Editing Tips for Beginners.
Cut Happy – 10 Tips for a Better Editing Experience.
By Lawrence Jordan, A.C.E.
Even before production shoots a frame, there are a lot of things for editors and their assistants to sort out at the start of a production. Aside from planning and setting up your editing system, here are 10 essential tips which will make life a lot more pleasant as you embark on your next editing assignment.
1. Get on the same page with the director/producer/client.
2. Be in the loop.
3. Meet your production crew.
4. Create a dailies workflow.
5. Organize the material.
6. Screen your footage.
7. Start pulling footage.
8. Track your additional elements.
9. Talk with the director and/or producer about music.
10. Check your timeline.
- Get on the same page with the director/producer/client. – Find out their thoughts about the project. how do they see it creatively? Ask to see any storyboards and other documents created before production.
- Be in the loop. – If there’s a pre-production meeting, find out when it is and plan to be there.
- Meet your production crew. – Whether it’s at a pre-production meeting or elsewhere, meet and talk to the director of photography, camera crew, digital imaging tech (DIT), production sound recordist and script supervisor. Iron out any tech details. Make sure you are all in sync.
- If you are shooting digital. – Create a plan for transferring original camera dailies and audio masters to both your editing system, and to redundant copies of backup media.
- Organize the material. - Editing is a continual process of ferreting out the best material for your purpose and it starts with how you organize your footage. If you are lucky enough to have an assistant they will do this, but be sure to make clear how you want your project organized.
- Screen your footage. – Seems obvious right? Although some schedules make this prohibitive, write down your thoughts and instincts about each shot, take, camera roll, etc. Make copious notes. This process takes time but will pay off in the long run, particularly if you have a lot of footage and/or a long production schedule.
- Start pulling footage. – If something really grabs you, it never hurts to pull it and put it in a “selects” bin. Some editors do this concurrently while taking screening notes.
- Create comprehensive database(s). – Detailed information about all of your VFX/graphics/sound or music elements.
- Ask the director and or producer about music. – If they don’t have a preference, go with your instincts. But run them by the director/producer/client as not to throw them upon first viewing.
- Check your Timeline. – Always, always do this before every screening. Make sure all tracks are in sync and there isn’t any picture or audio offline. Make sure that all effects that require rendering are rendered.