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How to edit videos faster: One non-technical tip to help double your editing speed

Ask Zach #002

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by Zach Wolfson in Ask Zach, Blog, Start Small with Video
December 2, 2015 1 comment

One of the biggest challenges with making videos is editing them.

And if you’ve not yet found your own rhythm with editing your videos, it can quickly become a painfully time-consuming process.

When you start editing a new video, you’re doing two really important things:

1. Searching for the best footage (the best takes)

These may be: Multiple takes of you talking to the camera because, let’s face it, all of us need at least a few takes, a few times saying the same thing to camera, in order to get to something smooth, feels natural and engaging; or, multiple shots of you demonstrating something on camera from multiple angles.

2. Playing with assembling it into a sequence that engages your audience enough to keep watching

How can I edit footage for my videos faster?


Let’s focus just on saving time with the first step: Searching for the best footage.

There’s one simple, extra step that I take while I’m filming that saves me hours of editing later, and it’s this:

I mark my best takes, visually, by covering the lens with my hand for a few seconds.

The key is to only mark the takes that feel the best to you, in the moment, while you’re filming.

Later, once you’re into editing and searching for the best footage, just scrub (or fast forward) to those moments when you see your hand over the lens. From there, select the clip you want to use by setting your “in” and “out” points in your editing software.

You’ll have your best take chosen far faster by adding this simple step while filming, than if you had needed to review and playback every take that you recorded.

This is especially useful when you’re filming yourself talking to a camera.

By marking only our best takes we’re saving ourselves from the time that we’d otherwise spend on searching through the footage for them, and we’re virtually eliminating the decision-making process for “which take is the best one?” And that decision can be potentially paralyzing at this early stage of editing a first cut.

Editing videos is all a cycle: The faster you can complete the first cut of your newest video, the more encouraged you’ll feel, and you’ll make decisions throughout the process that much faster.

Thanks for watching!

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