Viewfinder: Are We There Yet?

Are We There Yet?

Making video can be extremely time consuming. The research, the planning, the scripting and the shooting all can require many man-hours. Then there’s the logging, the rough editing, the titles, music and fine polish editing. Each of these steps can easily be reduced or extended without much thought required. In total, the time invested into an entire project can shrink or grow by up to 20%. And, let’s be honest, usually it grows. Developing the skills of time management can make you not only a better video creator, but also a happier and more successful person.

Many of you are required to edit video under hard and fast deadlines that cannot be missed. If you create video that will air on television, you must have the tape finished and delivered to the studio before it is scheduled to go on the air. Although this can be stressful at times, it makes the job of knowing when to stop the project much easier. I am sure that those people with rigid deadlines work more hours per day as the deadline approaches. Some of you will even pull all-nighters, drinking coffee at 3:00 in the morning just so that a few more hours of editing can be crammed into the day. Even people with hard deadlines can learn to improve their time management.


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It is best if you create a time estimate or budget at the outset of a video project. In an ideal scenario, you would even estimate the number of hours that you’d invest each day. For me, this is much easier to write about than to actually implement. Taking my own advice would serve me well. Recently I have been working on a video project that has consumed much more time than I could have ever anticipated. To begin with, I had no deadline, because it was a "hobby" video. I was doing it for my own enjoyment. Editing this video has really gotten out of control.

At times, it has become a compulsion of mine. I found myself spending more time thinking about it than I probably should have. As I worked, I would come up with new ideas and test them out on the editing timeline. As I was doing this, I unintentionally increased the number of times that I was rendering and viewing the project. As you all know, the more times that you look at something, the easier it is to spot imperfections. At first, the little imperfections didn’t bother me. But, as the days wore on, they began to wear on my nerves. Those little imperfections began to really bother me. Against my better judgement I decided to take just a few extra minutes to make a few improvements. What could a few minutes hurt? Inevitably, these "quick" changes expand into yet another a two-hour editing session. At the height of this experience, I was craving editing time. It became an obsession. I’ve learned a lot about mismanaging my time during this project.

Then again, this is supposed to be my hobby, right? Editing video is something I do in my leisure time. Something that helps me to unwind after a hard day at the office.

Something that allows me to express myself creatively. It should be fun. And after all, I am the Editor of Videomaker magazine. It’s only right that I spend lots of my spare time editing video.

But this video became more than a fluffy, fun project. It took over my existence. It was synchronized to music, and there have been so many opportunities to match the tempo just exactly to the right image. To trim each shot to the exact frame necessary to make the project "tight." The whole situation grew into a monster. Like many obsessive video editors, my tendency toward being a perfectionist got the best of me. I had to learn when to let go. I had to learn when to say "when." And, I will. Just as soon as I trim a couple more frames!

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