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Creating an Editing Log

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 12/14/2009

Learn about how to put together an adequate editing log.

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    Building and Editing Log

    The post-production process can be the most complicated and creatively involving of the entire film or digital video process. As digital video becomes the standard people begin to shoot much more footage than ever before because the cost is next to nothing. At the same time this leaves with more footage that you must keep organized. The non-linear editing process is really just about media management, organization, and arrangement, so without a clear guide and roadmap you can get lost very easily. One of the best ways to go in and make sure that you are staying on track is to keep an editing log.

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    Writing Up Post-Production

    The editing log is similar to the shot log except that it is used in post-production. The editing log is often constructed by the assistant editor, or second assistant on larger productions, to keep a general record of reference for all the footage that is used. The footage is catalogued in conjunction with the shot log and production schedule that was used to acquire the footage. The video footage will be listed in the editing log according to timecode and / or computer location, the quality of the footage, and the footage type. This is then continued to be organized in accordance with the scenes and order in which it will be arranged.

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    For the Editor

    Often times the footage itself will not be captured before the editing log comes together, which is often the case if it is shot on expensive film. In this case the timecode is going to be especially important in the editing log, even for the assistant editor as he or she goes back and does the correct capture with the footage for the final online edit. If the footage is captured the direct address in the Browser is going to be important, as well as the direct location of the raw captured footage. This will help the editor to know where the footage is, what storage devices are needed at all times, and keep a clear relation between things so that media does not become disconnected or get deleted.

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    Editing Log Template and Documentary Post-Production

    The are different formats that are used for editing logs, but really the one that is going to be most effective is the one that the editor prepares ahead of time. The reason this is true is that only he or she is going to really know what format communicates to them best and includes all the relevant information.

    There is also going to be a difference in film type, especially between narrative and documentary. Documentaries are much more complicated during the post-production non-linear editing process so it is more important to label where all footage is. Since documentaries will also have strait footage, archival footage, news clips, photos, music, interview footage, and other types of content you will have to organize all of this in the shot list as well.