July 7, 2015

10 Things All Editors Should Do Before They Start Cutting

Editing a film is a gargantuan task. Having a little bit of foresight can help you steer clear of mistakes, be more efficient, and keep your project on track.

Editor and editing theorist Roger Crittenden offers 10 editing tips that'll come in handy before you're hunched over your computer fifteen days in wondering why everything is going wrong.

  1. Read the script in advance of cutting.
  2. Become familiar with the directors previous work.
  3. Read the background material relevant to the film
  4. Meet the cameraman, sound recordist, and other major contributors to the film who might affect your own job.
  5. Liaise with the continuity or production assistant for documentation.
  6. Make yourself known to the laboratory contact [or DIT].
  7. Choose your assistant carefully for both efficiency and tact.
  8. Find out your directors preferred working hours and eating habits!
  9. Ensure that the cutting room is properly set up before cutting starts.
  10. Make sure that reliable maintenance for your equipment can be obtained.

Some of these might seem pretty obvious, like reading the script beforehand, but most of the things Crittenden mentions in his list can often go overlooked in the hysteria that is post production. All 10 of these tips will help you cover your bases, but #9, though it reads a little dated, is truly essential, since keeping your workflow organized is one of the most important things you can do as an editor. Maintaining clear metadata, as well as just keeping stuff (folders, external hard drives, notes, etc.) where you can find them (messy or tidy, whichever floats your boat) will not only save you time in the long run, but save you from the heart attack you'll be bound to have when you can't find a piece of footage you need.

What are some other things you can do to prepare for an editing project? Let us know in the comments below!      

Your Comment

11 Comments

11. Organise your footage.

12. insidetheedit.com
Creative course for editors. Primary focus is on documentary. NFS already covered a part of the course here: http://nofilmschool.com/2015/06/simple-editing-technique-will-make-your-...

This course fills in the gaps everybody has in his work. It is a joy to follow the tutorials.

July 8, 2015 at 3:07AM

5
Reply

I second that tip #11

July 8, 2015 at 12:28PM

0
Reply
avatar
Maurice Morales
Cinematographer
81

I'll third that(lol) but I learned the hard way the importance of organizing footage. The extra time you spend doing so is well worth it.

July 15, 2015 at 10:47AM

1
Reply
avatar
Luis Garcia
Director/Editor
352

excellent tips, seems like it could be good advice for a Director too where their intentions are concerned - win win for everyone. thanks for the tips

July 8, 2015 at 4:16AM

0
Reply
avatar
Seán Ó Cearrúlláin
Project Manager / Author
202

coffeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

July 8, 2015 at 10:32AM

0
Reply
Seth Evans
Editor
316

Yes. Tons of it ! :D

July 8, 2015 at 4:27PM

0
Reply
avatar
Roy Fochtman
2BadMen | Filmmaker | Photographer
81

Having a good folder structure, is a must!!! Great post, very interesting.

July 8, 2015 at 4:26PM

0
Reply
avatar
Roy Fochtman
2BadMen | Filmmaker | Photographer
81

Check out the app, "Post Haste" from Digital Rebellion. I use that app every time I create a new project folder and it streamlines and organizes everything. I think it's free and it's their best app.

http://www.digitalrebellion.com/posthaste/

July 10, 2015 at 11:04AM

6
Reply
avatar
Josh Paul
Most often DP, Direct or Gaff
1089

Thanks for this; just downloaded it. Looks like it'll save a lot of time in the future.

August 10, 2015 at 12:28AM

0
Reply
avatar
Chris Geden
Filmmaker
119

Thanks for sharing this!

July 12, 2015 at 10:00PM

0
Reply

Since i am the director, writer, DIT on my films aswell as editor i find this kinda easy ;)

August 10, 2015 at 7:31AM

3
Reply
Johan Salberg
Actor, Writer, Director, Editor
152