Get Your Sh*t Together
Organizational Tips for Skilled Editors
Proper organization techniques are key in creating an efficient workflow when you get to post-production. Editing is already a time consuming process so it’s paramount to implement time saving measures in order to complete projects on time, especially if you have a limited budget. Here are my top time saving tips to keep your project organized.
1. Put everything together before you start
It’s tempting to open up Premiere and start an edit as soon as you wrap filming but STOP, take a beat and give yourself a second to get everything together first. It’s important to organize your files before you start playing around with footage in your timelines. If you start organized, you’ll stay organized. Create a file structure that divides footage by camera, date, locations, file size, etc. This will make it so much easier to find exactly what you’re looking for exactly when you need it, and it also makes life easier for project collaborators (editors will thank you). It takes up a small amount of time, and it will save so much more time in the long run.
2. Bins on Bins on Bins
Once you import all of your perfectly organized footage into Premiere, you can emulate the file structure with bins in your media browser. During the editing process you’ll be dealing with much more than just video so it’s important to keep track of all of your assets. Create separate bins for audio, video, graphics, still images, titles and any other type of file you might use in your project. Within these bins, you can layer in even more bins to organize separations within the same general categories. For example, audio can be separated into music, voice overs, sound effects, ADR, and interview audio. The more complex your project, the more bins you’ll want to have to make sure it doesn’t become a tangled mess where you (or collaborators) can’t find anything. Disorganization is a big time waster in the whole process. Don’t waste time, accept the way of the bins and you’ll thank yourself later.
Another cool feature in Premiere is that you can save effects into custom bins. If you know you’re using certain effects often you can create a “Favorite Effects” bin and have them ready to go instead of having to search through the whole effects library.
3. Live your life in color
Premiere lets you color code as many different file types as you want. This will help you differentiate between all of your clips; organize by scene, by character, by interview, by shoot day -- really whatever helps you organize. There may be times when you have twelve different layers in your timeline, you’ll want the difference to be as obvious as possible to stay organized and avoid any major time wasting mistakes.
Ben Remetz, 2016
4. Consider separate sequences
Creating new sequences for each major edit is a good way to track your progress while staying nicely organized. Start with a sequence for the rough cut then duplicate that into a new sequence where you tweak the footage and add in a voice-over and so on. Being able to flip back and forth between old cuts will save you tons of time so make sure everything is saved and backed up.
Ben Remetz, 2016
5. Make it your own
One of the best features Premiere offers is its customizability. They have created a bunch of different layouts for different tasks but you can still move panels around and make your own version that fits your workflow best. You can add and remove buttons from the source monitor. You can adjust track height levels in the timeline. Then they take it even further and let you save all of this as presets and templates. Once you’ve created all of your desired bins, removed all of the unnecessary buttons and decided where you like your panels, save the project as a template so the next time you open up Premiere, it’ll be ready to go just the way you like it.
Being an organized editor may seem like a trivial skill but in reality, it saves hours upon hours and produces quality work. Take the time to figure out what works best for you and what helps you be the most efficient at your craft. Comment below with your own organizational tips and tricks!
“Organization: it’s up there with blowing stuff up and finding money on the street.” - Rob Maloof