Video Editors, Here Are the New Years Resolutions that You Should Be Making

Editing Video editing is one of the more personal facets of filmmaking in that no two people do it exactly the same way. We all develop our own media workflows, our own ways of organizing projects, and we all cut differently. Unfortunately, sometimes the editing habits that we develop aren't necessarily the best, and sometimes they're just straight-up lazy and they don't help us do our jobs to the best possible extent. Luckily, a new year is right around the corner, which means that it's time to start making resolutions and to start working on giving up the bad editing habits that have been holding our work back.

Before we can resolve to give up our bad editing habits, we should identify what some of the worst habits are. Recently, Videomaker shared a list of 10 habits that editors need to break. Here are a few of the most pertinent:

Winging It

A lot of creative people like to wing it, take things serendipitously and let a project unfold as they work on it. This is a habit that's easy to fall into as a video editor, footage shows up and the editor sorts it out as they go. The danger lies in the fact that a project may consume more time than necessary when a video editor is winging it, and they run the risk of missing the point. Instead of shooting from the hip, be prepared and make a plan. Learning to have a few contingency plans that can apply to multiple projects will a make a video editor more productive and help them to stay on task.


Keeping in a Cluttered Workspace

It's no lie, video editing can be messy. It's also a bad habit. That doesn't mean a video editor has to like it or live there. A video editor who keeps their workspace, virtual space, and their projects well-organized will be more proficient.


Ignoring Audio

Audio is one half of video and it doesn't always get the attention it deserves. Mixing audio as a rote technical process is a bad habit that kills a lot of good videos. A good audio mix is a skillfully crafted element of video editing. A video editor should at the least make sure that there are no audio cutoffs, that audio levels remain appropriately consistent, and that any music bed used enhances the edit.

These mistakes are ones that many of us make, but perhaps the most egregiously overlooked of all is audio. Many of us are starting to get privy to the basics of good production audio, but on the editorial side of things, many young editors still overlook the basics of mixing and mastering audio. So, for the new year, let's all start treating audio with the importance that it deserves.

Personally, my editing resolution is to start organizing my media and assets better, no matter the size of the project. On large projects I usually organize the project with a pre-determined Post Hastefile structure created by an absolutely fantastic program called Post Haste. However, since I'm mostly working on small projects and personal projects, I'm often not very strict about my asset management. This lackadaisical approach has certainly bitten me in the ass quite a few times as I've misplaced all kinds of media. Not in 2014. It's going to be a year of organized media for this guy.

Make sure you head on over to Videomaker to see all 10 of the bad editing habits that need to be broken.

What do you guys think? What are some of your worst habits as a video editor, and more importantly, how do you look to change them in the new year? Let us know down in the comments!

Link: 10 Video Editing Habits to Give Up -- Videomaker

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Audio: it's more than 50%.

And an editor needs clean audio, wannabe sound ops or single shooter cameramen take note.
You'll get a 4k camera for about the same as a BASIC audio kit.
But audio will kill you before a camera mistake does. Don't buy that f1.4 lens. Buy a set of hd25's. Don't buy that steadicam just yet, buy an me67. Don't rush to buy a zoom recorder because Philip abloom had one 3 years ago, consider the infinitely more useful beachteks, juiced links or tascams.

Think about hiding the mic head., or how to place it out of shot. Unless you are under fire in a war zone, mic off camera. 10x100% better audio.

And audio gear doesn't need upgraded every 3 years.

I'm a cameraman. Images. Light. I don't care much for audio or sound guys. So I make life easy for me by getting it as right as I can. I look god. They look good. I get asked back. I know the basics and listen to a location before I consider the light. Good clean audio is common sense and no getting round it-expensive gear- but it needn't hold you back.

December 26, 2013 at 6:05PM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM


You are quite wrong, audio doesn't HAVE to be expensive, even a normal (sub 500$) kit can make very nice audio. I use a Zoom because the mics are pretty good and I got 6 XLR ports for my basic NTG-2 and some smaller mics which I barely use. If you are on a rush and only have on-cam Rode or whatever: get a bit closer, use lenses that are a bit wider (50mm max) and you see instant improvement in audio! Also don't use anything wider than 24mm for obvious reasons.

December 27, 2013 at 12:51AM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM

Henri De Vreese

I'm with you here, old schoolers think you have to have a $5000 audio kit to get basic pro audio - and that may be true on a Hollywood set - but it's just not true anymore for MOST smaller projects. A good Zoom H4N with a decent set of shotguns and lavs and a competent audio person is MORE than enough most of the time. Also I'll have to disagree with a beachtek (etc) preamps being infinitely more useful than a field recording device. I don't think I really need to elaborate on that, as I believe it is obvious how much more versatile a field recording device is that doesn't rely on a camera to capture audio.

January 2, 2014 at 1:14PM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM


Depending on the project, audio can be vastly more important than footage.
Bad camera work can be worked around using stock footage, stills, graphics, effects (the number of times I've made the unusable usable using light leaks and old film FX is untrue).
Bad audio can generally never be rescued unless you can do a re-record.

Organizing media and assets better is easy.
Drop FCP, Premiere or whatever other NLE you are using and start using Avid MC.
Nothing against the other systems as I use pretty much all of them all the time (and some that no longer exist), but Avid is king when it comes to organisation.

December 27, 2013 at 2:42AM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM


I guess my worst habit when editing is applying effects, grades or stabilization on clips the minute I put them on the timeline just to see where I can get with them. Although I only do that for the first couple of clips, it takes me away from the editing rhythm.
Another one is I will repeatedly watch favourite edits as I go along, as if I am taking a break from editing. Although this way I scrutinize every single edit I feel I should better just take a real break, have a walk or something and come back level headed. At least this works with other workflows (retouching).

I guess both of my bad habits come from my need to pre-visualize the result.

December 27, 2013 at 4:11AM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM


I can relate to that. Especially if I did not shoot it myself.

December 30, 2013 at 1:41AM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM


LTISTAFRTPO (pronounced EL Tis Taf Artee Poe) I know it doesn't mean anything that way, but it's a way to remember the correct steps in editing for film or video:

L = Log -- Watch all footage, take lots of notes, and RENAME the clips! Do NOT leave them as or whatever. Rename it according to the title of the film, and in relevance to what part of the story it's a shot of. Of course they should be truncated names. For instance if the film is called "Night Train" and the scene is "Murder In Car #5", and it's about the bad guy getting away, you could name that clip "NT_Mic5_Gtwy". Most of the time a story is not shot in the sequence in which it is finally viewed.

T = Transfer the footage from the original source (typically CF or SD card) to hard drive(s) ... it never hurts to have an extra copy on a spare HD, and always keep that HD updated with the latest (and dated) project files, in case of hardware failure, so you don't have to go back and re-do everything!

I = Ingest the footage into the NLE. These days, most likely this will mean Premiere Pro or Avid.

S = Sequence clips in a rough edit.

T = Trim clips to where you want them exactly.

A = Audio -- All audio correction and sweetening.

F = FX -- any special effects you need to add to the clips.

R = Render the sequence.

T = Titles -- All beginning and ending credits, any subtitles, etc.

P = Preview -- Make sure everything is as it should be.

O = Output -- Whatever means you are to deliver the finished product, be it on DVD or BluRay, Internet, using any number of the available, and appropriate formats.

Something I learned in Digital Editing class at New England Tech, from Evan Villari, and I believe it to be one of the most valuable bits of advice (a rule to live by) any and every film/video editor should practice.

January 2, 2014 at 1:54PM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM


I should've included color correction in the FX part.

January 2, 2014 at 1:56PM, Edited September 4, 8:45AM