In this video and article discuss the questions video editors should ask when starting a new project.

Recapping The Questions Video Editors Should Ask When Starting a New Project

The following are questions I ask when I’m a video editor on a new project. These questions are typically for clients I’ve worked with in the past. We could and should do a whole other video on questions to ask new clients.

Question #1: What Does the End Product Look Like for the New Project?

What I want to accomplish by asking these questions is to figure out the end product. Always keep the end in mind.

Where does the product live? Does it live on the internet? Or TV? Will it be played back at a conference on a massive screen?

This should answer questions like the settings for your sequence in your NLE. It should also make you aware of any weird type of file output needed that you might not be familiar with.

Question #2: Who is this project for?

Who is the audience? Is it for doctors, students, the general public, 18-25 year old females, 65+ year old males, doggy parents, or parents of newborns?

You want to know who it is for so you know how to pace the video. You’re going to edit something for a senior in high school completely different than a senior citizen.

Some of these questions could feel like no-brainers. However it’s good for the people sitting in the room with you to go over these details as they maybe haven’t discussed this before. Remember, an hour in pre-production saves two hours in post.

Question #3: What is the message I want to get across in the New Project?

What is it that you want the viewer to do after watching the video? Do you want them to vote, donate, cry, call their mother, hug their child, go to your website, buy a product, or follow you on Instagram?

Question #4: Basic Tech questions for the Video eDitor

Ask the basic technical questions. Some examples:

  • Who is shooting it?
  • What are they shooting it on?
  • Will sound be separate?
  • Is there a colorist to work with or a sound person?
  • Do I have to use a specific NLE?
  • Are there stock resources available to me? What sites and what’s the budget?
  • Will this require any specific codecs or plugins?

Question #5: Video Editing Things in the Past that Went Right or Wrong

If you’ve worked with these people in the past, discuss anything that made projects easy or difficult. Examples would be a super tight deadline or a really picky client when it comes to music or fonts.

Take what you’ve done in the past, relive it, and try to ward off any issues that caused you grief in previous projects. Learn from your mistakes instead of continuing to repeat them.

Any hesitations that you have about the project needs to get brought up now. Maybe you’re taking a trip next month or maybe you think there needs to be budget for an assistant editor. Bring this up now. Even if there’s nothing you can do about it, at least it’s known to the powers at be.

Question #6: What’s the Deadline for the Project?

Okay, we know most deadlines are b*llsh*t. Make sure you know when you need to do your stuff by and actually by. Not by some made up date for no reason.

Get a firm date. “Let’s get this done in a two weeks” isn’t what you want. If you do get this, ask why it needs to get done by then. Always ask for more time. Give yourself as much time as you can because you never know when you’ll need it. It’s better to under-promise and over-deliver. Just don’t get too out of hand with buffer time.

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– Josh