Whether you have years of video production experience under your belt or are just starting out, having a smooth workflow is essential for any content creator. Video footage in particular has a sneaky way of getting out-of-hand and if not properly managed, can overwhelm your computer in unorganized chaos. That’s why we created a guide with steps for creators everywhere in the hope that it will help you streamline your post production processes so you can spend more time doing what you love.
Create a content calendar.
This tip is beloved by creatives everywhere and for good reason. With the sheer volume of social media sites in use and posts required for accounts to stay relevant, a content calendar is necessary for a smooth post production workflow. Videographers in particular need ample time to plan shoots, secure models or actors, determine what equipment will be needed, etc. Even if you only record videos from home, planning ahead will save you time and energy in the long run.
Be sure to not only write what content you’re going to post on what days, make sure you’re including filming and editing time too. As you start to create your own, unique workflow, take notes for things you want to remember. Use these notes to create a “final checklist” which you can use for quality control as your video production nears completion.
Organize and label for success.
There are three important things to keep in mind when labeling video footage. First, be sure to organize it in a way that ensures you can find it at a later date. Creators repurpose content all the time and it would be a shame to have to reshoot something you already have great footage for. A media asset management system (MAM) might be worth looking into.
Second, be mindful of your other socials. Sure, you may have just recorded a video for YouTube, but can some of it be used to create clips for TikTok or stills for Instagram? Decide this before you label your files and not after.
Finally, be consistent. Think long and hard about the filing system you want to use and stick to it, otherwise you’ll be in trouble down the road. If you work in a team, make sure everyone knows and abides by the filing and labeling guidelines.
“Quick Edit” according to your storyboard.
Hopefully you had a plan in place before you started filming. If not, now’s the time to roughly outline how you’d like your final video to look. Rather than focusing on fine details, spend this stage trimming and arranging clips in the order you want them.
Now is also a good opportunity to add markers or placeholders for things like special effects, animations, etc. If you’re working with a team, you can add title cards detailing how you’d like a particular scene to look. If you’re solo, cards can also be helpful for remembering details later, especially if you’ll be editing a particular video over a longer period of time.
Pro tip: If your video is a monologue, such as a YouTube tutorial, clap your hands when you make a mistake during filming. The large spike in audio will be easy to spot when you’re editing, allowing you to swiftly add clips to split your video as needed.
While we like to let some time pass (a day or two, at least) so we can do our final round of edits with “fresh eyes,” you’ll need to find the pacing that works best for you. During this stage, add your transitions, effects, graphics, etc. These fine edits will likely be one of the most time consuming stages of your post production, so be sure to pace yourself. The longer and more elaborate your video, the more time you’ll need to allow for proper editing.
Most experts agree that color correction should take place after all of your edits are finished in order to ensure a consistent look and feel throughout your project. Though color correction may seem like a straightforward process, it can get incredibly detailed. If you’re just starting out, focus on making your lighting bright and clear and don’t fuss over fancy filters.
Sound effects, music, and voiceover audio are best saved for last. If you were to spend time tweaking audio in the early stages, that time would be wasted should you need to delete certain scenes later on. Make sure your audio levels are consistent to keep your video as professional as possible—no viewer likes having to turn up the volume due to quiet audio, only to be blasted by music a few seconds later.
If possible, let some more time pass before watching your video all the way through one last time. Better yet, recruit a friend or family member to watch in order to spot any obvious mistakes. Oftentimes when working so closely with a project, we can get lost in the details. You might be so focused on whether the music comes in at just the right time and not notice that the text on screen has a spelling error. It seems silly but even big budget films have simple things slip through the cracks.
As you come to create more projects and develop your own style, you can create the “final checklist” we mentioned earlier. Use your checklist to run through to be sure you haven’t missed anything. Things like making sure your logo (if you use one) is in all of the shots and in the correct place
It’s time to share your creativity with the world! Export your video and share it according to your content calendar. If you had any hiccups with this project, be sure to make a note in your final checklist to avoid trouble in the future.
Hopefully we’ve helped you formulate a plan to make your video post production workflow as quick and smooth as possible. Was there anything we missed? Be sure to let us know if you have any other tips so we can share them with fellow content creators.