Video Editing Workflow: disappearing time

How to disappear time? At the moment I should not be talking about metaphysical miracles of disappearing time nor will I be giving you tips on teleportation. We will look into how can you use your time whilst editing in the most productive way.

Video editing process can be split in 3 processes: Ingesting/Capturing, Editing and Exporting.


Tape is dead! Beautiful! But there are still thousands of us cameramen who use tape-based cameras and are not in a position to upgrade at the moment. Capturing footage is happening real time. So if you’ve shot 3 hours, you will need to find 3 hours to capture it. So, how to disappear this time?

  •    Travel time: if you are traveling from your shoot, capture it as you drive but DO NOT ATTEMPT to fiddle with your laptop AS YOU DRIVE! Its like a mobile phone really.
  •    Lunch time/down time: If you have an hour for lunch and you know that you’ll probably be resetting the lights or waiting on someone, use this time. Or when you’ve arrived home: put it on capture immediately so by the time you’ve unloaded all you kit, washed your hands, etc. you have a bulk of it done.

It’s much easier if you are copying the rushes from a card. Nowadays it’s a fairly quick process.

Editing your footage

If you are blessed enough to have two machines: a laptop and a desktop and you work off external hard drives make sure you time the capturing/ingesting in such a way that while you edit on one machine, the other one does something too.

If you have just one machine its either not possible to capture and edit or not very practical as it strains your project-beaten hard drive.

Exporting your project

Here is the time for you to have fun. Make sure you time rendering, exporting and compressing (for DVD or for the web) times in such a way (on both machines) that you are seamlessly doing something all the time. Here, at this stage you will save your self hours of time.

Until I timed it well, I used to do house work or read a book or go on Youtube but what that does is it pulls your focus away from work. By coming back you have to waste time pulling yourself back in the needed frame of mind to create your piece of work. It just turned out to be more hassle then its worth. Washing up was done, but that’s not the point.

And finally last but not least: night time. Leave all the most processor-intensive processes to go over night. There is no point in gazing at a blue bar moving slowly. 1% complete: uh-huh…

Have a good night sleep instead! On this note I will have to do exactly that. Its 3AM now, I am dosing off in a hotel room in Nottingham: must be alert for the job in the morning!


Mike Bogatyrev.


About zinasemenova

Russian filmmaker and blogger at

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