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Video Editing 101: Prepping for a Quick (and Successful) Edit

Logan Baker

From picking the right song to knowing how to create your own motion graphics, working on an edit with a quick turnaround means anticipating challenges.

There are many roadblocks you can run into once you start a video edit, and the sad fact is you’re going to hit one. It might be Premiere crashing, it might be lack of footage and resources, or it could just be a creative block. It happens to all of us. So, how do we prepare ourselves for success? It’s all about the approach and how you set up the project before you get started. So, let’s consider a few different things you can try to minimize the interruptions of editing roadblocks.

Find The Right Music Faster

Video Editing 101: Prepping for a Quick (and Successful) Edit — Finding the Right Music

First things first: picking music for your project. This means not only a creative approach but also a logical one. By which I mean choosing stems and waveforms. One of PremiumBeat’s recent updates gives you the ability to remove and use select stems as you see fit. This means you can pick your favorite aspects of a song (like a specific instrumental track) without being locked into the whole arrangement. That means more freedom in your edit. And a more unique final product.

This can also save you time. It’s weird to think that more versions of an available song will cut down on time, but consider this: instead of cutting a song up in a hundred different ways trying to make one 10-second stretch work, you can simply remove aspects of the arrangement. If something isn’t working, pull it out, salvage the good parts, and move on.

In addition, our waveform feature will give you an idea whether or not this song is a good match overall. If the video you’re cutting requires a steady, consistent beat, look for a track that represents this in the waveform. If you’re looking for a track with a giant build-up and a dramatic drop, the waveform will reflect this is well — saving you from listening to every single possible track.

Keeping the Creative Juices Flowing

Video Editing 101: Prepping for a Quick (and Successful) Edit — Creativiity

Image via Todd Blankenship.

It’s pretty simple — you can only edit as fast as you can tell a story. And sometimes you get stuck in a rut — whether it’s editor’s block or technical issues. When it happens, there are a few things you can try to help break through that inevitable wall. Working with your sound first is a good tactic. Todd Blankenship talks about this in his recent post:

Nothing helps me visualize an edit more than listening to perfect sound for it beforehand. Sometimes, when you’re stuck on an edit, it’s likely that you might have started trying to edit with the wrong track — or you haven’t picked a track at all.

Like Todd, my edits usually start with the music. You can develop a better understanding of the rhythm, pace, and tone of your piece once you’ve decided on a good song. Sometimes I even pick out multiple songs so that I have ready options in case the footage doesn’t quite match what I had originally imagined. Just remember: it’s okay to feel stuck, as long as you push forward and put something together. You can always improve a rough cut later.

Memorizing Keyboard Shortcuts

Like any aspect of filmmaking, practice makes perfect. It took me a considerable amount of time to memorize the various keyboard shortcuts (for Premiere, unlike most who still use FCP7 keys). It will take some time to get used to editing with keys. But there are a few jumping-off points that make sense. J, K, and L are a natural progression once you’ve gotten past in (I) and out (O). If you’re working with separate audio tracks unlinked from your video, you’ll need to know how to move things around to the nearest frame.

Learn the Basics of After Effects

If you’re like me, After Effects is something you’ve simply never sat down and taken the time to master — and your motion graphics suffer for it. Luckily for us, there are some great tutorials on how to learn the basics of the program in a manner of minutes. Shutterstock Tutorials is here to save the day:

Obviously one video doesn’t cover everything you can do with the program, but if you just need to make a graphic or a title move around the frame to improve the overall production value of your video, this tutorial is for you.

And if you need more resources for saving time and energy in your post-production workflow, over the past few months we’ve put out several tutorials covering all things Premiere and After Effects. No matter your current skill level, there’s always more to learn. Onward and upward!

Top image via Artie85.

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