Organizing Video & Footage in Your Video Editing Software

Free Film School Online

Finding a system to organized your video editing files should be the first thing you do after opening your Video editor software. It doesn’t matter what video editing software you are using – movie maker, Avid, or Premiere. Every video editor knows that organizing video and footage should be done before capturing or importing the material.

Now, every video editor will find his/her way to orginized the footage, and in this article, I’m going to teach you mine. Finding the strategy to organize your clips will make your work a lot better and faster. If you are working on very small projects right now, you might not see the need for organized files, but you should build the habit of organized work, so you won’t be in shock when big projects come along.

Timing in digital video editing for a Comedy 

In verbal comedies such as sitcoms, the video editor can’t do a lot but using his timing sense. The timing sense is an important tool the video editor must develop when working on a comedy. The editor should keep asking himself, how long can we pull that joke on? When do I raise the rhythm of the editing? And when to put the punchline?

In sitcoms, timing will also be to decide how long the crowed laughter is going to last.

The only way to decide what’s the right timing for each joke is to simply try. There are many ways to show each joke, so be patient and don’t be afraid to keep trying new ideas.

Managing & organizing the clips

Name the clips after the scene’s number, the shot’s number, and the take’s number, so it can be something like 05-06-03, which means scene 5 – shot 6 – take 3. Keep the names short. Now, most of the editing software will let you see what’s in the clip, just by clicking on it. You need to set the clips to show you the thumbnail of each clip

If you already know the material, most video editing software (like Avid) will give you the option to color the clips in a different color like green for good takes and red color for bad takes. Now I’m going to make a folder called RAW MATERIALS and to put all the bins inside it. 

clips in bins

Like this tip? Click here to tweet it

Organizing video in bins and folders

Now you need to decide how you want to capture/Import the materials into the bins. I like to organize the bins first by the days of shooting. For example, If I have three tapes on shooting day 1, they will be placed in the “Day 1” bin. All the tapes of the next shooting day will be placed on the “Day 2” bin, etc.

After I finish all the capturing/importing, I’ll usually make another folder called “Editor” or “Work” . Then I’ll copy all of the clips to new bins, which will be organized by scenes. Later on, you’ll also have to make a bin for graphics, audio, and everything else that is not your video files. If you want, you can also make a bin for bloopers or behind the scenes shots.

Another tip is to give numbers to your folders, for example, 01_Media, 02_Audio,03_GFX, etc. That way, the video editing software will organize the folders in the order you want them to be. I recommended you to have a bin called Master or Current Edit and to put in it the last version of the edited sequence.

No matter what strategy you choose, you must be consistent with it. If something doesn’t work for you, you can change it, but make sure you are changing all the material. I would love to hear how you are managing your video & footage in your video editing software, so you can answer me in the comment section.

The Timeline

The timeline also should be organized in a way that you can find clips very quickly. The best way to do it is to make sure each layer will be for a different type of video or audio. For example, you can have one video layer for someone talking, another layer just for the visuals to cover him, another layer just for the subtitles, and another one. That may sound like a lot of layers, but trust me, it will help work faster and more efficient. In the image below, you can see I’ve even colored each type of layer in  a different color and I even gave a name to each type of layer. 

Orginized time line