Hey there and welcome back to the Video Editor’s Digest! In this edition we cover post production at Netflix, a new feature in Premiere, 2D vs. 3D animation & more.Read more
Hey there and welcome back to the Video Editor’s Digest!
In case you’re new around here, in the Video Editor’s Digest you get the lowdown on some cool happenings from around the internet on things related to video editing, video production, or just being a creative professional. It also gives me a chance to update you about new pieces on the EVF website and YouTube channel and tell you any freelance or work stories I may have.
One last thing before getting started. I created a form for you to submit resources of your own or ones you stumble across for publication in future Video Editor’s Digests. You can access it here.
Alright, let’s get into it!Read more
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.”
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.
Every freelancer video editor needs equipment. Whether you work in someone else’s edit bay or your own in your basement or a combination of the two, like me, you’ll need a handful of items to run your business.
You don’t need a $25,000 edit bay to have a freelance video editing business anymore. You need reliable equipment that fits your needs.
This post is about equipment that I have and use on a daily basis. I’ll tell you what I think are the best hard drives for video editing, my favorite head phones, what I’ve bought that grows dust and more. If you’d like to see a post on the software and services I use let me know in the comments! Alright, let’s jump right in.
The Essential Freelance Video Editing Equipment
I purchased, or rather my wife purchased my iMac back in 2012. It was a wedding present from her and fast-forwarding to 2016 it still runs fantastic. I wouldn’t edit a 4K feature on it but for what I do most days it gets the job done like a champ.
Here are some specs:
- Size: 21.5”
- Processor: 2.9GHz Intel Core i5
- Memory: 16 GB 1600 MHz DDR3
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M 512 MB
- Accessories: Magic Mouse and Wired Keyboard with Number Pad (you gotta have the number pad!) If you find them useful, an editor’s keyboard like this one can be super helpful.
Fantom G Force 2TB USB 3.0 External Hard Drive Black
I love these hard drives. I firmly believe they are the best hard drives for video editing. There are cheaper ones. There are faster ones. There are larger ones. But this one, this exact one, has never failed me. Never, ever, ever. I’m not even afraid of jinxing it. For three years the same one, now retired, traveled with me in my backpack into DC. My commute consisted of a jam-packed commuter bus with my backpack jammed in front of my feet at my seat then a mile walk to work through the city through cold, rain, snow, heat, whatever.
The only downside is that it needs a power source. That’s kinda a drag if you want to edit from anywhere but I’ve never had an issue. I highly recommend always traveling with them in the box they come in with the styrofoam. They hardly move when they are in it but with any hard drive if you drop it, spill your coffee on it or just generally treat it poorly it will fail you.
Sennheiser HD6 Mix Headphones
These headphones changed my life. After going through half a dozen different headphones the past few years, I’ve landed on these. I’m nearly a year into using them and can’t imagine editing without ‘em. I take them to every single gig. I take them to Starbucks. I take them whenever I travel. They are a 100/100.
These are not “noise cancelling”. However they are noise reducing. The thing is…I get startled at least 3x a day because I cannot hear a gosh darn thing when they are on.
One of my favorite features is that you can choose which side to plug the wire into. This helps me because at one of my recurring gigs the mixer sits on the left and at home my headphones are plugged in to my right. It’s such a small thing but not having to fuss with a wire in front of me all day long saves me so many seconds that continue to add up each day.
Link to them on Sennheiser (they’re $179 here)
Link to them on Amazon (they’re $150 here)
How else are you supposed to spend render breaks when everything is firewalled on the computer you’re working on?
The Non-Essential Equipment
Sony NEX6 Camera
You don’t need a camera to be a video editor. This camera would never cut it on a heavy duty shoot but for vlogging, quick interviews and small photo shoots it gets the job done for an affordable price.
I don’t believe this camera is made any longer but Sony has comparable mirrorless cameras.
AmazonBasics 60-Inch Lightweight Tripod with Bag
A few months ago my buddy asked me to take some “professional” photos. I don’t claim to be a professional photographer or even an amateur one. But he was in a pinch and knew I had a decent camera (see above!) so I told him sure. However I didn’t have a tripod yet for the camera. I jumped on Amazon, Primed it to me and the next day had this tripod. It’s decent. I have the worst time fitting it back into its bag and it’s a little cumbersome to use but you can’t beat the price or the weight.
Since it is so lightweight you need to be very careful not to leave your camera resting on the tripod while you walk away. This tripod can tip easily if anyone bumps it. But again for the price are you going to complain?
Movo PM10 Deluxe Smartphone Lav Mic
This is a tiny clip-on lav that plugs into your iPhone or other smartphone. On an iPhone you use the Voice Memos app that comes pre-installed. Plug it in and hit record. You can also use this on a computer. It’s super handy. I’ve recorded podcasts, interviews, vlogs, etc. with this. It’ll never replace a “true” lav but it gets the job done for small projects.
You cannot adjust the audio levels so do a test or two before hitting record. You may have to move it closer or further from the speaker’s mouth. Also make sure to unplug the mic when you want to listen back to the recording. I did this like the first six times I used it and kept forgetting that the mic was plugged into the headphone jack so the phone or computer wouldn’t playback through the speakers.
Link to Lav on Movo (here it’s $25)
Link to it on Amazon (here it’s $15) (BTW apparently there’s a double mic version of this! I might have to pick one up…)
CAD U37 USB Studio Condenser Mic
This is the mic I use for Command+Edit and the EVF tutorials and vlogs. Just being real…it’s average-to-decent quality. There are much better quality USB mics out there but again, like most of my equipment, it gets the job done and that’s all I need. I recommend it if you are in the <$50 range. Just make sure you put a piece of graffers tape over the blue light that never turns off while it’s plugged in!
Wacom Bamboo Pen and Tablet
I never use this. Maybe one day I will. Some editors like my buddy Nick swears by it. You might swear by it. I cannot get the hang of it. I don’t believe Wacom makes this tablet anymore but from what I hear Wacom is pretty much the top choice if you’re in the market for one.
This product gets 4.4 stars on Amazon. I also got it on Black Friday for like $45 a few years ago. It’s a tablet. It gathers dust at my desk. But if you’re curious if I have one, this is it.
Moleskin and Mechanical Pencil
Maybe I write too much but I always have a Moleskin notebook and a mechanical pencil on me. I use it for ideas, blog posts, editing notes, client feedback, etc. And it doesn’t look like I’m playing on my phone while I’m in meetings.
What’s in your edit bay?
I’m pretty sure that’s literally every bit of equipment I use running my freelance video editing business. It’s not always the fanciest of equipment. What’s important though is that it is all reliable, convenient and affordable.
You’re turn. Anything on your equipment list that’s different? Leave your thoughts below!
Two more quick things. First, if you know an editor that would like this post could you share it with them? I love the community we’re building here and want to keep the momentum going!
And second, just so you know, some of these links are called affiliate links. All that means is that if you were to purchase it or something from their site (like Amazon) I would get a very small commission. It’s no extra cost to you and maybe one day from it I’ll be able to buy a 6-pack of Dogfish Head 60 Minute or Peyton some pumpkin Fruitables she loves or my wife a bouquet of flowers for putting up with me writing three quarters of this post in bed.
Hey, if you’re new around here and want to stick around click here to signup to get notified about new posts and get my weekly newsletter that gives tips, resources, articles, videos and more to make you the best editor you can be.
Hey! I just wanted to give you a couple updates on what’s going on here at EVF.
First off, I’m about to be busier than ever. I’m shooting every weekday until… August 29th. Yep. The rest of the month. I’ll be shooting in four different cities and on top of that I’ll have to be editing a lot of what I shoot at night.
I can’t tell if all this is coming at a good time or not. I would like to get my mind off things but at the same time want to be around for everyone. Over the past month I have lost two people very close to me, one very unexpectedly. Myself, my friends and my family have been weathering the storm admirably and I’m extremely proud of them, proud to be part of my circle of friends and proud to be a Short.
I’ve been writing for my friends over at ScreenLight for…well…a long time. It’s been over two years and in the Internet world that’s a really long time. Over that time I’ve been able to stockpile a bunch of writings that I want to share with you today. 23 of them to be exact.
The posts range from Media Composer tips to the Pomodoro Technique for time management to Apps for Editors and so much more. I’ve broken them up into a couple of categories. At the very top are a few of my favorites and ones I think you should definitely read.
My Favorite Posts
Today is a huge day. A monumental day! Do you know what today is?
It is the one-year anniversary of Edit Video Faster. My blog birthday! 365 days ago I was up late one night and decided to stop waiting and just go after it. Here’s how it all started.
I’m not going to spend the rest of this post recapping what happened over the past year. Basically I can sum it up in that I wrote a bunch of posts and made a ton of tutorials with the goal of helping video editors or creative professionals like me. The results came in the form of overwhelming support from my readers, people actually bought products I created, new friends were made, I created a course for Tuts+, I started a podcast, I got new freelance clients and I pushed my abilities further than I ever thought I could. Oh, and last week just to top it all off… I got to write a post for Avid!
Okay, okay. No more bragging. I promise. I feel very vain at the moment.
Being on Avid’s site seriously means so much to me. I was legit nearly brought to tears. However I was in the middle of a shoot when the article went live and thought it’d be a little inappropriate to start tearing up so I tried to keep my joy and excitement to a minimum, at least externally.
In today’s post I want to touch on what happens when you attempt to help people without expecting anything in return. Let’s call this unconditional help.
I want to make you a better video editor. That’s what I’ve been doing through my site, YouTube channel and other avenues for the past year. Pretty much this entire time I’ve been helping a faceless audience. I’ve been guessing at what you want to learn and hoping I’m using something relatable to be able to teach you. I know it’s working for a lot of you (I love the thank you emails I get!). However a lot of the time I still don’t know what you are struggling with. You, the one reading my words right now, I want to help you. That’s why I want to be your coach.
Recently I’ve had a huge problem. I have had several requests come in for complex custom tutorials that can’t be reused for everyone. I want to help these individuals out but I have such limited time after my 9-5, creating content for this site, walking Peyton, another new secret project I’m announcing soon (!!!) and trying to have something close to a social life. I have two options. I can:
- Spend several hours creating these custom tutorials, which results in lost time either with my family or creating content for this site or
- I can keep my family time and EVF content creation time but not be able to help these individuals in the way that they want/need help since email and screen shots aren’t enough sometimes.
Neither option works for me.
I cannot justify helping one individual person at the expense of not being able to create content for this site (and thus helping many). It isn’t fair to everyone else…that means you! My family time will always come first and with my limited free time I need some grounds for cutting out on one of them. That justification comes in the form of private, one-on-one premium coaching.