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Old July 27th, 2005, 02:14 PM   #1
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Editing Workflow Issues

I'm not entirely sure if this belongs more in the independent production forum or not, but since its concerns editing I'll put it here. I edit using Vegas.
Yesterday while spending almost 10 hours editing a 5 min short I came to realize I may have some serious workflow issues.

Unfortunatley though, I've never been able to find any good tutorials on editing online. Sure there are things that teach you how to use specific programs...I don't really even need those. What I need is something that explains a good method of going from principle photography to finished product in an organized fashion.

Do I do a rough edit, then work on sound...or should I work on individual clips color correcting and fixing sound then rough edit them....things like this I don't know.

Is there any (relatively affordable or free) tutorial, book, or other material on this subject?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Old July 27th, 2005, 02:30 PM   #2
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Generally speaking, you get your edit down first, then add effects, then do the sound. Tends to make for the most efficient workflow.
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Old July 27th, 2005, 02:53 PM   #3
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That is more or less what I did....though started to wonder if it wouldn't be more efficient if I had done some of my effects first. For example I had one clip with a few people cloned over and over to create a mob...which resulted in using a ton of tracks, making the rest of my edit a bit cumbersome.

Also is it a good idea to render between activities...or is it best to keep it all in one veg file?

I sometimes wonder if when I finally get around to doing feature lengths if I shouldn't edit scenes as short films...each in their own seperate Veg file, and not assemble the entire finished product until the very end (also making it easy for me to use DVD archetect to make a scene selection menu).
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Old July 27th, 2005, 02:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Jimerson
Generally speaking, you get your edit down first, then add effects, then do the sound. Tends to make for the most efficient workflow.
David,

There are circumstances when the audio track is the main or anchoring track (music video). In those cases, lay the audio track first and then build video and finish with effects. Concur?

Taking that to extreme, if an effect was the highlight of your video you could lay it down first and then build around it. My point is, I try and find the anchor event and build from there.
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Old July 27th, 2005, 03:11 PM   #5
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I definitely wouldn't add effects to all clips first as there may be clips you don't use and you're then wasting time by adding unneeded effects. I'd start with the rough cut (starting with video or audio, whichever is primary) and then start adjusting as needed. At least you're only adjusted the pieces you used this way.
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Old July 27th, 2005, 03:49 PM   #6
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Hmm...thanks for all the help so far. It seems this thread is pointing in the direction of "there is no concrete best way to do things". But I'm at least glad, that we've gotten the discussion started...its given me alot to think about.

Patrick I like your idea about finding the "achor" of the video, and building around it.

Ok a few more questions. When it comes to feature lengths: Would you sit and assemble the entire rough cut of the feature length, or would you do a rough cut of each scene as an individual veg file?

And secondly, do you assemble your rough cuts with slating, or do you remove that in a seperate "clip preparation" stage prior to assembling the rough cut?

Also, any tips on good naming conventions for clips?
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Old July 27th, 2005, 04:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick King
David,

There are circumstances when the audio track is the main or anchoring track (music video). In those cases, lay the audio track first and then build video and finish with effects. Concur?

Taking that to extreme, if an effect was the highlight of your video you could lay it down first and then build around it. My point is, I try and find the anchor event and build from there.
Well, sure. That's why I said "generally speaking." There are always project-specific exceptions.
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Old July 27th, 2005, 04:51 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by David Jimerson
Well, sure. That's why I said "generally speaking." There are always project-specific exceptions.
My bad, I was certain you knew that but wanted to mention it for Matt's sake. It never occured to me until I demo'd a preliminary cut of a project to the customer and despite the fact that I'd created a technically good result, he rightfully complained that I'd missed the point of why he wanted the video. Recut fixed it and it only cost me time, but I learned from that.
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Old July 27th, 2005, 05:50 PM   #9
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Matt,

Your question about 'best workflow' is similar to ... "How long is a piece of string?"

As long as it needs to be.

As far as books go, I can recommend "Transitions - Voices on the Craft of Digital Editing" as a good overview of different workflow approaches. Sixteen different editors discuss their philosophies of workflow, from animation, to music videos, to features to docs. All very good, very practical solutions to many of the questions you have.

I edit in AVID, so I can't speak to the specific strengths or weaknesses of Vegas, but yes, in AVID you can cut by storyboard first, script based or sequence. So if you want to cut together seperate scenes, and save them as sequences (would that be veg files in vegas?) then just string them together in the same project, fine. That's one way to do it. IN fact, in feature filmmaking the editor is often working DURING the shoot... specifically cutting together scenes as they are shot... to see if the coverage is complete and the scene works. Since films are rarely shot in sequence, then the editor winds up with a stack of rough cut scenes that s/he assembles into the feature length project... MINUS the special effects, which someone else is normally working on.

Audio obviously comes first in music videos, because that's the timeline you cut to. But audio can also be the anchor point to a documentary. (Just to mention one approach). Somtimes, in a documentary or industrial/business/training video... you cut together the "Radio Cut" first. That is, all of the talking head and narration that tells the story, explains the approach. THEN you cut in the B-Roll or cutaways... You see how different types of projects require different approaches.

Editing is an art. And the artist first learns the basics, then adapts the tools and techniques to best serve the project AND their own artistic style and temperment.

(And by the way, ten hours on a five minute short is not bad at all.)
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Old July 27th, 2005, 05:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Alvarez
Matt,

Your question about 'best workflow' is similar to ... "How long is a piece of string?"

As long as it needs to be.

As far as books go, I can recommend "Transitions - Voices on the Craft of Digital Editing" as a good overview of different workflow approaches. Sixteen different editors discuss their philosophies of workflow, from animation, to music videos, to features to docs. All very good, very practical solutions to many of the questions you have.
Excellent...that is more or less exactly what I need. I guess I formulated my original question incorrectly...I don't really expect a color by numbers approach...but I feel I need some sort of guidance on how to approach the whole situation, and having several different workflow theories to think about would probably put me on the path to what I'm after.

I mean the last project I did...I just totally made up my method as I went along. I have no real experience or training. I'm actually surprised how close I came to some of the methods you've all mentioned here. However, I know I'm not working efficiently, and I have no overall idea of how to approach a good workflow...I just sort of fiddle with it until it works.
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Old July 27th, 2005, 06:41 PM   #11
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Glad I could help Matt. But be forewarned... a couple of the editors have distinctly different approaches to the same issues.

I recall a training film from film school, that showed several different editors cutting together the EXACT SAME FOOTAGE of a gunfight from the "Gunsmoke" television series. Amazing how different the fight looked after each was done. There is such a personal aesthetic that comes into chosing shots, pacing, rythm... it's why they give out academy awards for the ART of editing.
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Old July 28th, 2005, 10:15 PM   #12
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I too am curious about all of this... copying and pasting anything large from PP into AE slows the crap out of my computer (Athlon 64 3200+, RAID0, 1GB, Quadro FX4000)... pain in the butt to work with... takes 30 sec to preview 3-4 seconds in AE BEFORE I add any graphics... I KNOW I'm missing something in the workflow here...

EDIT: Could it be that I need to prerender certain layers? If I prerender, it just makes a lossless file in the file window -- do I throw it in the timeline in place of what's there? Also, relating to the previous questions, I think this type of consolidating would help with the larger feature projects as well... I do certain things like color correction in premiere, and even that slows down significantly if it's not consolidated
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