You're Wasting Your Time Editing

We’ve all been there. We have a really easy project we need to get back to the client. But somehow it ends up taking half of our day to get through something that clearly shouldn’t have taken that long. That’s why it’s so important to continually look for ways to improve our editing process. The other day I was about to start on a project and I thought to myself “What if I timed how long it took me to edit this?” That’s how this video happened.

Going from Resolve to Premiere and rendering three complete videos in under 40 minutes!? It’s crazy on the surface, but this is what a good process lets you accomplish. The video focused on the steps, but I want to talk about the lessons. 

Lesson One - Rethink Your Process

The order you think you need to edit is not set in stone. This is incredibly important as clients continue to demand higher volume. We have to be able to keep up with demand all while increasing quality. This task is only possible by rethinking how we do what we do. We can’t keep the same process and expect quality to improve and quantity to lift just because we “work harder”. Work smarter not harder. That applies even to the post process. In my case, I often grade first so I don’t have to round trip. Honestly, if I wouldn’t have graded first I would have just done it in Premiere and the quality would have suffered because of it. See if there is a whole step you can add, cut, or move in your process to make the overall project flow work better.

Lesson Two - Don’t Do Things That Don’t Add Value

I fall into this trap all the time. Before I hired Bryce our equipment was not easy to use at all. It was a mish-mash of old lenses, adapters, filters, external batteries, and broken tripods. But the images I was getting looked 10x of what I paid for the gear. Which was fine, until I had someone who didn’t know my system. And let me tell you, my system was not one you could teach to someone. It was complex with caveats on every piece of gear. So, I decided to buy cases, lenses, shelving, and other organizational stuff. All of this to make the gear simple to use. We actually took a quality hit in the lens department. But, I had to come back to what is truly adding value. The clients we are working can’t consciously tell the difference between the lenses we are using. My old system was adding value for me, not everyone around me. That’s why it was the right choice. It was hard for me, but it was necessary for our business. Especially as we keep adding to our team.

Lesson Three - Refine Your Process

Lesson One was about the big steps in a workflow. This is about the individual steps in your process. For example, in the video, I focused on how I could trim better. I played back the footage at double speed and trimmed as it was playing. I also color coded the clips based on which final video it needed to go to. This is a relatively new process for me. It’s one of those things that you build over time. I started off editing these projects by just playing and trimming the old fashioned way. Then I got a good enough computer to be able to trim and play back at the same time. Then a while later I learned I could playback at faster speeds. Then I learned I could color code to keep things separate. So over a long period of time this process has developed and now I’m spending 70% less time cutting than what I would have spent the classic way. And this only happened because I was looking for ways to continually improve my “Sub-Step” process within the workflow.

Lesson Four - Use Presets

I think this might be the hardest one for some of us. For whatever reason we feel like using presets are cheating. I still feel that way sometimes. But we have to get over that. It’s not cheating. Either A) we made the template ourselves or B) we paid hard earned money for the template. Clients cannot expect us to make something custom for them every time. Its a different story if they are paying for it. But, we generally don’t budget a lot of time for custom motion graphics. Even this tutorial video took too long. I spent FIVE HOURS making the graphics for this (I wanted to spend even more). Which is more time than I budgeted for this. So, presets are our friends. They let us produce at a high quality on a short timetable. Because bad custom motion graphics are way worse than good preset motion graphics. And the best part, they generally don’t even know its a preset.

PostPaul GoodyearComment