4 Tips To Improve Your Video Editing Workflow

The value of being a Swiss Army Knife content creator is at an all-time high.

As rapidly as social media moves, being able to film, edit, and color grade with a quick turnaround is crucial for delivering content before the window of opportunity has closed. Those with video editing experience appreciate how tedious and painstaking the process can be at times. The good news is that the process can be made easier with these tips and tricks to make you a faster, more efficient editor.

1. Shoot With Editing In Mind

The good part of digital is that you can shoot tons of extra footage and choose from the best. The bad part is that now you have tons of extra footage to choose from. It’s not really a bad thing, just time consuming. All in all, the ability to capture gigabytes upon gigabytes of footage is hugely advantageous, but personal experience has taught me that the editing process is much less miserable if you delete bad footage once you know it’s bad. I’m getting better at deleting footage straight off the camera if I know for certain that it didn’t turn out.

If you’re recording audio with an external device, you’ll need to sync the sound track to the video footage in post production. A good practice is to have someone clap their hands on camera (while rolling) before the action begins so that you have one singular point to match up, and the rest will fall into place.

2. Organize Your Assets Before You Begin Editing

The editing process can get messy if you don’t compartmentalize your assets into specific categories. My best recommendation is to find a process that works forĀ you, but here’s an example of how this can look:

  • Video Files
    • Main subject
    • B-Roll
    • 4K – 30fps
    • 1080 – 120fps
  • Audio Files
    • Background music track
    • Sound effects
    • Interview audio
  • Visual Effects
    • Film grain overlay pack
    • Light leak transitions

3. Do A First Pass To Narrow Down FootageColor labels for editing

This is one of my least favorite parts of the process, but it’s an important one. After a shoot, I’ll plug in the memory card and go through each clip and identify footage that could be good enough for the final cut. These clips don’t always get used, but remember it’s just the first pass. One effective method is to use color labels to designate which clips are to be used in the final edit.


4. Use Shortcuts For Faster Editing

Just imagining editing a video without using shortcuts makes my head hurt. These quick keyboard shortcuts will make your lifeĀ so much better. Here’s a few frequently used shortcuts for Adobe Premiere CC.

  • Set In and Out point (Very useful for selecting a portion of a clip to add to the timeline.)
    • I = In point
    • O = Out point
  • Ripple Trim (A ripple edit means moving an edit point and causing the rest of the timeline to move the same amount to compensate.)
    • W – Deletes what is to the right on the clip
    • Q – Deletes what is to the left on the clip
  • Add keyframes to Opacity/Volume
    • CMD + Click with Selection Tool
  • Select Clip at Playhead(For when you don’t want to pick up the mouse and you need to select a clip.)
    • D
  • Select the Razor Tool
    • C
  • Timeline trimming
    • J – Plays backward
    • K – Pauses play
    • L – Plays forward

I recommend this article for a more comprehensive look at shortcuts.

Bonus: Exporting Your Media

When your video is done, the final step is to export the video to prepare it for uploading to YouTube, Facebook, Instagram or another platform.

In Premiere, go to File > Export > Media. From the Export Settings box, Adobe recommends choosing the H.264 Format and selecting the “Match Source – High Bitrate” Preset. This format will generate a .mp4 video, the recommended file type from YouTube. You’ll want to click the blue filename so that you can specify what the file will be saved as and in which location on your drive. Click Save. Finally, click Export and give your computer some time to generate the video. That’s it!