Before starting a big video editing project, through experience, I have noticed that setting up a proper work area can allow the mind to delve deeper into the project quicker. So what do I mean by that? I am going to list several tips that drastically improved by efficiency when editing. Time and valuable, and with so many distractions, it’s easy to waste alot of time. It’s been said that every time a videographer is interrupted from their editing, even if its just a brief interruption, it can take 10 minutes to refocus and resume the same pace of editing as they were doing before the interruption. So here are a few things that can help.

Remove Unnecessary Clutter from the Desk.
I like a clean work area and when I have chords, cables, SD cards, batteries, camera lenses, and filters lying all over my keyboard and mouse area, it drives me nuts. By removing those items, you will also remove the temptation to second guess yourself as to whether you downloaded all the footage from the cards, did I recharge my batteries, which filter goes on which lens, and why can’t I move by mouse!

Organize Video Files
Everyone has their own way of editing their video files, and over the course of 15 years, I have seen disastrous systems, which ultimately result in failure. I use a basic file structure that allows me to keep very organized, even when constantly added files to an already existing Adobe Premiere Project. The key is to start every project with its own root folder. Then within that root folder, create subfolders that are labeled for each camera. I usually do two camera shoots. Cam 1, Cam2, B-rol. I create a separate folder for the b-roll I shot. Now, if its a big shoot which requires multiple days of B-roll and shooting, the folders get broken down into days so I can keep track of what I shot on which day. One of the leading reasons it is important to do this is because perhaps you were filming in Indonesia for a week.

You have multiple full SDXC cards and am wondering if you have downloaded everything thing before you need to reformat the cards for you next shoot. With this file structure, its easy to see the last thing you shot on the camera, and match that up with the content in your folders to be sure everything is downloaded and organized properly. Then, you can drag the folders into your editing program and be able to easily sort through your footage, knowing its all organized by date, or by camera.

Video editing is a craft just like an artist. You can’t throw paint on the canvas and expect the Mona-Lisa. Nor can you import clips, slap them on a timeline and export to end up with a national geographic documentary.

Refresh Your Memory on the Content
Before starting to piece together your award winning documentary, refresh yourself with the content you have filmed. Listen to the interviews in their entirely and get a good understanding of what you have to work with. As your watching your interviews and clips, take a few notes on any clips that might be good starter sentences. Delete any retakes in which they say the same line 15 times and its clear that the last take is the one you are going to use. This will help clean up and shorten your timeline.

Finally, before you start digging into the editing, be sure you have allotted for yourself a nice block of time to really engulf yourself into the footage and start hammering out a rough sketch. I completely get that we live in world that requires everything to be fast and have quick deadlines. Just as painting a picture is done one stroke at a time, video editing is done one cut at a time. Don’t rush yourself, or you will end up with a mediocre project that may not clearly present the premise of the video.

By using a few of these tips, hopefully you will save yourself time and frustration. Video editing is a craft just like an artist. You can’t throw paint on the canvas and expect the Mona-Lisa. Nor can you import clips, slap them on a timeline and export to end up with a national geographic documentary. But with practice, you might find a happy middle ground.

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