Edit Video Faster

Your place to go to edit video faster.

Menu Close

Small Business Tactics for Editors: An Interview with Editor Rachel Bastarache Bogan — Command+Edit Podcast Episode 80

 

Hey there!

Rachel Bastarache Bogan is the owner of Renegade Digital Post — a video editing company providing Hollywood-caliber services to filmmakers and content producers outside of Hollywood. In this interview, Nick and I find out Rachel’s strategies for working with new clients, how she finds clients not only locally but across the globe, and much more.

Here are some useful links from this episode:

If you enjoyed this conversation and want to stay in touch whenever I come out with a new post / podcast / video / newsletter / etc. you can go here to signup. No spam. Ever. Just the good stuff 🙂

– Josh

Music in this episode was from Soundstripe. Use the code EVF for 10% off!

Please note some of the links above are affiliate links. This means if you purchase something through them I’ll get a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Starting a Post Production Company in Jamaica with Twain Richardson — Command+Edit Podcast Episode 79

 

Hey there!

In this episode Nick and I bring our friend Twain Richardson on to guest as he tells us all about setting up a career right in the heart of Jamaica. Establishing oneself in a market where production is pretty sparse compared to the likes of LA and NY can be incredibly challenging. While most people feel the pressure to move to Hollywood to “go where the work is”, there are those who thrive where they are and set themselves as a niche service provider in the TV and commercial industry. I can relate immensely.

Here are some timecodes of the topics if you want to jump around:

  • ~11:30 Introduction to Twain
  • ~12:20 What is Jamaica’s client base like?
  • ~13:58 Describing his workspace layout
  • ~15:05 Twain’s origin story: go to work or go to school?
  • ~19:09 Getting a mentor early in your career
  • ~20:33 How do you tell a good story?
  • ~21:19 Twain’s “Frame of Reference” site filled with valuable interviews with established editors
  • ~25:58 The value of networking and asking questions from other editors out there; great lessons learned from talking with the pros
  • ~31:20 Have you ever felt the pressure to relocate and why did you decide to stay put?
  • ~33:43 Big differences in work environment depending where you are geographically – Are there still deadlines in Jamaica?

You can find Twain over on Twitter here.

If you enjoyed this conversation and want to stay in touch whenever I come out with a new post / podcast / video / newsletter / etc. you can go here to signup. No spam. Ever. Just the good stuff 🙂

– Josh

PS: The song used in today’s episode was Apex by Kevin Graham over on Soundstripe (affiliate link). Use the coupon code EVF for a 10% discount on a monthly or yearly subscription. 😉

Using the Timecode Window in Avid Media Composer — EVF Tutorial

This tutorial teaches you what Avid Media Composer’s Timecode Window is and how to use it. This tool is hidden by default but can provide you with a ton of useful information while you edit your videos. You’ll learn how to change the display of the tool, how to add lines of information like the duration of a timeline and what lines of information could be useful to have available to you.

If you enjoyed this tutorial and want to stay in touch whenever I come out with a new post / podcast / video / newsletter / etc. you can go here to signup. No spam. Ever. Just the good stuff 😀

– Josh

The Office Life — Command+Edit Podcast Episode 78

 

Hey there!

Nick and I are back together for a conversation about the differences, pros, cons, productivity levels, emotions, etc. between editing from a conventional office and your home office.

We also catch up and recap my recent trip up to Toronto to visit Nick and meet him IRL for the first time. Hope you enjoy!

If you enjoyed this conversation and want to stay in touch whenever I come out with a new post / podcast / video / newsletter / etc. you can go here to signup. No spam. Ever. Just the good stuff 🙂

– Josh

What is an After Effects Template?

“Hey…how’d you make that so fast?” a voice asked from over my shoulder.

It was an editor at one of the companies I freelance at. I removed my headphones and swiveled my chair. “Ah, you mean this transition?”

“No, like the whole thing. The graphics, the camera movements, …” I sensed confusing under his breath.

“Oh! This After Effects template?”

He raised an eyebrow. “What do you mean by…template?”

“Yeah I just grabbed this thing online and it has everything in it.”

“OMG MAGIC THAT’S THE COOLEST THING EVER!” Okay, he didn’t actually say that but his jaw just about hit the ground. He had never heard of an After Effects template.

If you’ve been reading lately then you know I’m trying to run with this theme of “you don’t know what you don’t know”. Let’s file this post under that theme. There is no dumb question and if you’re an “advanced editor” reading a post that’s designed for new editors feel free to stop reading here and go yell about LUTs or something on Reddit.

In this post I’m going to explain what an After Effects template is, some of their benefits, some of their downsides and where you can get them.

Alright. Let’s jump into it.

What is an After Effects Template?

An After Effects template is a pre-built After Effects project (.aep) that is made in a way so you can pop in your assets (i.e. footage, logo, headshots, etc.) and create a video in record speed. After Effects templates can be entire explainer videos, typography videos, logo opens, title packages, green screen virtual sets, infographics, etc. etc. And I’ve used just about all of them.

For example, let’s take a look at this After Effects template. And now let’s take a look at what I made it into.

To get an After Effects template go to one of the sites I’ll list below, pick one out, purchase it, download it, watch/read the tutorial, open up the .aep, and get to work. There are usually a handful of places to check out when you first jump into a project like compositions titled “CHANGE LOGO HERE” or “INSERT COMP1 FOOTAGE HERE”. Also look for layers titled, “CHANGE COLORS HERE” and typically you select the layer and there are parameters you can adjust in the Effects Controls Panel.

It kind of goes without saying but you need a license of Adobe After Effects in order to use an After Effects template. Most templates are backwards compatible for a few versions. If you have any CC version than you are most likely fine. It should say somewhere on the website what minimum version of AE you need though.

How I work is once I open up the .aep I find the MASTER comp or the RENDER ME comp (it’s typically labeled something like that) then work my way backwards through the precomps to see how everything works together. Then I get to work.

Here are a couple screenshots of what a typical project looks like when you open it up:

This is basically what you can expect to find when you open an AE template

This is a basic example of what one of the comps *could* look like. Daunting, huh?

This is an example of what the Project Panel could look like. Fairly self-explanatory?

Benefits of Using After Effects Templates

Let’s bullet point this out.

  • They save you time. A lot of time usually. This is by far their biggest selling point. I’ll ballpark it that 30-50% of a project can be completed right off the bat just by using one.
  • They give you boundaries to work in. I was using the AE template in the little story in the intro to this post because I needed a starting point for this project. I literally had free rein to do anything I wanted which is great until you find yourself with no place to start. So I picked this AE template in order to have some basic constraints for the project, which got the ball rolling.
  • You learn how others use After Effects. AE is incredibly deep and editors can do one thing a dozen different ways. You will generally always learn a new tip or trick or just go, “oh, so they did it like that?” at least once. A lot of us don’t get to work with other editors and seeing another editor’s project is rare. This gives you a glimpse into how others work.

30-50% of a project can be completed right off the bat just by using one.

Downsides of Using After Effects Templates

  • They give you boundaries to work in. Yes, I know I just listed this as a benefit. The boundaries are great sometimes but will give you massive headaches other times because they aren’t always easy to modify. Quick example… Let’s say you want to change the length of a precomp. Cool. You go into the Composition Settings (Cmd/Ctrl+K), change the time then extend all the layers. Oh wait. They used a 10-second .mov for one of the background elements and it doesn’t loop and when you change the speed it looks weird… See where I’m getting at? Also, having a picky client can be tricky. Oh, they want all the squares made into circles? Yeah…that’s probably not going to happen.
  • You don’t truly know how easy it will be to manipulate an AE template until you buy it. This is piggybacking on my last point. Make sure to read the reviews if available. A lot of them are really easy to use. However I’ve found that you can also get some lemons every once in awhile.
  • Cost. Yes, they most of the time they cost real cash. Expect to spend $15-$45.
  • Tutorials are typically lacking in substance and quality. About half the time you’ll get a video that will [sloppily] walk you through how to change different elements (colors, insert logos, etc.). The other half of the time you’ll probably have a .pdf that probably isn’t worth reading IMO. Jump in and dig around to figure stuff out.
  • The music generally does not come packaged with the AE template. Most of the time when you watch the preview there’s this nice song or sound effects that go along with it. Yeah, these aren’t included. Most of the time they are linked on the website where you buy the AE template. FWIW I get most of my music through Soundstripe (affiliate link) (p.s. You can use the coupon code EVF for 10% off 😉).

Where to Get After Effects Templates

If you have other places you like to get After Effects templates leave them in the comments!

Putting It All Together

An After Effects template is a wonderful tool you can use to spark creativity, give you a jumpstart on a project and teach you new things about such an in-depth software. However they cost money and can occasionally be difficult to adjust to your needs.

I recommend trying one out if you haven’t before. Occasionally the sites listed above will have massive sales or do something like give away a free AE template of the month. Take advantage of those if you have a chance.

I hope you found this article helpful. I have a ton of posts and tutorials coming up in the queue once I can get a couple more freelance projects off my back. If you’re new around here and want to stay up-to-date with the latest on EVF go here and you’ll never miss out on posts like this one.

– Josh

We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know

You don’t know what you don’t know. There is so much out there that I know I don’t know. And there’s so much out there that I don’t even know that I don’t know about. A few months back I wrote about a situation that arose where someone didn’t know something they probably should have.

I remember first getting started as a young professional video editor when the topic of compression came up. Those editing classes at JMU taught me something about compression but not nearly enough to be a competent professional. I had heard of H.264, knew that QuickTime Movies were “massive” files and WMVs were something else and my head just spun and spun. That was even before learning about bitrates and all that even tech-ier stuff. I was lost. But little by little, reading blog post by blog post and chatting in forum after forum, I finally started to get a grasp of the concept.

I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I only knew what I had experienced up to that point. Up to that point it was making high-quality QuickTime movies for my professor to review on the “huge” 50″ TV in the front of the classroom. It wasn’t about web delivery or making sure the videos were compatible with the player in the software I was making videos for.

The other day I was helping out a fellow video professional with a problem with the audio they had been recording. We were troubleshooting over the phone while I was in the lobby of convention center where my niece’s dance competition was taking place. Pacing back and forth with one hand covering my free ear so I could hear better I asked what kind of mic they were using and they rattled off some Sony U-something. I continued, “It’s a wireless lav, right?” And they said, “Ahh I don’t think so.”

Spoiler alert: it is. And I knew it was because I was fairly certain it was a lav that I used to use.

“Does the mic directly connect to your camera? Or is there a separate receiver?”

“Umm I’m not quite sure what you mean.”

Pause.

They didn’t know what they didn’t know.

“Ohhh…” I hear from the other end of the phone.

As someone new to the industry they had only used wireless lavs. They didn’t even know there was a difference between wireless and traditional wired lavs so there was no way they would know some of the troubleshooting tactics that would be needed to fix their issue.

I ended up giving them a couple tips on checking the frequency between the receiver and mic and they fixed the issue.

They didn’t know what they didn’t know.

Do you remember a time when a concept that seems so simple today was completely foreign and confusing? I’d love to hear about it below.

In the coming weeks I’ll be posting some more stories and quick tips on how to fix issues you may or may not have come across in the video world. To receive email updates for these posts go right here. It takes 15 seconds.

Editing in Japan and Across the Globe

Hey guys!

I got a chance to talk to the one and only Norman Hollyn. Norman is a professor of Cinematic Arts at USC and travels all around the world as an editing educator. Basically Norman is living my dream.

You can listen to our conversation below. In it we talk about his time teaching in Japan and all across the globe, how students of film and their editing styles differ from one country to another, how to manipulate your audience’s emotions and much, much more.

If you enjoyed this conversation and want to stay in touch whenever I come out with a new post / podcast / video / newsletter / etc. you can go here to signup. No spam. Ever. Just the good stuff 🙂

– Josh

May 2017 | EVF Recap

I took this picture of my dog the other day. It appears though that she stole my phone and took a selfie. I swear the world would be a better place if dogs could use phones and we could text our dogs while we were out of the home.

It was the last day in month of May in the year two thousand and seventeen. Alone in a cold edit bay on a warm sunny afternoon an editor watches a blue bar slowly move from left to right inside of a gray box. 47 minutes remaining. He thinks to himself, “I’ve been wanting to write on my business’ blog for weeks but haven’t found the time or self-awareness to actually do it. Maybe now’s a good time to try.”

And here we are. If I haven’t lost you yet I’d like to take the next thousand or so words to talk about what’s been going on with EVF, the podcast and my freelance editing work.

The online comedy show I’ve been working on for the past several months recently launched! The only editing left to do is a small change in one of the later episodes and the creation of some more marketing material for them. This project is so. darn. close. to being done.

Let’s have some #realtalk for a moment. I’ve been so close to this project that I find it really difficult to share it with the world. All I see is imperfections, shots I wanted reshot and lines of dialogue I want changed. But deep down I know it’s pretty darn good and about as good as I was ever going to get it based on the constraints I was working under. Warning: the comedy show is definitely PG13. Here’s their website where you can watch the first two episodes. (yes, I’m still terrified to share my work. I believe most editors get the same way too)

Here’s some more #realtalk. I screwed up my 2016 taxes. I thought I had nailed it back on April 15th. However I met with an accountant to talk about 2017 and while going through 2016 he found two fairly significant screw-ups. And they’re probably going to cost me a couple thousand dollars. Whoops. But we’re sorting it out and it’s better to get it done right than risk getting dinged later down the road. Needless-to-say I’m disappointed. It’s a learning experience that I’ll grow from though.

I was meeting with the accountant because I’m getting an LLC for my freelance business (which EVF will eventually reside under) and I wanted to see how my accounting would work with my new business. That’s when we discovered my mistakes in 2016. Anyway, back to the LLC. Getting an LLC is something I’ve been putting off. Why? It’s completely foreign to me. I hate things like legal paperwork (but who doesn’t?). As my freelance business matures I need to protect myself, “legitimize” myself and set it up in a way it can continue to grow. BTW, if you’re interested in the process for setting up an LLC let me know as I’m considering writing about my experience with it.

Oh, May marked the 1-year anniversary of going fully freelance. Woo!

Enough freelance. Let’s talk about the podcast.

This month’s episodes:

  • Command+Edit Episode 72: Nick and I interview Niel Guilarte of the All Things Post podcast about his documentary The Messengers that he directed and edited.
  • Command+Edit Episode 73: I interview David Colantuoni of Avid to discuss Media Composer | First
  • Command+Edit Episode 74: Nick interviews Mae Manning about unique journey from bartender to successful editor

We currently have two interviews booked for June. One is with an editing educator about their time teaching editing overseas and the other is with a screenwriter.

In Command+Edit Episode 73 (above) I chatted with Avid about their upcoming Media Composer | First release. MC | First is basically a free, lite version of Media Composer. It sounds perfect for anyone interested in learning Media Composer but might not be ready to pull the trigger on a year-long subscription without first getting to know Media Composer a bit better (because let’s face it, Media Composer is a tough software to learn). I’m [highly] considering taking a dive deep into MC | First and creating some training material around it. However it depends on if there’s enough demand. If you’re remotely interested in MC | First and using resources (guides, courses, tutorials, blog posts, etc.) that I create to help you learn it, I’d really like to hear from you. All you have to do is reply to this email.

Here on the EVF website you may have noticed I switched themes! However in the process I accidentally deleted my homepage. Oops. I don’t mind because I wanted to overhaul it anyway. I’ll be doing some other minor updates around the site while I continue the painful process of switching hosting companies as well. All I want to do is create videos and write helpful things on the internet and it feels like there’s always a thousand other obstacles standing in the way!

Anyway, thank you so, so much for reading. Please give me a shout if there’s anything you’re struggling with and you think I could help or if you just want to chat post or baseball or dogs or travel or anything. 🙂

Cheers,
Josh

Batch Exporting in Avid Media Composer

The other day I had to export nine different parts of a training course I was editing in Avid Media Composer for one of my clients. Media Composer isn’t like Premiere where I can add a bunch of videos or sequences to a Queue in Adobe Media Encoder. From inside a sequence you have to export them one at a time. This isn’t convenient for anyone. In this project in particular I’d have to go back and check every 20-30 minutes and then go and export the next video. However there’s a trick you can do to batch export out of Media Composer and I’m going to explain that in this post. In fact, this trick is allowing me to write this blog post then go take lunch outside at a park next to the Potomac River.

Let’s jump right in. How do you batch export? Instead of exporting from a sequence we’re going to export from a bin. And to export from a bin we need to create copies of our master sequence(s) that we want to export.

To begin create a new bin. Label it something like, “For Export Only”. Take your master sequence, set in and out points and select just the tracks you want to export. If it’s all tracks, select every track (Hit Cmd/Ctrl+A to quickly do this).

Next duplicate your master sequence. Highlight it in the bid and hit Cmd/Ctrl+D to do this. Move the duplicated version into your For Export Only bin. Rename the duplicated version of your master sequence to the filename you want it to have upon export (i.e. abc-course-part1-v01-170418) but without the file extension. Go back to your master sequence(s) and repeat as needed until you have a bin full of sequences you want to export; each with their in and out points set and tracks selected.

Close out of every bin expect your For Export Only bin. You don’t have to do this but I’m OCD about screen real estate and digital clutter. Then select all the sequences in your For Export Only bin. Right-click on the sequence icon for any of them (it’s the little film stripe next to the name of the sequence).

In the menu that pops up find Export (pre V8.5ish) or Output (post V8.5ish; the name changed somewhere around MC v8.5). If you’re on an older version of MC it’ll open a dialogue box up immediately. If you’re on a newer version you will have to go into a sub-menu in Output then you choose Export to File… Once you do this the same dialogue box will pop up as in the older versions of MC.

Pre Version 8.5(ish)

Post Version 8.5(ish)

This is the box that’ll open after selecting Export or Export to File…

Navigate to where you want to files to go like a watch folder or an exports folder or just somewhere on your hard drive. Then go to your export settings at the bottom of the box. Set your export preset to a QuickTime Movie or whatever you want to export it as for you to then compress in Adobe Media Encoder or Sorenson Squeeze or another compression software. Go into it’s options (click the Options… button) and make sure Use Marks and Use Selected Tracks are checked (this might say “Use Enabled Tracks” in newer versions of MC…I’m still on 8.4.4!). Doing this means that you are MC to export the enabled tracks and in and out points you set for each sequence.

Make sure Use Marks and Use Selected Tracks are checked

Click Save in the export settings then Save again in the Export As… dialogue box to begin batch exporting.

Next go to your favorite local lunch spot and relax while Media Composer does it’s thing. Where am I going? Perfect Pita 🙂

I hope you found this quick tutorial helpful. If you have any questions please leave them in the comments below or shoot me a message here.

Cheers,
Josh

P.S. If you’re new around here and want to know more about EVF and learn more helpful tips and tricks on being a faster video editor go to this page to begin your journey. And please never be shy if you have a question or just want to chat about editing (or baseball!).

Recommended Reading:

April Update for EVF

It’s been awhile since I’ve just sat down and written. I’m through with my third cup of bad Keurig coffee, this export from Media Composer has another 20 minutes and a blank page is in front of me so why not give this a shot?

I’ve been “gone” from Edit Video Faster officially since February 12th. Since then I:
  1. Turned 30 years old,
  2. Went to Spring Training,
  3. Recorded a handful of fantastic Cmd+Edit podcasts,
  4. Started a practice of learning a new language (Vietnamese) and
  5. Been working my tail off seemingly 25 hours a day with freelance work.

Life just has. not. stopped. I’m sure you can relate.

#Freelancelife has been ever-consuming. I try to squeeze in an hour here and there. Go out for happy hour or dinner with friends then head to my iMac when I get back to make a quick revision and let something export overnight. This isn’t me complaining or whining. Quite the opposite. It’s kinda fun in a weird way.

Over the past 2ish months I’ve started a handful of small projects and, more importantly, two really big projects. The first large project is a massive training course in the healthcare field. Approximately 80-100 1-minute videos. Phew… FWIW I’m working in Premiere. This was my call and it’s odd to say that I choose Premiere over Media Composer. Why? Let’s admit it. Premiere still handles mixed media a lot better than MC, or at least it’s easier to get it in the NLE so you can begin cutting right away. My client is sending me all sorts of images, GIFs, .mpeg2s, .mp4s, .mp3s, etc. Everything is a different size or frame rate. Premiere just lets me edit. ::ducks under desks::

For this project I have to deliver a handful of videos each week. I’m maybe 25-30% done at the time of this writing.

The other big project is a comedy show! Which I don’t know how much I can talk about! So I’m just going to say that I have six episodes to cut along with all the marketing material. Currently one and a half episodes have been cut and we want to launch in early May. ?

In the coming weeks I’ll also be working on getting an LLC for my freelance business (which EVF will probably ultimately rest under). That’ll be an adventure in itself; or at least I’ve convinced myself that it will be. I’m thinking of writing a post on my process of getting an LLC. Would something like that interest you to read?

The next several weeks are going to be how the previous weeks were. Jam-packed with freelance work and life. Which is fun and interesting and TBH thrills me to be in the middle of. I just wish I had more hours in the day to commit to my other projects like this one or new projects I want to pursue. I’m attempting to figure it out though, as we all are.

I’m still unsure if or when I’ll be back with any regularly scheduled content here on EVF but I’m always here for you if you need anything.

– Josh