Work Faster | Video Editing Workflow
Videography is one of the most time consuming creative fields to work in. Everything from making sure your computer is fast enough, spending hours planning the shoot, shooting, and now you have to edit all of it.
Video editing is often over-looked as if it doesn’t merit a good color grade or some sharpening and noise reduction in post.. Video is how the world is communicating with each other right now. The first thing we can do to do this is to manage our time better by having a better workflow. I know that’s not as cool as reading “you need new lights” or “buy a nicer camera” but it’s so very important.
Disclaimer: this article is geared toward Adobe Premiere users, but the overall concept can be applied to any application.
Organization In Premiere Pro
First things first. You’ve dumped all of your footage on to a computer or a hard drive and it’s a nightmare to filter through and find the stuff you want to keep or use. Lucky for you, Premiere has several features to help you with staying organized as long as you take do a few things first.
File Structure Workflow:
The obvious first step is to take those pesky files and put them in folders. Here are the folders I make after EVERY video shoot.
1: Project Name - The root folder for your entire project and assets.
2: Audio - Place songs, sound effects, and voice-overs here. (place additional folders and organize for the OCD folks)
3: Source Footage - This is where the recorded video footage goes, sorted by camera to make things easier. Example: Source Footage - - 5dMarkii, GoPro, Drone.
4: Project Files - This is where you’ll keep your files for Premiere, After Effects, and any other project file that will work with Adobe’s Dynamic Link Server.
5: Graphics - Logos, Thumbnails, etc.
6: Renders - Any renders that you make in order to take the load off of your computer. (Followed by dumping into an additional sequence, more on this in a later article).
7: Finished - Ah. Feels good, right?
I create this file structure before even opening Premiere. It’s a lifesaver.
The Project Panel:
This is where we’re going to make things breezy. I know this is time consuming, but you’ll thank me later when your not looking through 400 random video files from a year ago.
Color Code Like A Pro:
We all love color coding things right? The only problem is that Premiere, by default has two different color codes based on whether you are in the timeline or the project panel. Let’s fix that. Just go to: File < Project Settings < General, then check the box that says: “display the project item name and label color for all instances”.Now you have one color code per item, like a normal human should have.
Next we’re going to import our footage via the media browser, meanwhile, noticing how our pretty little folder made everything easy to find. I recommend importing by each folder, and then sorting / color coding in the project panel as you go to keep it organized even better.
Bonus Tip: I just discovered that going to the labels tab in your preferences menu will allow you to pre-color code specific types of footage. Mind = Blown.
Work With Smaller Previews:
There’s no need to work with full HD or 4k in most instances. You’re usually not editing at full-res anyway. Change your video previews to 720x405 by going to Sequence < Sequence Settings < Video Previews. You can un-check the “composite in linear color” box as well to help with the load.
Customized Keyboard Shortcuts:
We’re about to leave a trail of smoke behind as we edit a light-speed. (Maybe a little over dramatic?). Let’s make Premiere work FOR us as opposed to the other way around. The goal here is to not remove our right hand from the mouse to gain maximum workflow. Here’s what I changed and what they do for your workflow.
Zoom In / Zoom Out - A / S
Self explanatory. Just a better placement.
Cut - C
I left this one same. Basically just a splice tool.
Ripple Delete - R
I don’t even remember what the factory hotkey for this is. This is my favorite tool in Premiere. Basically it just allows you to delete a clip and then fill the gap with whatever was behind it. No more clicking and dragging to make up for a deleted clip.
Track Select Forward Tool - Z
Another well-kept secret of Premiere, the track select tool allows you to click a single clip and automatically select everything in front of it. (there’s a backwards tool as well, I just never use it so I left it the same).
To get to these settings go to: Preferences < Keyboard Shortcuts.
I Think We’re Being Followed:
It’s ok and totally not creepy though. If you go to Preferences < Timeline and set the “Timeline Playback Auto Scrolling” to: Smooth Scroll. Now that you’ve done that your timeline will move with the preview footage so that you can watch the timeline and the preview your work simultaneously.
If you guys apply this basic workflow tips to your project, I promise you’ll start to move faster and faster with your editing. Let us know how this helps you out!