Watch: 3 Mistakes All Beginner Editors Make (and How to Fix Them)

Newbies aren't the only ones making these editing faux pas.

As an editor, you'll be honing your craft for the entire duration of your career. Learning new techniques and adjusting your approach is the name of the game—a process of growth that comes with time and experience—but there are a few things you can learn right here, right now that will make you an overall more mature, more effective editor. Sven Pape of This Guy Edits talks about three common editing mistakes beginners make and how to fix them. Check it out below:

Not knowing your footage

All artists have to know their medium like the back of their hand, and for editors that means watching hours and hours of raw footage and taking copious notes. Not only will this help you in the all-important selection process, but you'll actually work a lot faster once you start adding clips to your timeline.

Not using split edits

This is Editing 101, right here. How should an editor lay out clips on a timeline? If you're new to editing, you might think lining up each clip end to end makes absolute sense, because how the hell else would you do it, but most professionals would say that's a big no-no. Split edits, also called J and L-cuts, help hide transitions from one clip to another due to audio overlap. If the audio from the preceding clip (A) overlaps the following clip (B), that's an L-cut, but if it's the other way around, the audio from clip B overlaps clip A, that's a J-cut.

Troublesome workflow

This is a problem that reaches across every level of experience. (Those who have been in the game for 30 years can have more chaotic workflows than those who are just starting.) Having an organized and efficient workflow is absolutely important for editors, especially if there are clients involved. A messy workflow can cost you a lot of time, which in the end will cost you clients, and clients mean money. (Messy workflow = less money) There are plenty of ways to overhaul your workflow; you can get a few tips here and here.

What are some other mistakes new editors should try to avoid? Let us know down in the comments.     

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I liked this article. A suggestion: when I'm editing, I audition the cut point back and forth (from 2 to 10 frames) to uncover a terrific cut. Try it. You'll see what I mean.

July 11, 2017 at 10:26AM

Greg Green

The L and J cut thing is a big one. I made that mistake with my first project Space Trucker Bruce but discovered and corrected it before I finished. Right now my biggest headache is editing together Kayaking and Hiking Montages! How do you mix in Scenery B-roll and keep things smooth? It's easy enough to edit dialog between two or three people. There are tons of examples of that but not a lot about hiking and Kayaking montages.

July 11, 2017 at 2:34PM, Edited July 11, 2:34PM

Anton Doiron

A really helpful video for editors. Thanks.

July 11, 2017 at 10:48PM

Sameir Ali
Director of Photography

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August 29, 2017 at 7:31AM