An Editor’s Biggest Struggle

An Editor's Biggest Struggle: Procrastination
An Editor’s Biggest Struggle: Procrastination

Procrastination. In the first few months of this website I’m trying to publish at least once a week, preferably every Wednesday. This past week I had a shoot out of town Monday-Wednesday. I knew I had a (self-imposed) deadline to hit but procrastinated the days before the trip and ended up not getting a post written. I waited to take action until it was too late.

The same happens in the edit bay. We get an important, large project or task but hold off on it until it is too late. We end up rushing or put it together 5 minutes at a time alternating with 5 minutes of Facebook. Sometimes you just have to stop everything and focus on the most important task at hand.

This morning I could have easily held off writing this post until Monday. But once I took a step back from my day and looked at everything I was doing (messing around on Twitter, taking a class on Lynda, debating about going to the dog park) I realized this post is the most important thing for me to do. So I stopped what I was doing, which was learning Japanese (we can talk about that in a different post!), put on my favorite song of the moment, opened up Word and started typing.

Parkinson’s Law states that, “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” If we are given three weeks to complete a project we’re usually going to wait until there’s five days left to start on it. Instead of looking at three weeks to complete a project why not break down all the steps – import, log, string out, etc. – and give yourself mini deadlines.

I’m actually in this scenario right now. I have about three weeks to complete editing my most recent shoot. I know I could crank it out in five days, but it wouldn’t be my best work and I’d be super stressed. Instead I’m breaking it down into these mini deadlines. Yesterday’s goal was to get everything imported. Today it’s to organize all my shots and go through my notes (I haven’t done it yet but have a couple hours blocked off later this afternoon!).

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An Hour in Pre-Production Saves Two in Post

This article is on the importance of pre-production for a video editing project. Pre-production is the easiest way to speed up video editing.

My First Big Screw Up as a Video Editor and How I Became a Master at Capturing

My first big screw-up as a video editor
My first big screw up as a video editor

It’s October 2009. I’d been at my first job out of college for a couple weeks. My post production experience consisted of a handful of school projects. And Avid Media Composer? The software was still completely foreign to me. I had been using it a bit and reading the manual since starting my job but still didn’t understand why NOTHING MOVED WHEN I CLICKED IT ON THE TIMELINE! All that FCP7 training for nothing…

There are a couple things you should know about where I was working. First, we created training videos for a specific industry. Second, we were a non-profit. That means we kept as much as we could in-house. When we didn’t have to hire out for a professional voiceover (VO) artist we used one of our people. And third, we captured our VO into Avid Media Composer through a mixer into an Adrenaline.

So there I am. It’s 8:30am and I’m in “Avid 5” (my glorified closet) running an XLR cable from our sound booth (another glorified closest). The senior editor asked me to record a script with our VO person while she was off that day so she could start on it first thing when she got back. She ran me through the drill the day before. Plug XRL cable into the mixer. Turn on phantom power. Turn off speakers. Plug in headphones. Open Avid. Open VO bin. Ctlr+7 to open the Capture Tool (I was on a PC back then). Name the clip. Pull up faders. Mic check. Okay, I can hear the VO person. The levels on the mixer are lighting up. Hit record. Check for blinking red light in the Capture Tool. Wow…I did it!

Fast forward some two hours and 50 pages of script later.

Our VO person finishes the last line. I stop the capture. The master clip appears in the VO bin. I quickly save the bin and take a deep breath in relief. I wrap up the cable and put away the “Quiet Please” signs. I grab my second cup of coffee and settle back into my edit bay.

I double-click the master clip of the recording session to start editing out the bad takes. I press the spacebar to play the clip and silence…

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Bins Setup for New Projects in Avid

This quick tutorial is on how I setup my bins and folders for new projects in Avid Media Composer. Proper media management starts here.

Sometimes Done is Better than Perfect

Sometimes done is better than perfect.
Photo by Rayi Christian W on Unsplash

Over the weekend I recorded a quick and dirty video for my other website. I was asked by someone who knows what I do for a living why I didn’t add a ton of production value to it like new graphics, sound effects, titling, etc. My response… sometimes done is better than perfect.

If you’ve read some of my other posts you may have seen this recurring of theme of “just finish the job.” Sometimes you don’t have to spend hours (days, weeks or months) crafting the highest-quality video you can create and still get the same desired result. It’s pretty simple. Let me explain…

Know your audience’s expectations

crowded mall
Know what your audience expects.
Photo by Anna Dziubinska on Unsplash

In the beer world and on YouTube, where the video I created lives, my viewers just want the information. A bit of entertainment won’t hurt either. They don’t necessarily care about how I look, mixed color temperatures or jump cuts. Does X help them do Y? For my video, does this beer (X) help them enjoy an evening better (Y)?

Knowing this I can get away with less than ideal lighting and average sound so I can knock out videos in no time (which I should do more). I didn’t have to stage any lights, hide my dog upstairs or, most importantly, shave. Post becomes simpler because I can get away with just minor tweaks to the color and audio and then use a couple simple lower third templates I’ve already built. My audience will only complain if the information I gave them is wrong. This is where you can spend some extra time on the content. It took about an hour from concept to posting this video online and the majority of the time I was able to spend on figuring out the content.

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The String Out Edit — 10 Ways to Edit Them Faster

This article discusses 10 methods that will improve your string out edit and have you editing them faster than you ever thought was possible.

That time I opened a beer and had a website before I finished it

Over the past year I’ve had this urge to create a website dedicated to helping people edit video faster. I’ve spent months planning. I created and recreated mind maps of ideas, topics, courses, products, etc. Started, stopped then started over again only to find myself in the same place – nowhere. All this planning took … Read more