The actual video editing step is of course a critical component in the production of any visual media be it film, television or a YouTube video.
With the advancement of computer technology over the past 20 years or so, video editing has become more accessible and streamlined than ever before.
The workflow of the video editing process is something that is often overlooked by the newcomer to the subject.
Usually what happens is that by the time the person has begun creating more complex projects this lack of effective workflows begins to bite back at them in the form of frustratingly long editing sessions!
In this article I will dive into the world of video editing workflow and explore its different aspects, from planning to post-production.
An effective workflow can take a long, slow and boring activity like video editing and turn it into a slightly less long, slow and boring process!
Before diving into the actual editing process it’s important to properly plan and prepare for your project.
This stage is known as pre-production and lays the foundation for a successful video editing experience saving you time and headaches down the line.
The key rule here following the concept that you, “Shoot for the Edit.”
Not everything in this article may apply to your situation or project depending on how simple or complex it is so use it as a general outline to follow.
Key elements of pre-production planning:
Define your Goals
What message are you trying to convey through your video? Who is your target audience? What do you want them to take away from the video?
Having a clear understanding of your goals and objectives for that video will help guide your pre-production planning and ensure that your final product meets your expectations.
Determine what resources you will need to execute the goal.
This may include equipment, talent, locations, props, etc.
Make sure you have everything you need on hand before beginning the actual shooting process.
Create a Shot List
This is a detailed list of all the shots you plan to include in your video.
Having a shot list will help you keep track of your footage and ensure that you capture all the necessary shots.
Make a Storyboard
A storyboard is a visual representation of your shots as they occur in the project and can help you visualize the flow of your video.
Both the shot list and storyboard will help you to be sure that you have all the shots you need to build the story.
This is also a great opportunity to make any changes to your shot list and fine-tune your plan before beginning the shooting process.
By proper planning and preparation you can save yourself time and headaches down the line and set the foundation for a successful video editing experience.
Footage Selection and Organization
Footage selection and organization is a crucial part of the video editing workflow and in professional scenarios occupies a significant portion of the overall time spent.
This process involves reviewing all the footage captured during pre-production and selecting the shots that will be included in the final edit.
It is vital that you then organize that footage in a way that makes it easy to locate within the folder or bin structure of your video editing software.
This includes creating folders or bins for different assets, labeling shots, and using keywords to make searching for specific footage easier.
This footage selection and organization process will of course be more efficient if you have followed the steps previously mentioned of knowing the goal of the project and having a storyboard.
In addition to this it is also important at this point to note as to whether the shots you need are actually of sufficient quality to be used.
The questions you need to answer are, is it what I need, is it good enough to use, if it is low quality can it be corrected does it have to be re-shot or re-dome completely.
Once the footage has been selected and organized onlt then it is time to start the actual editing process.
By starting with a well-organized library of footage you will be able to work more efficiently and effectively resulting in a smoother and more professional final product.
Video Assembly and Editing
The goal of the assembly step is to organize and arrange footage, sound and other media elements into a coherent and aesthetically pleasing story.
Once the footage has been imported into your editing software and organized you can then start assembling the shots into a rough cut.
This involves putting together the sequence of the shots that tell the story in the most straightforward way possible.
This is a good time to pull out that previously created storyboard to help guide you through the process.
During this stage you should focus on adding all the necessary assets in roughly the correct postion so that in an overall sense the start, middle and end of the project are in place.
The next stage is refining the rough cut you have created so far into a more polished version.
The editor should review each individual sequence, making adjustments to the timing, audio levels, and visual effects whilst occasionally re-checking the overall video to maintain perspective.
This is where you add transitions such as dissolves, wipes, etc. to help smooth the flow of the story so that each part moves seamlessly to the next.
In addition to refining the basic structure of the video you should also be looking at adding elements that enhance the overall viewer experience.
This may include special effects, music, sound effects and graphic elements such as titles and captions.
You should carefully choose these elements making sure they complement the visual elements and add to the emotional impact of the story.
Remember that anything you add to the project should serve the purpose of the project that you worked out way back at the Planning Preproduction step.
Color Correction or Grading
Color correction and grading are integral steps in the video editing workflow designed to further enhance the visual appeal and storytelling of your project.
Through the use of color you can create mood, draw attention to certain things and convey emotion.
The rule is that you correct the color before you attempt any color grading.
To do otherwise usually results in uneven grades that have to be gone over and over again to achieve consistency.
The color correction process generally involves adjusting the brightness, contrast, saturation, and hue of the footage to match a desired look or to fix any issues that may have arisen during filming.
It is also a part of this step to color match any shots that should but do not due to changing light conditions or the use of different cameras.
It is a good idea to have a clear understanding of color theory as well as knowing how to use your color correction software and tools.
Once your footage is corrected then you can begin grading the footage to get the looks you want to match the purpose or mood of each scene.
Ultimately your ability to create a visual style with color correction and grading will come down to your knowledge, skill and experience with the software you are using.
Audio Mixing and Correction
At this point of the video editing workflow we come to another unbreakable rule of video.
“The Most Important Part of Video is… Audio.”
The average person will tolerate cheesy video, subpar video quality and inappropriate effects and transitions BUT!
If the audio is not up to an acceptable standard, their attention will begin to wane almost immediately.
Audio correction involves adjusting the volume levels, removing background noise and improving the overall sound quality of the audio track in your video.
The goal of audio correction is to make sure that the audio in your video is clear, balanced and well-integrated with the visuals.
A well-corrected audio track can help to engage your audience, increase the impact of your message and make sure that your video coes across as professional and polished.
To begin with it’s important to have a good understanding of the different types of audio correction tools and techniques.
This may involve using equalization, compression and noise reduction to adjust the volume levels and improve the sound quality.
Listening carefully and making adjustments to improve the overall quality may require you to experiment with different techniques and tools to find the best approach for your project.
Another important aspect of audio correction is timing.
This involves making sure that the audio and video are well-synced and that the audio track complements the visuals.
Audio correction is an essential step in the video production process that requires careful consideration and attention to detail.
By taking the time to understand the different tools and techniques you’ll be able to create a well-corrected audio track that enhances the impact of your video.
The final output of the video editing workflow is the culmination of all the efforts put in during the pre-production planning, footage selection and organization, video assembly and editing, color correction, and audio mixing stages.
By this point you should have a polished, visually appealing and emotionally impactful piece of content that tells a story and engages the audience.
The first of the two final steps here is a review of the video itself with “fresh eyes.”
If you are at all like most video editors you would have been straing at the component parts of this video for hours, days or even weeks.
The problem with this kind of extended concentration is that you begin to miss things and not really see what is going on.
A great trick to handle this situation is to close the project and walk away from it completely for at least 24 hours.
Just shut it down and walk away.
Once you have done that re-open the project and watch it with fresh eyes from start to finish and keep imagining you are the audience.
- Check for any noticeable audio issues.
- Double-check all edits for accuracy and continuity.
- Make sure that all transitions and effects are smooth and consistent.
- Ensure that all titles, captions, and graphics are correct and placed in the correct position.
- Confirm that all colors are balanced and match the desired look and feel of the project.
Once all of the above has been completed and checked you can then move on to rendering your completed video file to what format is appropriate to your means of distribution.
It’s important to understand that video editing is a time consuming and often tedious action.
Having a sensible video editing workflow can take a lot of the tedium out of the process by eliminating the ned to continually go back a redo steps already completed.
Hope this helps.