When you make videos for a living, the name of the game is efficiency. Like any other creative process, you could spend hours perfecting the same thing at the cost of actually getting your content out there (especially if procrastination comes as naturally to you as it does to most creative folks we know!)
Spending more time planning tools – basically adopting the best practices from a project management perspective can really help you save precious time as you move seamlessly from the idea stage to execution.
From filming to post-production, most of these take only a few minutes to do and can pay you back tenfold in terms of speed and convenience. For these parts of the creation process, it’s a good idea to think of yourself as a project manager.
Keep reading for our top tips to help you become a more efficient video creator. These aren’t so much as specific ‘efficiency tools’, but a list of best practices.
1. Over-script and Over-shoot
This is a tip we’ve always sworn by, which also helps with time-tracking. Script and storyboard as much as possible to avoid fumbles and long hours project planning in the edit room. Strategic planning is a critical path that can make or break the entire video production process.
Editing should be about improvising, not starting from scratch. You must already have most of your story down on paper before you begin shooting.
Take multiple takes of each shot, especially B-roll, slightly tweaking it each time. For example, if you’re talking into camera, do a few shots with a slightly different intonation – you never know which might work better, and doing a little bit extra on shoot is essentially just good project planning.
For B-roll, re-shoot the same scene with a different kind of composition, a different camera angle, or a second camera. Having options while editing is super important, so always shoot more takes than you think you need.
2. Make Mistakes Easier to Spot
A great tip we’ve seen a lot of YouTubers use to save time in the editing room is to make notes while shooting itself – any kind of system that will help you keep track of usable shots.
For example, it’s a good idea to say whether a take is good or bad at the end of each shot, so that you have reference points when you start going through the footage in the post-production stage.
One great example a lot of YouTubers use is the clap – clap twice if you mess up, clap thrice if you filmed a great take etc. A quick glance at the audio waveform will later tell you which takes you were planning to cut out!
It’s almost as good as using a project management software or adopting additional task-management processes!
3. File Hygiene
Another great practice to incorporate into your workflow is organising your footage into folders before you start editing. You can do this by date, time, location, or video type (like ‘B-roll’ or ‘presentation’ clips). In fact, we’d recommend organising by date and a second identifier.
There are no specific rules for this, as long as the clip has a distinct identifying label. Not only is this an essential practice for the project schedule, it also helps other editors/collaborators out too.
This may take you about 10-15 minutes to do after each round of shooting, but trust us, you’ll thank yourself for it when you’re not sitting there speed-watching dozens of clips to find the one you need.
And don’t forget to take back-ups from each shoot day on a separate device like an external hard drive or cloud-based storage solution like Google Drive. This is another essential part of the execution for better resource management.
4. Choose a Video-Editing Program For Your Level
The best video editor is the one that makes you feel comfortable. Of course you could use standard video editing suites like Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro, but they’re pricey, have a steep learning curve, and can get intimidating (the look of a crowded timeline still gives us nightmares).
For most purposes and especially if you’re editing for social media, an online editor is the way to go. And it’ll be way lighter on your system!
If you’re completely new to editing, check out ChopChop. Not only is it simple to use, but it’s got all the tools you’ll need to get started. Also – you can create your video by simply using text-based forms – no timelines, zero editing!
From the basic crop and trim to sharp titles, text, graphics, and a stock library to help your story come to life. Find out more about our features here.
5. Learn Keyboard Shortcuts
Small tip, big impact: This is one of those tips that will cumulatively help you save hours, even if you don’t know what the fuss is about as you’re training yourself. List out the three softwares you use the most – it might just be Microsoft Word for example. Learn the shortcuts for the actions you use the most (Open New File, Import Image, etc).
Check out this article for a list of 40+ keyboard shortcuts that are basically universal across video editing suites.
6. Rough Cut, then fine-tune
It’s easy to get carried away perfecting a small part of your video. But think of it like writing a story. You always start with a draft, then get to fine-tuning, for better project management.
The first order of business should be to create a rough cut – simply get all your clips arranged in chronological order and trim out anything that’s irrelevant. This is where you follow your script closely and ensure you’ve got everything covered.
Next, add your transitions and B-roll to make sure each scene is flowing smoothly. Finally, add all the spice by bringing in titles, graphics, and music. Psst, DailyCutting will spoil you for choice here.
This makes it easy to share each stage of the video execution with collaborators too and incorporate their feedback.
7. Stock footage to the rescue
If you find that something is missing even with all your extra takes and B-roll clips, stock footage is a total lifesaver. Whether it’s a quick clip to transition to the next scene or a video that illustrates a specific emotion, there are thousands of stock clips available online.
8. Export For The Right Format
When you’re done and want to export your edit, it’s super important you keep all the guidelines for the platform in mind, including the aspect ratio, maximum duration and file size. Make sure you’ve done some project management planning on this beforehand so you know what to aim for. On ChopChop, you can easily create a video in one aspect ratio (say 16:9 for YouTube of your website) and then clone it to different sizes for an Instagram post or a Facebook story.
9. Nail your voiceovers
These days, our phone can give us high-resolution video. If your script is detailed, then there’s still not tons of room for error in your shots. The weak link may be the audio.
If you have the means, invest in a lapel mic for crisp and clear audio. If not, you can even use your earphones or a second phone to record audio as long as the ambient sound levels are low.
For voiceovers, DailyCutting has a built-in VO recording button that lets you narrate right over your footage right within the editor.
Looking for even more editing tips? Check out this collection of tips for first-time creators.
Now that you’ve got our guide on how to be a more efficient video creator, go out there and optimise your workflow. And don’t forget to check out ChopChop for a seamless video creation experience that’s perfect for beginners.