October 22, 2014

4 Ways You Can Save Time in Post by Shooting for the Edit

Don't work hard. Work smart!

Finding shortcuts is a huge part of being an indie filmmaker, because, frankly, we just don't have enough time, money, or resources. One way to make the most out of all of these things during production is to "shoot for the edit," which is a filming technique that anticipates the edits that will need to be made in post. Shooting for the edit will cut down on the time you have to sit in an editing bay (or on your couch with your laptop -- whatever), and will basically make your life a whole lot easier.

Chris Lavigne of Wistia shares some excellent tips on how to shoot for the edit in the video below:

If you've made a lot of videos as a one-man/woman show -- writing, shooting, and editing everything by yourself -- then you've probably gotten really used to shooting for the edit, because you probably have a good idea of which takes worked, which ones didn't, as well as how you're going to put it all together editing. However, one piece of advice that I vehemently agree with that I've seen tons of first-time filmmakers (including myself) kick themselves over is to shoot tons of b-roll. Tons. Like, right at the moment when you say, "Oh man, that took forever, but it finally feels like I've shot enough b-roll," understand that you have not yet shot enough b-roll. Shoot more. You won't regret it.     

Your Comment


I learned - shoot for the edit - back in college, but in the busy world of production it does help to be reminded. Also, big fan of Wistia & have been a client for nearly 2 years. Great if you want to move your content off of youtube to your site, and very reliable and kind team! Killer for email campaigns. I could give my Vimeo vs Wistia rant, but I will just say choose what works best for you and your use case.

October 22, 2014 at 6:59PM

Paul Kachris-Newman
DP, Writer, Editor, & SoundClown

You can never have enough B-Roll! and i live by that! so listen to the guy.

October 22, 2014 at 10:40PM

Wentworth Kelly
DP/Colorist/Drone Op

Basic tips... are very good ;D

October 23, 2014 at 8:19AM

Ragüel Cremades
Film producer and director

I do a lot of documentary style pieces with interviews. Adding a second camera has saved me countless times in editing when my B-roll fell short. If you've got a spare camera to use, you'll be thankful you went through the trouble setting it up on a shoot.

October 23, 2014 at 3:42PM


The old adage "measure twice, cut once" can be applied to shooting as well. I found that detailed storyboard of EVERY shot - including ones you MIGHT use - is very helpful to give you a visual representation of everything you need to shoot. Having this can quickly tell you that you might have too much to get in your day. Then walk yourself through your total storyboard with a stopwatch, watching the time of each scene. This can give you an estimated time of your cut before you even start editing. You might already find yourself over or under your target length and can adjust your shoot schedule accordingly.

October 23, 2014 at 4:44PM

Jeremy Parsons
Director of Photography / 1st Assistant Camera / Crane Tech

As someone who is still in the wannabe stage of this art not only are articles like this very helpful but many of the comments as well. I thank you all.

October 23, 2014 at 10:44PM


This is all great advice!

2 cameras for interviews are very helpful. A discreet cough before each take helps when you come to sync sound later.

On the subject of B-roll though, instead of thinking interviews + B-roll all the time (tired of seeing it?), try to film actual sequences of sync footage that speak for themselves and can stand alone in the edit in place of just more talking heads. Or get your interviewee to talk to you whilst they are doing something, and make sure to film coverage of the action. Not always possible and it's more work, but the results are more interesting.

October 24, 2014 at 10:34AM


Some excellent points but please get rid of that music and distracting drum beats.

October 24, 2014 at 12:10PM

William Scherer
Writer/Director/Producer/Fine Art Aerial Photography

Chill will, chill. I liked the pacing and mood that the music helped with.

also I like your trailer for "house on rodeo gulch"

October 25, 2014 at 12:01AM

Peter Staubs
Camera Assistant

Simple and clever! However the "marking the good take" trick appears not so necessary at the end: most of the time, the good take is just the last one!

March 21, 2015 at 8:42AM

Luis Parmentier
Animator of a cinema workshop / club

That's true but, you could also use it on a good back up take.

March 21, 2015 at 11:23AM, Edited March 21, 11:23AM


All this information is gold. Having been a one-man band for a great deal of productions, I concur with the approach of shooting for the edit. However, this technique does take some practice (and sometimes a lot of mistakes) before you get it right. It really does help to develop the technique of LOOKING vs SEEING. I find that when Looking at your environment or related subject matter, instead of merely Seeing it, you process a lot more information of the things you See -- which helps you make better decision on what shots will work for the final edit. After a while you learn to really think on-the-fly while shooting out in the field. This goes a long way, too, when paired with Storyboarding.

March 21, 2015 at 8:56AM

O'Shea Morgan
Video Editor, Photographer, Producer, DP, Cinematographer

I just finished sharing this with my folks at school as thesis productions are hitting their stride. Since the video uses itself as an example, it re-contextualizes the basics we learn in narrative but for ENG work that supports BTS and on-set vignettes, pitch videos and other campaign or promo footage. Since we're just getting off the ground in learning how to provide added-value content for our shorts, understanding how these tips - which also work in narrative - can be applied in this instructional space reminds us and organizes for us some great strategies that can also be used to tell the story about the story. Thank you.

March 21, 2015 at 7:35PM


Hand technique is awesome!

March 22, 2015 at 1:02PM, Edited March 22, 1:02PM

Rayhanur kabir
Director, DP

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March 22, 2015 at 4:24PM, Edited March 22, 4:24PM