Avoiding Editing Catastrophes Pt. 1 of 2

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Video editing is a complex system of saved data files and a rearrangement of them within the software. This requires proper labeling and storage so that the editing software knows where to look to reference those data files when it is opening your project. There are a number of safeguards you can take to help ensure that you will avoid a massive mistake that will destroy your projects.

Storage Organization

Media management is very important because that’s essentially all non-linear editing is. The software essentially allows you to arrange your computer files into a creative way. To do this it has to know where all of the footage, photos, music, and other media is at in your storage devices. Make sure that all footage is specifically labeled in the storage area once it is captured, and then it is not moved. Any footage or other media that is moved from its original location will have to be reconnected, which is difficult process at times. You may want to keep your footage specially labeled and organized into certain folders in your storage device, but to do this you would have to move it out of the Capture Scratch folder and into a new one. From here you would have to reconnect the media, so if you want to do this you should do it before you ever start the actual editing of that footage. Also, if you are going to do that make sure that the entire piece of footage was captured in one solid piece of media instead of several cut up pieces. This can create an issue with time code when you are reconnecting it after the move. The same goes for photos and music, which should be saved in their respective folders immediately before they are imported into the program. All of these things will help reduce the chance of footage getting lost or accidentally deleted because they were mislabeled.

Project Organization

The same is true of organizing the project actually within your editing file. Your Browser can end up getting very cluttered with footage and other media and it may not be easily accessible if you do not know where it is. Log and label each video clip and place it into files according to type and location in the film. If they are interviews place notes as to the quality, cut it up into sub-clips according to the questions and answers, and then place them into their respective folders. Often your organizational pattern is decided by your creative style. If you want to have each interview question answer in a folder labeled according to the person answering it then that may be best, otherwise you may want to put the answers into folders that are determined according to different sections of the film. This is the best approach for narrative films, where each scene should have its own folder. These are extra important to label so you can discard the useless takes and angles. All these types of organizational choices will make sure that you are able to make educated choices in your editing project. If you do not know what you have by quickly looking through the Browser you are likely to make mistakes when choosing what goes where in your digital film or video.


You are going to need to have the freedom to undo a number of actions. Make sure that the undo settings allow for at least twenty undo operations, otherwise you may make a mistake and will not be able to go all the way back and fix it. Anything more than twenty or thirty allowed undos can slow down the system so keep that in mind.

This post is part of the series: Video Editing

Different articles that address video editing.

  1. Avoiding Editing Catastrophes Pt. 1 of 2
  2. Creating the Perfect Editing Space
  3. Things to Avoid in Your Editing Computer
  4. The Importance of Digital Video Editing
  5. How To Use “Continuity Editing” To Tell Your Story
  6. What Is “Complexity Editing?”
  7. The Basics of Non-Linear Video Editing
  8. Components of a Non-Linear Video Editing Program
  9. Maintaining Your Computer for Digital Video Editing
  10. Knowing What to “Cut-Out” When Editing
  11. Editing Techniques: The Rule of Six
  12. Things to Do Before Installing New Video Editing Software
  13. Things to Avoid When Digital Video Editing
  14. The Editing Order in Video Production
  15. Using Visual Vectors When Editing
  16. Video Transitions for Editing Digital Video