Editing workflow is the method you use and the steps you take to go from import (start) to export (finish). It’s not the sexiest topic, but a good workflow will save you time and headaches.
Overlooking seemingly small details can cost you hours of work further down the line. Incorrect project settings can cause endless problems, but they’re easy to get right when you know what to do. Backing up your files correctly may seem like a pain at first, but when a drive fails (and they always do eventually), it’s great to know you can keep on working without a hitch. I hope to help make the process easier by offering a good workflow. These tips and tricks, which have helped me a lot, will save you time. I’ll use Premiere Pro as an example, but the same principles apply to Final Cut as well.
1. Using tape, label the camera cards you’ve been filming so you know they’re in use and avoid confusion. Ingest the footage from your memory cards onto your machine. Once you have it, back it up to at least one other location. Two additional locations are preferable, with one being off-site. Only once you’ve done this should you format your camera cards.
2. Create a new project in Premiere and go to File>Project Settings>Scratch Disks. Make sure that the paths in question are where you want your files to be saved. TIP: Set your ‘Project Auto Save’ to a cloud backup folder like Google Drive. This way, you know that your progress can never be lost.
3. Window>Workspaces is where you can select preset workspaces and save you own. Try starting with the ‘Editing’ preset. Then, customise the layout to suit you and save it for future use.
4. Right click in the project window, create a new bin, and label it ‘Rushes’. A bin is just like a folder and a way of keeping things organised. Create folders for sequences, titles, graphics, audio, and anything else you might need. You can also set colours for each bin that will be reflected in the timeline for a more visual workflow.
5. In your Rushes bin, right click and select ‘Import…’ Select your rushes and let them load. Alternatively, you can drag and drop your files straight into the bin.
6. Once your rushes have imported, select one and drag it onto the small ‘New Item’ icon at the bottom on the bin. This will automatically create a sequence using the most appropriate settings.
7. The new sequence will appear in the same bin as your rushes. Rename it and move it into your Sequences bin.
8. Check that your audio channels are correct. If you recorded on one device, your timeline should show just one channel (A1) filled with audio. If you recorded on two devices (e.g. a radio mic and a shotgun mic), then A1 and A2 should each contain their own sources. If this is not the case, then select all the clips in your bin, right click, choose Modify>Audio Channels, and set ‘Preset’ to ‘Mono’.
9. To start fresh, you can delete any unwanted clips from your timeline using backspace.
10. Now that you have your project set up, you’re ready to start editing. I recommend watching some of Adobe’s introductory tutorials to get familiar with the controls. Learning the shortcuts and investing in an editing keyboard is one of the best ways to work faster and save time.
I’ve found [this editing keyboard] to be one of the best investments I’ve made. Alternatively, if that’s too expensive, you can get a [keyboard ‘skin’] much cheaper. It won’t be long before it pays for itself.
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