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9. Editing the film

By this stage you should have a wealth of information, but in order to communicate the salient points you need to reduce it to a manageable length and highlight the key issues.

This step involves watching all unedited films of the patient interviews – either with another person or alone – to get an overview of what has been said. You then need to pick out the key ‘touch points’ – themes that particularly resonate, and that may have also arisen in a number of interviews – within each interview and edit each film down to a length of about 10 minutes. The next step is to identify key themes (such as ‘getting your diagnosis’ or ‘moving through the service’) and divide up clips into those themes, interweaving the various patients’ quotes with each other. The final video will show a title screen for each theme, such as ‘outpatients’, followed by views from a number of different patients on that topic.

You will need editing equipment and software to carry this out. If you choose to involve a professional editing team, but you may want to do so only after you have reduced the footage to 10 minutes per speaker, to keep costs down. The final stage involves reducing the 10 minutes per speaker to a final 30-minute video. A professional editor can help you make sure the footage flows and moves seamlessly from one speaker to the next, grouped by theme.

Key points

  • This is the most labour-intensive part of the process – especially if you are unfamiliar with the software. It may also be expensive, especially if you are using an outside company. Editing down an interview into a ten-minute video could take a whole day, though you are likely to speed up over time.
  • The final video will usually present experiences following the clinical pathway chronologically, so themes might include: outpatients, surgery, follow-up appointments.
  • If you are doing the editing yourself, transfer each interview to a DVD with a counter, so that you can accurately edit the films. Then break down the films into themes. Examples of themes you might want to use include: receiving the diagnosis; moving through the service; being an inpatient; receiving treatment (for example, chemotherapy); understanding what is happening; and receiving support. Go through the film frame by frame, noting down times to stop and reduce the film. You may need to be quite bold about editing the video down substantially at this stage.
  • If you have a digital media team they might have the skills to do the editing, or your communications department might be able to advise you of companies they have used before. There are lots of freelancers and companies that specialise in this type of work and it should be straightforward to find someone who can help you.
  • Brief the editors clearly to balance out negative comments with positive ones. They also need to focus on stories that constructively explain things that need improving at clearly identifiable stages of the patient pathway.
  • Your priority must be to include high-quality material, and it is important to include some quotes from everyone who was interviewed.
  • Give patients the final veto on what is included in the edited film. Ideally, send them a DVD with all their quotes that you would like to include. Do not send them the edited film, as this would betray the confidentiality of other patients. Alternatively, send them the unedited film of themselves, ask if there are any sections they would prefer not included, and make sure these are not used. Allow time for patients to receive and comment on these materials well before the patient feedback event.