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 Mistake as a Video Editor and How I Became a Capturing Master

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

My first big mistake as a professional video editor came quick. 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 8:30 AM 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