Digital Video Post Workflow: Editing Your Video Assets

Organizing your video assets is key to a smooth edit. Photo by James BurkeThis week we’ll be discussing the editing component of the simplified digital video workflow. If the input stage is the heavy lifting stage, then the edit stage is the creative lifting stage. This is the stage where the final product begins to emerge. As in all stages, organization is the key to an efficient and speedy workflow. No matter how fast an editor is, if they can’t find the clips they need, the workflow will grind to a halt.

Assuming the input process of the workflow was done with care, you are now properly organized to begin your edit. As the edit begins, clips that will not be used can be deleted, but it’s important (at least in an Avid Media Composer) to only delete the media and hang on to the clip that you have created. This is a safety measure in case you ever need to bring it back on line from tape or from your DAM.

For those of you unfamiliar with the clip/media relationship of Avid, take a look at the digital video primer from my HTML5 Video blog. Digital video is comprised of three components: a container, a video stream and an audio stream. In most digital video like Quicktime, the three components are contained within a single file. In the Avid however, all three components remain separate. The clip, which resides in the bin, is the container; it points to the media files for video and audio. If the clip is deleted along with the media, there will no longer be a digital record of that file in the Avid.

The key to finding what you need, is knowing where to look. For that reason, I create multiple bins to categorize my clips. For instance, I always place my sequences in a bin called “00-sequences”. Adding the double zero insures that it will always show up at the top of the list in the project. I use this same strategy whether I’m in Avid, Final Cut Pro, After Effects or the Merlin digital asset management system (DAM). The idea is for the most used bins (projects in Merlin and folders in After Effects) to always stay at the top of the list. I will use the two-digit number prefix for all of my bins to keep them in an order that makes sense to me – making it easier to find what I need when I need it.

While editing, it is a good idea to constantly add to the metadata of each of the clips as you learn more about them. This helps after the clips have been archived and are no longer fresh in the mind. I try to add descriptive information as I’m editing (Depending upon how much of a crunch I’m under while editing, of course).

In a future blog, the final blog of this series, we will discuss the best practices of digital video output.

Posted by James Burke

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