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Deadline: Yesterday!

Video production can sometimes be extremely stressful when the client needs a quick turnaround. A video editor will not always have the luxury of a two to three-week turnaround for a final product, and will often have a mere two to three days to get the job done.

Over the past several months, I’ve had a few projects that needed to be done and delivered with very tight deadlines. Rather than succumbing to the pressure of a time crunch, I implemented these five easy tips to keep my head above water for those quick turnarounds.

Three of these tips can be done in pre-production to make your transition into the shoot and edit smooth and easy!

  1. Know the premise
  2. Study the script
  3. Get your assets in order
  4. Timecode and take notes
  5. Put it all together
  6. Know the Premise

Your client has a clear vision in their mind for this video, and your job is to make that vision a reality.

Don’t hesitate to ask questions and get the necessary answers you need. What is the target length? What message is the video is trying to convey?

By asking questions like these during a pre-production meeting, you’ll gain a much better understanding of the project scope.

Study the Script

A script is always a useful tool, but during a quick turnaround for an edit, it will be your best friend! Studying the script, a day or two before the shoot will help you to shape your edit.

  • Where do you want to place b-roll?
  • What are the various shots needed for coverage?
  • When will the interviewee or narrator be onscreen?

Studying a script can answer all of these questions, and help build the framework of what the final product will look like.

Additionally, a good understanding of the script, along with insight into what video footage you actually need, could help to optimize the shooting process.

Get Your Assets in Order

During the pre-production process try to obtain as many of the assets you will need from your client (i.e. photos, logos, etc.).

Having these assets before the edit helps take time-consuming tasks like creating lower thirds, animating graphics, and designing title cards out of the edit time.

Use Spare Time Wisely

This is also a time when you can pre-select music for the video by reading the script out loud over various music tracks until you find one that is the right fit.

Timecode and Take Notes

Being an editor on-set is an opportunity to make your pre-cut. Watching a timecoded monitor with the script-in-hand allows you to jot down notes and timecodes that will ultimately become your rough cut.

Writing out the timecodes allows you to quickly go through your footage and piece together the story, rather than sitting through extensive interviews multiple times.

Pulling it all Together

You know the premise, you have studied the script, your graphics are made, and the music bed is picked out. Now it’s time to put it all together.

With the timecoded notes, effortlessly put together your narrative and sprinkle the predetermined b-roll on top of it.

It may not be as quick as snapping your fingers, but following these steps will save you hours of time you don’t have, and will deliver the final product ahead of schedule.


BONUS TIP: Pancake those timelines! Pancaking timelines is a simple and efficient timesaver.

By having your interviews/speaker’s entire clip or clips in one sequence, with your project sequence directly under it, you can drop the time-coded segments onto your project sequence without toggling back and forth between different sequences. The same can be done with your b-roll video if you so choose!

Hopefully, these five tips will help you to quickly turn around the projects with super-tight deadlines, and help to make producing your other projects more enjoyable! Have a video project you’re looking to start? We’re here to provide creative direction and expert quality video production.