Last summer I wrote a post called What’s working for me in post right now. In it I mentioned a handful of items, methods, services and more that I’ve been using which have been helping me tremendously in post production. I feel like it’s time to update it with what’s been working for me more recently in what I’m calling: What’s Working for Me in Post – Summer 2015 Edition.
Folder and Bin Organization in Avid Media Composer
My entire editing career I’ve used the exact same folder and bin organization structure for my projects in Avid Media Composer. In fact, I made a quick tutorial about it:
Year after year it’s benefitted me. I know exactly where something will be in a project every time I enter it no matter if I worked on it yesterday or two years prior.
Recently though it is more important than ever to have this system in place. A couple weeks ago I added a third member to my team at my 9-5. Having a second person under me I need to eliminate as many questions as possible such as, “Where should this go?” or “How do I find that?” Having strict folder and bin organization in Media Composer answers many of those questions for me. Plus I need to know where they are putting everything and since they follow my structure it’s very easy for me to find anything in a project.
Current Project Log
Speaking of organization, there is one basic tool I use to track all of my video projects – a Current Project Log or CPL for short. I mentioned it a couple episodes ago on the Command+Edit Podcast. There’s a link to download a template CPL in the show notes here.
Anyway, since adding my newest team member it’s getting more and more difficult to keep track of all the projects that are going on. My CPL is a simple and effective way to do this though.
What I do is have a Word Doc broken up into four sections: Current Projects, Projects in Review, Upcoming Projects and Recently Delivered Projects. Each section has four columns – Project, Editor, Status and Producer. Each project I or someone on my team is working on gets a row. Each time progress is made on a project it gets a new dated line with the details of what happened in the status column. I update it every few days moving projects between the sections as needed.
I find three huge benefits to tracking my projects this way. First, I have a chronological list of everything I’ve done for a given project. This is huge for tracking time spent on projects and deadlines. Second, I get to check in on my team every few days to make sure they’re on track with all their projects. The third benefit is that I can visually see how busy I am each day when I walk in the door.
I have six email inboxes on my phone. I get a fair amount of emails. One thing that stresses me out is having packed inboxes. I strive for Inbox Zero (having zero unread emails in your inbox). Ever since I went to Japan last November I’ve been struggling keeping my inboxes empty or at least near empty. It is like I’m constantly fighting from behind trying to keep my inboxes empty. I finally got back to Inbox Zero and put a system in place to hopefully keep it that way.
I use Gmail for 5 of my 6 inboxes. For all those inboxes I setup the following system:
The inbox is broken up into three sections. At the top is Unread. Below that is Starred. Beneath that is Everything else. You can do this by going to your settings, clicking on the Inbox tab, changing Inbox type to Priority Inbox. Then choose Unread, Starred and Everything else.
I also incorporated a star system. I use a couple different colored stars – each color means something a little different. Yellow are my tasks, purple are one of my editor’s tasks and green are the other editor’s. I have a blue ‘i’ icon, which means this is important informational material I need to keep handy for the time being. I have an orange arrow thingy which means I’m waiting on someone to do something for it. Lastly I have a red exclamation point, which means this is super important and I need to do it right away.
How’s your inbox organized? Do you like this way? Leave me your thoughts in the comments!
A few months ago I cancelled my Lynda.com subscription. I had been subscribed at $25/month to Lynda.com for years. Lynda is a fantastic resource – it taught me WordPress, beefed up some After Effects skills and more.
Alas, I realized I wasn’t using it nearly as much as I should have been. And the classes I was taking really had nothing to do with improving the things that I wanted to improve. I was just taking short, high-level courses since I didn’t have the time or patience to sit through a 6-hour course on Expressions in After Effects.
I may not have access to these courses anymore but I’m not wasting time ironically watching time management videos.
Meditation and Headspace
I can use some of that free time I’m not spending on Lynda.com on meditating. I know I’ve talked about to before on Command+Edit (episode 1, maybe?). Meditating for 10-15 minutes every few days has done wonders for me.
Sometimes I just sit on my couch or on the bus or somewhere and do free, unguided meditation. Most of the time however I use an app called Headspace. Headspace does guided meditation and I love it. I signed up for the full year (something like $70 I think?) months ago.
Meditating might not be for you and that’s okay. If you want to give it a shot though, I highly recommend trying out Headspace. They do a free 10-lesson trial that you can repeat over and over again if you want which is what I did before taking the dive and signing up.
What’s working for you?
Folder and bin organization in Avid Media Composer, my Current Project Log, organizing my inboxes, ditching Lynda.com and meditating have been working for me recently. What’s working for you?
Let me know in the comments!
Thanks as always for reading. If you could share this with another video editor or creative professional I’d greatly appreciate it! I’ll see you soon with a new post or tutorial!