a story in mind, we will find a story through the process. 6. Exercise: Pick Three Words: So let's actually start this exercise. The first thing you need to do is to empty your mind of any preconceived ideas about what you're about to do. What you're going to need to do is ask someone to give you three random words. In fact, maybe you guys can give me some random words. Papaya. Explosion. Franchise. So I have papaya, explosion and franchise. So those are my three words. We're going to use those three words as search terms on YouTube. So what you'll do is you'll start with the first word. So in my case that's papaya, and you'll search the word papaya in the research bar and you'll start scrolling through the results. You can only choose one video for each word. So choose carefully. Look for something that has some intrinsic interest to you, something that catches your eye, something that has a lot of different elements, you can imagine reusing in different ways or really just anything just to get started. You can always change your mind later. Search the first word choose one results, search the second word choose one result and search the third word and choose one results. So now you should have three videos that you can use in your edit and then we will go through different ideas about what you might do with that stuff. We'll cover different editing techniques, different considerations, how to understand your footage and how to make something new. The final rule that you need to know for this exercise is that you're only working with material in these three videos. You're not going to import any music, you're not going to bring it any more footage, you can only work with sounds and images that you find in these videos. Maybe you can make an exception for some titles. So now you'll get your three words you'll go, search for your three words on YouTube, download your videos and I'll see you in the next lesson. 7. Editing Styles: Now we're going to talk about some very common editing styles that you might want to use with found footage. There are infinite editing styles you could use but these are three of the most common. Again, this really has to do with understanding the footage that you're working with. Part of understanding your footage is understanding what type of relationship you want to have with the original author in the original context, the material. The first editing style is very common if you've ever seen a documentary, I call it illustration. You could also call it standard B-roll. This is really like hear a dog, see a dog, right? So I say, my narrator says it's 1917 in New York City, and you cut to some archival footage that looks like New York City in 1917. It's really that straightforward. It's not meant to call attention to itself as its own work of art, it's really just there to support the story you're telling. That's why we call it illustration. We won't be doing much of that in this exercise. There is an ethical dimension to this decision though, because if you're saying with your narrator it's 1917 in New York City, and you're showing an image that actually isn't New York City or maybe it's not 1917 but it looks something like the thing you're thinking of, you do have to think about that choice. It's not that you can't do that, many filmmakers do, most filmmakers too, but a person like Ken Burns would never do that because he knows his films are being used as history textbooks all around the world and people will take that literally. So it is something to think about. You can illustrate away, be creative, but be aware that you might be creating a false impression. The next editing style is collage. So the idea of a collage is really just this simple, you take one thing, you take a second thing, you mash them up together and out of that collision comes a new meaning, a new unexpected meaning. Many people think of collage as being the most important artistic technique of the 20th century. I think that's probably true. The idea that you could take preexisting images that already exist in the world and mash them up together and create a new meaning is a fundamentally modern idea. A few helpful things to think about when you're doing the collage technique is using formal qualities to make visual matches is really helpful. Because you're taking things that don't belong together and you're forcing them to live together. So if you can do things like look for similar shapes, or similar colors, or similar movement on the screen, you can help create the illusion of these things belong in the same video. The last editing style we'll cover today is something I call compilation. If collage is about putting different sources together to create a new meaning, compilation tends to be about using one source, like every time the phone rings on the X files, you might think of it as a super cut. A compilation is really looking at something over time and finding lots of instances of something happening and then putting it all next to each other. One good example is in my short film, Normal Appearances, there's a certain repetition of action that I'm finding over a very long stretches of footage. I think I searched four seasons of The Bachelor to find that four minutes of material of a super cut of a certain type. Just to be clear, these styles are not usually so distinct. We're all mixing and matching different styles all the time. I think it's just really helpful to think about them as you're making your work, so that you're more aware of what you're doing and what your goals are. So you might say deconstruction is an example of an editing style, where you're really taking one found object and ripping it apart to find some new meaning. Or you could do something that the situationists call detournement, which is really taking a media spectacle and turning it against itself, making it say the opposite of what it said initially. So there's a million different things you could do but that's just a few ideas to get you started. 8. Choosing Your Clips: So let's get into the edit. I started by searching for the word papaya, and most of the videos were in fact about the fruit, papaya. I ended up picking this video. One fruit that can give you fresh glowing skin, protect your heart, and give you a flattened tummy? You better believe there is. Hi there, and the fruit we're talking about is none other than papaya, or the fruit of the angels as coined by Christopher Columbus. So it's pretty much in from that point on. I really liked these animations, that they were really cool and really funny. Papaya has a history, and has been used in medicinal purposes in day-to-day life for years. I thought I had a good mix of weird animations and strange voice-over that made me laugh. Also, it has lots of different types of footage. It has lots of stock footage, it's got these fun graphics, so it was a good place to start. It gave me a lot of options. Explosion was the word that I was actually most excited about, but turned out to be the least interesting search results because it really was just explosions. Everything I found was just explosions. I found myself looking for a long time to see if I could find something that felt a little more interesting than just new clips of explosions, and I found this WWE compilation video of 10 explosions that rattle WWE. I already liked it based on that intro because I thought that was a cool, high-energy music sting that I could imagine reusing. There's no talking over it, so I know that I can reuse it. I've rigged this entire place with explosives, and that is the truth, ain't that right R-Truth? What's up? The shoes. I was pretty much into this because I like the texture of this, this WWE texture is really cool. I like the way that it has so much in it. You can tell that it's from wrestling right away with one frame. Any one of these frames, you'd be like, "Oh, that's a pro wrestling thing." I think that's fun. I loved pro wrestling growing up, and I just thought all these images, these are such amazing characters and these are such high-energy, amazing images. Yeah, this is great. I could make anything out of this. But the problem was that I already started thinking my papaya video was pretty boring compared to this. We'll come back to that later. But yeah, lots of motion, lots of energy. So that's explosion. Then franchise, I take it back, explosion was not the hardest one, franchise was the hardest one because the whole top, 40 videos were all about some sports franchise controversy in China, and it's all in Chinese, and I tried to make it interesting to me and I couldn't. But I eventually found this video. Hey guys, it is [inaudible] here, and I have noticed that there is a huge disconnect between fans of the Alien prequels and the rest of the Alien franchise. Even though I know some of this is just the fact that people may not enjoy the prequel films as much as the later films, I think a big part of it is that the prequels have led up to inconsistencies that don't fit in with the later movies. Okay. This is a 15-minute video in which this very passionate Alien fan wrote a story that he said explains all the inconsistencies in the Alien franchise movies, which I've never seen. But I just fell in love with this and I thought the reason I picked it was that if you listen to the audio. It's a version of the goo that the author has used to create the engineers. It was the same basic music throughout. In materials. It just so happens that structures with. So I knew that I could shorten this. I knew that I could take dialogue from the whole 15 minutes and cut it down, and it would sound okay. It wouldn't sound really choppy because the music cues are different, so I thought that would give me a story line to work on. Because I love stories, I picked it for that reason. I was like, "Okay. Everything I do will be an illustration for this story he's telling if I can get that story down to two minutes." The last thing I want to say is that I wasn't sure which videos to use in this exercise, and that's totally okay. You can take your time choosing your clips because these are the only clips that we're going to get to work with. So it is worth being picky. After I chose my papaya video and then I chose my explosion video, and then I chose my franchise video, I started to not think the papaya video was going to fit. I could see how the explosion video and the franchise video might go together, and I could explain why. It's really just look at the colors. These colors looked similar to me. These colors looked like they would go with these colors. There's something about these images that felt like they could fit together. Then when I looked back at the papaya video, I was like, "Oh, these are really different. I don't really know how that's going to work." So I started to doubt myself and I went and I searched different papaya videos, and I did come up with a second choice, and my second choice was this bird, which apparently likes to eat papaya. I love birds and I thought I might like that bird soundtrack. It's just the sound of birds for two minutes. In the end, I ended up using my first papaya choice, and I'll show you why. 9. Starting Your Edit: Let's talk about what you do now that you have your material chosen. The first thing I did, probably because I'm actually boring, is I took the audio from the franchise video and I cut it down. I said, okay, can I take this 15 minutes story and condense it into a one or two minutes story that would still make sense. Because I don't want my video would be 15 minutes long, I want it to be two minutes long. So I did that in here. We begin the story with the alphas, as I will call them. They are a race of 12-15, but humanoid beings that have existed long before the humans and the engineers. So basically, I took this story that was very long and complicated, I edited it down to something that I thought was manageable. In so doing, I thought what I'll do is- I also decided that I didn't like any of these images, so I just turned them off. I didn't like any of them in the end. So I liked this audio, I thought I would make a video that just had that audio the whole time, and then I would use my other videos to illustrate that audio. Perfectly good first plan. So then I went into my papaya video and I started to break it into parts. This is a really important step of found footage filmmaking. What you receive is a completed edited video and then you need to break it down into raw material. That's a challenge for a lot of people, they have almost too much respect for it in the form that it comes in. But you have to be willing to see it as raw. So often and this came up a lot with this video, that includes taking transitions out. This whole papaya video had these fancy transitions between every shot. So the first thing I did was I actually just went through and tried to cut them out. I was like, okay, let's just get rid of some of these transitions and that's what I started to do in this sequence. I also started to see that there's really three different types of material. There were scientific illustrations, there were funny papaya animations, and then there was basically stock footage. So I started to group the material together. So this third sequence shows you that I'm further grouping the material until different types of raw footage basically. Then this was my first attempt at putting my alien franchise story with my papaya images. So I thought, okay, I'll just throw it in and see what it feels like. We begin the story with the alphas, as I will call them. They are arrays of 12-15, but humanoid beings that have existed long before the humans and the engineers. So this works just by chance in a funny way. We will start this story and there's people excitedly watching a movie. I was like, oh, that's a nice coincidence. We begin the story with the alphas as I will call them, beings that have existed long before the humans and the engineers. Then this is like a sci-fi looking image. So I was like, okay, these could be the alphas, that makes sense. The alphas were extremely intelligent and capable of long distance space travel. They had become masters of biology and were able to guide their own evolution. See masters of biology guiding their own evolution. This makes sense. Could craft almost anything using organic substances. They were once embraced but similar build and height of the humans. But through self engineering, they had grown to the larger sizes we now know. So am thinking about this and I'm like, this is actually pretty boring. Like the story this guy tells is actually not very interesting. Why am I so committed to illustrating a story that I don't even like? Maybe I could just take part of the story because I like the sound of his voice, and then use it to intro the video and then totally change the context that way. So one thing we talked about earlier was thinking about when you want to work with the original context of your material and when you want to work against it. Around this point, I started to really think about that because this papaya material looks like a cheap Internet ad, because that's what it is. It's mostly this stock footage and this cheap animation. Then there's a part of this alien franchise story that I won't play you all because it's boring, but there's a middle section that's all about this magical black goo stuff. I started to think like, okay, I'll make an advertisement for black goo and that's the way these two things will go together. So that was the operating assumption I had in this third sequence for a little while when I first put the sound and picture together for my first two videos. But I wasn't totally sure if that was a good idea, although I did find one more moment of synchronicity, which I thought was good here. All right guys, this is where we're going to end part 1 of the alphas story. We'll pick up this story and finish it off in part 2 next time. So if you guys like this video, if you could leave a like. So these are both Internet videos that have that same ending, even though they're totally different, they sort of work together. But I wasn't really sure if that was a good idea anyway because I still thought it was a pretty boring story. So I decided to move on and come back to this later and look at my explosion video. So as I already said, my explosion video was actually a compilation video that someone else had made of the top 10 explosions in WWE history. So I brought it into the timeline and started to break it down. Like I said before, I already knew that I liked that music staying, it's a really cool opening. So I separated that out. I liked all these explosions and I didn't really like any of the dialogue or like backstory because I'm like this is all very specific to these WWE fighters and moments. So I took out all the dialogue and I started looking at just the explosion moments. It's really cool, I really liked this material. The best thing you can find in this type of material is stuff like this, which is just reaction shots. You can use reaction shots for anything. They can be looking at anything. Once I started to think that maybe my papaya ad could be repurposed into an ad for this black goo, that made sense and then I went into this explosion footage and I couldn't really imagine how the explosions would work into that, but I thought these people seem pretty weird and maybe they seemed like aliens, I don't know. So I thought, okay, time to move on. Let's put everything in one sequence and just like see what happens. We begin the story with the alphas, as I will call them. See I already hate that, that doesn't work. So I started to think like, okay, I don't know what I'm going to do. I have no idea. But I kept cutting, thinking that I was going to make this black goo commercial with this papaya footage. I tried to make it shorter, so I made it shorter, but I still hadn't found a way to incorporate this cool explosion footage. So I was like, okay, I got to have a new idea now. This also is, again, another point where I thought this was never going to work. 10. Refining Your Video: At this point I thought, all right, let's get rid of the whole idea of making an ad for the black goo. Let's just get rid of this whole story and just have the guy introduce something and then he'll go away. So I like that. I'm like, okay, I've got a title that I like. This is good. It goes with the sound effects. We begin the story with the Alphas, as I will call them. They are a race of 12-15, but humanoid beings that have. So I'm just totally over this and I wish I'd never downloaded it, but I'm required to use something from this video. So I decided at this point that I will just use the very end of this franchise video, and just the sound. All right guys, this is where we're going to end part one of the Alphas story. I was like, okay, I don't know what to do with that anymore. I don't like it anymore, but I love this WWE stuff and I love this Papaya stuff. So now I'm just going to use the very end of this franchise video, and forget about the rest of it. So this sequence is where I started to actually make myself laugh and I decided that that was a good thing and I should stick with this idea. Is there really one fruit that can give you fresh glowing skin? Right, that made me laugh. So I was down. So then I started being like, all right, we're going with it. It's going to be like this papaya, like super god that comes in and makes explosions and all these people are going to be shocked by it. That was the idea, and it made sense, and even the title made sense because then I could say, okay, that's what this is. Because this show is called Papaya Explosion Franchise. So then I started getting into it and I was like, oh, I can take this title and place it on top of the screen so that it looks like it's part of the walls, like that seemed fun. I could put a cross dissolve in here and have the papaya emerge out of the explosion. It looks great, this color and this color look perfect together. So now I'm feeling like I made some good choices in life. There is it on the screen again, this makes me laugh. Then again, the color, now I can start doing fun things like this color matches this color, which works for me. So this is my idea. There's people that are upset, the Papaya is emerging. It's like this god thing. It's going to make me laugh and I think this is a great idea and I'm going to go forward with it. This is so funny. You know if were if I were a better V effects editor, I could figure out how to make this explosion look more legitimately part of that screen, but I don't really care. All right guys, this is where we're going to end part 1, we'll pick up to next time. So if you guys like this video, if you could leave a like it helps out so much. If you have any questions or comments on the story, let me know down below, but otherwise I will. Yeah, so now that I feel pretty good about this story and this approach, and I feel good about everything, even including this being the title of the video, which I think is really good. I would go in and I'd make it perfect and finish it and really make this idea as good as it can be. But it took a long time for me to get here. In the middle of this process, I was pretty sure this was the worst exercise ever, and I was really regretting having assigned it for this skill share class. But then I got through that, and decided it was a great assignment after all. So that's good. So I haven't finished this yet, but when I do finish it, now that I love my idea, I will upload it to the class resources for you. So now it's your turn, and just a few last tips. I would say with this kind of open-ended exercise that the trick to getting through to the end, is really having an idea and then committing to that idea long enough to see if it's a good idea. You won't know if it's a good idea right away. In this exercise, I moved through illustrating a sci-fi story to making an advertisement for black goo, to something else like this wrestling comedy, with a papaya god. I would say it took about two hours of just playing around new sequences for me to get to a place where I actually made myself laugh and loved my idea. My first couple ideas were pretty obvious and not very good. But you have to try the idea as long enough to see if they're good. I really recommend starting multiple sequences, make a sequence for each idea and then move on to the next one. You can always go back if you don't like your sixth and seventh idea to your fifth idea. One thing I've noticed a lot with especially beginning editors, is that they don't know what to do, they get lost and they just opened the Effects tab and hope that's going to save them. I've never seen that save anyone. If you're having an editing problem, visual effects is not going to solve it. But you might want to open the effects tab to do something intentional for sure. For example, if your collaging together two different sources that have very different color stories, then it might be worth it for you to open the color correction tab and try to bring those colors stories more into alignment. That's a good use of an Effects tab. Or maybe you just want to apply a black and white filter to all of it so that it does match. That's also a good idea. If you get really lost, remember that you're working in a fundamentally visual medium and that you can never go wrong by just looking for shots that match. So you can cut from a circular shape to a circular shape, or a shot that has something moving from left to right to another shot that has something moving right to left. So look for those formal visual matches just as a way of getting you unstuck. This exercise may or may not lead to a finished work of art, that's okay. It could just be a sketch for you, just a creativity prompt, something to get the mind going. Or maybe you get excited about it and it really does become something that you want to put a lot of finishing work into. Either way, we want to see the results. 11. Final Thoughts: Okay. So that's it. Congratulations on making it all the way to the end. I can't wait to see what you make, so please upload your projects to the Project Gallery. Again, even if this didn't lead to a finished art project for you, I hope it helps you to unlock the potential of found footage filmmaking in whatever you do next. Thanks again for taking the class. I can't wait to see what you make. 12. Bonus: Watch Penny's Video: [inaudible]. What the? [inaudible]. Oh my God. [inaudible].