A video montage is a technique of combining short video clips into one sequence. The editing, along with the montage music, is made to tell a full story in a short time. This technique is often used in cinema as a way to speed up time, create a comparison between two characters, build up tension, and more.
To be sure we’re all on the same page, here are a few fun examples of cinematic video montages.
Rocky’s Training Montage
This one is a classic that was quoted and paraphrased in endless movies, parodies, video clips, and more. If you’ve ever watched anything in your life, you can recognize a training montage when you see one: uplifting music and a fast-forward of a character getting better and better. The training isn’t just physically; some movies use this kind of montage to portray the character gaining a new skill, building something, etc.
Pretty Woman’s Shopping Montage
In this extremely satisfying montage, Julia Roberts goes on a shopping spree with Richard Gere’s credit card. The best part is, of course, when she goes back to the boutique owners who disrespected her and gives them the iconic “Big mistake! Huge!” line. The montage shows us her transformation, from a working girl into a classy head-turning lady.
Up’s Relationship Montage
This 4-minute long dialog-free montage beautifully portrays the life-long relationship between Carl and Ellie. The emotional piano music makes this scene even more heart wrenching to watch. Without hearing a single word, we experience this universal story of love and loss, love and missed opportunities.
Notting Hill’s Changing Seasons Montage
This romantic montage shows us the passing of seasons as Hugh Grant’s character is walking around the area of, obviously, Notting Hill. The soulful soundtrack (Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine”) makes it clear that Grant is lonely, hurt, and utterly heartbroken over Anna Scott (Julia Roberts’ character). The message: when it’s true love we’re talking about, time doesn’t always heal the pain.
The Godfather’s Baptism Montage
This memorable scene consists of an ironic cross-cutting between Michael’s niece’s baptism (with all the purity it represents) and the assassination of the Corleone family’s enemies. Over five minutes, the dramatic organ sound builds up the tension until the scene’s peak point, which is also the moment the whole movie has been working toward.
Compilations as Montages
The internet is filled with compilations, which are basically montages. They are videos assembled from the highlights of other videos, and they can be anything from funny to extremely emotional.
How to Create Your Own Movie Montage
Now that you’ve got a dose of inspiration, it’s time to make your own montage! The rules and tips of a cinematic montage imply even when it’s a video of your daughters birthday or a recent trip. The essence of the montage is pretty much the same: you’ve got a lot of short clips that you want to edit together in a way that tells a story and evokes an emotional response.
Here are some pro tips:
- Use music. The right music will give the right feel and will tie your clips together. Coppola himself said that “The Godfather” baptism montage didn’t work until one of the editors suggested that they add the organ overlay.
- No dialogue. Most successful dialogues go by the “show, don’t tell” rule. If we’re seeing a birthday cake, balloons, and a happy 5-years-old boy, and we hear birthday tunes, we get it.
- Focus on the feelings. Your decisions should be an outcome of the emotional effect you want to incite. Quick or slow cuts, upbeat or dramatic soundtrack – these should all derive from the sentiment you’re creating.
- Add effects (moderately). Using the right effects can give your montage movement and enhance your story. You can use masks to highlight certain objects, invisible cute to create smooth transitions, and more.
- Keep it short. A good montage should be somewhere under 5 minutes. Include only your very best footage, or your viewers will lose interest quickly. Your goal should be telling as much as possible in the minimum possible.
How to Edit a Montage Video with Magisto
Creating a montage video with Magisto is easy.
Step 1: Click “Create a video” on the home screen.
Step 2: Add your media – the videos and photos you want to include in your video montage.
Step 3: Pick an editing style that will set the tone for your video – romantic, sad or funny.
Step 4: Choose the music you want to go with your footage.
Step 5: Give your montage a title.
Step 6: (Optional) Once your draft is ready, choose “Edit video”
Step 7: (Optional) Reorder and trim your scenes, add titles and adjust settings.
Step 8: Save your montage and share it with the world!