I've been a professional video editor for eight years. In that time, I've learnt some indispensable skills that will definitely help you optimise your workflow while editing.
Learning a new skill can be complicated and this is definitely true of video editing. Maybe you're interested in learning how to edit or maybe you're already a video editor but you feel the burden of how much of a time killer post production can be. Whatever your situation, I'm hoping these tips will help you stream line your workflow and get the job done quicker!
1 ~ Organise, Organise, Organise
Even if you’re an ace at organising in your life, how to organise your files and set up a streamlined work flow before opening up your software takes a little bit of trial and error. Over the years, I’ve found this labelling system (PhotoA) to be the most useful for your folders.
Once I’m in my software, I’ll set up my folders like photo B. Of course, depending on your project the names of the folders might change, but you get the idea. If you’re a fly by the seat of your pants type, this might seem overly anal - but it’s not! It will save you so much time.
2 ~ Rely on A Rough Cut
A rough cut is, as the title suggests, a very rough version of the project or film. It's purpose is for you as the editor to get a lay out to understand the structure of what you’re cutting.
If you’re editing the latter it will be one of the first things your director or producer will ask to see. What it offers is a chance for all involved to see if the narrative structure of what you’re creating is coming together. Why is this important for optimising your workflow?
Well, once you have everything assembled it gives you a solid blue print and will shine light on what needs work- having this stuff laid bare will save you time when you’re flip flopping on what is needed to get the project over the finish line.
3 ~ Use Two Timelines
I've been doing this for years but I only just realised this technique has a name - the pancake timeline! What it means is setting up two timelines, stacked on top of each other- the first sequence is all of your clips arranged in order, the second is your master edit. What this will do is allow you to see all the clips you have at your disposal, and easily drag and drop the ones you need right into your master edit, without having to fiddle around between sequences, scrolling through your footage. As any editor will tell you, scrolling through footage can be a massive time waster- this approach makes this a lot easier.
4 ~ Learn Your Shortcuts
Of all the little things that have helped speed things up for me over the years, this tip is the most effective. Adobe Premiere, Avid, Davinci Resolve and Final Cut Pro all have function keyboard shortcuts that will save you so much time once you know which key is for what. Once you have this skill locked down, when you have to edit to a deadline, you can rely almost entirely on your keyboard.
Instead of trailing the mouse to your tool bar, clicking the function in question and returning to your timeline, you can simply tap "c" on your keyboard and boom, you're good to go! To find out what shortcuts your software has, simply Google the software you're working on followed by either Windows or Mac "keyboard shortcuts". It's a bit of a pain in the beginning, but trust me, it will be worth it.