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Tag: video editor tips (page 1 of 12)

The Creation Cycle of a Video Editing Project

You probably don’t edit airport employee training videos. You probably don’t edit online marketing videos for healthcare startups. You probably don’t edit small-budget YouTube comedy series. These are all types of videos I edit. They all have different audiences, goals and styles. Each video contains unique challenges and are different in so many ways from one another. One thing is the same though — the creation cycle.

For just about every video I edit I go through the exact same routine. In this post I’m going to explain what that process is.

I could write about pre-production for hours but I’m going to start from after the footage is shot and we’re in post. Let’s get into it!

The Creation Cycle of a Video Editing Project

Phase 1: Pre-Production in Post Production

Before I begin what many would call “the actual editing” of a video there’s a lot that takes place. The time you spend right now in this phase will reap more benefits than time spent in any other phase. You will in all likelihood edit video faster with more time spent working on the tasks in this phase. It’s kinda like pre-production but you’re already in post.

Review pre-production notes

Read over any notes you have from the client/producer/director/whoever on the goals, audience, specifics, branding guidelines, must-haves, must-have nots, etc. of the video. Alternatively if possible you should talk to the client/producer to go over these details again. Things change during production and sometimes you’re left out of the loop. Tackle any possible surprises ASAP!

Review the script

~90% of my work is off of a script. I read the script front to back to remind myself of everything the project entails. If there’s a shot list that goes along with the script I review this as well. As I read through the script I note any time I need something other than footage. More on this directly below.

Gather non-footage elements

Since most of my work comes in the form of training courses or marketing videos I generally need more elements than just footage. Here are just a few examples:

  • Logos
  • Graphics (for me that’s a lot of maps, schematics, layouts, product shots, screen shots, etc.)
  • Stock Music (I love using Soundstripe — this is an affiliate link BTW)
  • People’s names and titles for lower thirds
  • Credits
  • Animations
  • Pre-Made Promos/Commercials/Intros/Outros/Credits for the beginning or end of the videos

Reach out to who you need to in order to get all these assets and/or gather them yourself.

Get the footage

Get the footage from the videographer/client/director/producer/whoever. I don’t do anything with it yet.

Create project in your NLE

I finally get to open my NLE at this point. Premiere, Media Composer, whatever… all the steps are the same. Don’t get too excited yet. There’s still have a long way to go before “editing” begins.

At this point I create all the folders and bins for the project. Here’s a tutorial on my folder and bin structure in Media Composer. It’s virtually the same in Premiere.

Import and organize assets

Now that the project in my NLE has the proper folder and bin structure I start importing in all the assets (minus the footage). Put everything you have in their correct places. Import any music, sound effects, title templates, graphics, lower thirds, animations, etc. that you know you need and that you have.

Import and organize footage

Now I import my footage. I choose to import and organize the footage after the other assets because there’s usually so much footage it’s overwhelming and I’d slack on organizing the assets because I’d just want to start editing. And the footage will be fresher in my mind this way. At this point spend some time, probably several hours, reviewing and cataloging each shot. I like to use Clip Colors, descriptions of each shot and re-organize the footage into “good”, “bad” and “maybe” bins.

Phase 2: The First Cut

Now let’s get down to business.

Create sequence

Pretty self-explanatory. I open my sequences bin and create my sequence for the video.

Start first cut

I throw all the “good” footage onto the timeline. Since I already took the time to organize this it’s a simple drag and drop from the bin onto the timeline. I put everything on the far right of the timeline with ample space (10-30 minutes of blank space before the footage dump depending on the video usually). Then I start cutting.

I cut the heads and tails off of the “good” footage and start piecing them together of the left side of the sequence.

Next I throw all the “maybe” footage onto the timeline. And repeat the same process — cut off the heads and tails and add the shots that work to the “good” footage on the left side of the timeline.

Complete first cut

This could take some time. I spend more time on my first cut than on the rest of the cuts put together.

After I think I’m at a good place, I watch my first cut alone. Then I alter and revise as needed.

Quick pass at the audio and color

I’m fairly certain this goes against common practice and what most people recommend. This is because you are going to have to do a real pass at the audio and color correction before shipping it off to the client and/or final output anyway so a lot of people think this is a waste of time (or at least this is what I believe people think). However I find that doing a quick pass before anyone else looks at it to be extremely beneficial. I don’t spend a ton of time on it but I definitely do a rough balancing of the audio levels and get out as many “ums” and lip smacks as I can. I set the contrast and color balance to any poorly lit or just weird-looking shots. I find that when you do this the producer or director or whoever reviews your video first won’t be as critical of your work. They take it and take you more seriously. You can reiterate that it’s a rough cut all you want but it doesn’t matter — most of the time these people can’t see past surface-level flaws even though you know you’ll fix them. Take care of this stuff now if you can quickly and painlessly do it.

Phase 3: Internal Review and Revisions

First review time

For a lot of what I do it goes to internal review first before going off to the client. This reviewer is generally the producer. The goal of this review is to make sure you’re on the right track and there are no glaring mistakes in the video.

Create a fine cut based on the internal review

Next I fix anything the internal reviewer found then I go through and make my video “pretty”. I tighten up any transitions. If I was questioning a shot choice I finally make a decision and know that I have to be confident in my choice. When the producer or client asks, “is there a better shot for this?” I can say, “yes” with confidence. I then go through the audio with the headphones on and make sure all the levels are balanced. Color correction comes next. At this point the video should look pretty darn good.

Quick internal quality check

The internal reviewer does a quick quality check to make sure there isn’t anything disastrously wrong with the video like offline media, misspellings, etc.

Phase 4: Client Review and Revisions

Ship it off to the client!

Time to crack a cold one. This is a huge milestone in a project. I create a new folder on my Screenlight account, upload the video and create a link for the producer to send to the client.

Go through the client’s feedback

Hopefully the client’s vision is being realized and feedback is minimal. Occasionally the video will be way off base but more times than not you’re on the right path. I put a marker on the timeline for every comment they have. Then I go through and make the fixes.

Review fixes internally

I sit with the producer and show them the changes I made to the video and get their thumbs up.

Post new video to Screenlight

I update the video on Screenlight and inform the producer. Then cross my fingers we’re good.

Phase 5: Delivery

Green lighted!

Once I get the thumbs up from the client I create the final video export. After the file is created I send it off to the proper people. Then crack another cold one. That’s it! I’m done! Onto the next project…

Putting It All Together

I consider this whole process from start-to-end “editing”. Editing is so much more than selecting shots and choosing which wipe to use. It involves reviewing client notes, organizing footage, finding stock music, tracking changes with markers and so much more.

This creation cycle is pretty much the same for every video project I edit. What do you do that differs? Let me know in the comments!

– Josh

PS: If you’re new around here and want to be notified 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 👊🏼

Premiere Pro Tips That’ll Save You Hours — Command+Edit Podcast Episode 81

Hey there!

Nick and I are back for a brand new Command+Edit Podcast episode that’ll give you a ton of useful, time-saving Adobe Premiere Pro tips that you may never have heard before.

Some of the tips in this episode:

  • Quickly soloing/muting tracks
  • Update colors of clips in bins onto timeline
  • PDF Viewer Plugin
  • Trim to Playhead
  • New Search Bin Query
  • See how often a clip is used and where it’s used across a project
  • Pancake Timeline Wacom Macro Hack

Other links and more episodes over on the Cmd+Edit site.

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.

I Got A New Job!

It’s been awhile since I’ve truly written something for EVF. Actually it’s been awhile since I’ve written much of anything. My writing muscle was burnt out after letting my former daily blog expire and disappear into a digital black hole back in August. Two years of writing and publishing everyday…

Fast forward a quarter of a year later and I’m starting to get the itch again. But where do I write? I’ve always felt that with what I publish on EVF I need to be very calculated and stick to the facts and provide “expert-level” insights at all times. Well, even though I believe myself to be a more-than-successful editor and video professional, I can’t always provide that A+, top-of-the-line content with the tiny amount of time I can commit to EVF.

With that being said, I’m just going to let the words keep on flowing and write a bit about editing and life.

BTW I’m free writing right now. It can be a lot of fun and almost meditative at times. You should try it out if you ever get in a creative funk. Please excuse any typos or poor grammar because I’m just churning out the words.

Recently I took a new full-time position. I haven’t really broadcasted this anywhere. Nick and I recorded a podcast episode the other day where I talked about it some. It hasn’t published yet but should be episode 82. I’m absolutely positive I won’t remember to come back to this post and link it. 🙂

My new position is part editor (let’s call this ~70% of my responsibilities), producer (~20%) and project manager (~10%). Full-time freelancing is officially done. For now. I loved my time freelancing. Loved it. Even the stressful times when I couldn’t guarantee more than a few hundred dollars of work on a given week. I can absolutely see myself going back to that lifestyle too.

This position though was too good to pass up. I enjoy the content, my coworkers and my day-to-day work. Plus the paid time off. Uhhh I’ve missed the paid time off so much. I’m only 8 years into this career. It feels like though that I could always go back to freelancing. And vice versa. Yes, it sucks losing out on some gigs. Last week I had to turn down two projects. My network will take some sort of hit. As a professional though I think we should always be working on and building our networks. I recorded this fantastic Command+Edit episode with my friend and fellow editor Rhonda Thain if you want to hear me talk more about it.

I still have a couple small projects I’m working on on the side. And a couple pet projects I want to take on. The experience of running my own company, getting an LLC, doing my bookkeeping each week, having a real accountant, cold emailing, warm calling, invoicing and just overall doing many, many uncomfortable things have made me a better editor, professional and person.

Remember, I’m still free writing here so I know I’m about to lurch into a new topic like an unexpected jumpcut.

The software I’m using now is relatively the same. I’m in Premiere probably 60% of the time. Media Composer 30% of the time. And After Effects and Photoshop round out the rest. I’m rocking Premiere 2017 on most projects with the hopes that no one accidently updates to 2018 forcing me to update as well. And MC is on version 8.5.2. It’s a little behind and I miss some of the cool new features I’ve been seeing but it definitely still gets the job done.

Okay last topic before cutting myself off.

Next month I’m headed out to Los Angeles for the first time! Crazy, right?! How have I never been? I’m pumped. I know I mentioned it in a somewhat recent Video Editor’s Digest but again for anyone out there I’m thinking of doing a small happy hour. Seriously small. Like 4-6 of us max. If you want to join shoot me a message.

Thank you for indulging me and letting me get some stuff off my chest. If like this kind of post — more chatty, less instructional — let me know. Or let me know if you hate it and I should stick to basic little video tutorials like this one which somehow has 100,000+ views. Wut?

That’s it from me. Til next time…

– Josh

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