Monday, 7 July 2014

5 Tips to Become an Efficient Editor

Video editing is not a task you can fast-forward through. If you rush yourself through it, you will probably end up spending more time fixing those little mistakes you didn’t foresee because of the stress of turnaround time. I know deadlines can be tough, so we have to do the best we can to accomplish them and survive along the way.

Do not fear my friends! I have found just the cure for all of you, hard-working editors out there, who are looking for time-management and efficiency tips that could help you edit your projects without loosing your sanity.

*Note: This short guide is “scientifically proven” by the Swagger team!

  1. Make a tasks list
Once you’re assigned with a project, break it down into a list of tasks as specific as possible. This will help you accomplish your deadline step by step, without feeling too overwhelmed.

Here at Swagger we love to use Asana to manage our tasks and keep our team up to speed with deadlines and projects statuses. There are also other similar task management tools you can check out for the same purpose, such as Trackolade, DropTask or Azendoo. Some of them are also available at the App store, so you can still manage your tasks on your cell phone or tablet.

  1. Set up daily editing goals
Once you’re all set with your tasks list, get even more specific and set up what I like to call daily editing goals. For example:

-Finish rough cut (no later than 2:00PM)
-Review rough cut with the team (3:00PM)
-Apply internal revisions (3:30PM)
-Export out low-res version for the animator (4:00 PM)

Trust me, it is all about organization. I’ve found that if I schedule my day ahead by listing my own small, achievable goals, I end up accomplishing more in less time, because I set up my mind to reach those before the day is over. 

  1. Use markers, labels and notes
I’m an Adobe Premiere lover, and a huge labeling fan. Add them together and you get an obsessed editor with colorful timelines and lots of markers (I swear they look like that for a reason. I swear).

Here at Swagger, one of the first things I learned as an editor is the popular phrase: project prep is key (along with a couple of other tips -you can visit one of my first blog posts to learn all about them). However, sometimes we seem to think that once we’re done prepping, we can stop worrying about organization. Well, let me tell you: No!

Keeping your project and timeline as neat and clean as possible at all times is ALSO key. This allows other editors to jump on your project and give you a hand without feeling lost or wasting time trying to figure out what you did, where the assets are located, which one is the current sequence, etc.

This is where markers, labels and notes come handy:
            -Use markers for editing annotations, graphics directions, etc.
            -Add notes & comments to your markers to explain even further details.
-Use and customize color labels to identify best takes from bad takes, graphics, b-roll or to split your video in different sections.

  1. Focus on the solution, not the problem
We know things can go wrong: your 30 min upload stopped, your export got corrupted, your editing software quit and you didn’t hit “save”. That’s all right. There’s ALWAYS a solution. Always. I know turn around times are an issue in this business, but there’s no point in getting overwhelmed because, guess what? Worrying and complaining takes time. And… time is exactly what you need.

So, to focus on the solution instead of the problem, you probably should:
-Stop and take a 3 min break: Stop for a second and take a deep breath. Stress and time pressure can blind us from the most obvious way to troubleshoot.
-Do some research: Instead of running in circles, you can go on the web and type in exactly what’s happening. There are lots of online forums where people discuss these issues and help each other figure out how to fix them. Believe me, it’s very unlikely that this has only happened to you.
-Delegate: I’m sure your team is there for you when you need them. Ask for help, split the work so you can all accomplish your deadline in time through a group effort. That’s how we do it here at Swagger!

  1. Pay attention to details, but don’t overthink it!
Before exporting out your video, I recommend you watch it at least 2-3 times to make sure everything is spot on. I also encourage you to get the opinion from one or a couple of your coworkers. Trust me, a second pair of eyes is always helpful, especially when you’ve been working on the same project for the past two weeks and have almost memorized every cut and transition.

Even when you’ve spent a lot of time on a project and already started “filling in the blanks”, you should always pay attention to details. Is every text graphic spelled correctly? Are your cuts beautifully timed to the music? Is your audio perfectly leveled? Is your color correction consistent? It’s all about a healthy balance between being careful and being confident enough to avoid overthinking. Because when we overthink, we can spend even more time than needed on making simple editing decisions, and we start seeing problems that weren’t there to begin with.

Well, I hope this small guide can help all the editors out there to be more efficient and overcome tough deadlines from now on. So tell me, what would you do to become an efficient editor? Is there something else we can add to this list? Have you tried any of the tips above? How has that helped you as an editor? We’d love to hear from you, so please leave your comments on the section below or share your thoughts on Twitter @swagger_media!

¡Hasta la pr√≥xima!

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