Five tips to accelerate your edit workflows

By Avisek Jena
Associate Director - Product Line Management, PFT

August 25, 2022

Five tips to accelerate your edit workflows

Postproduction workflows have transformed in the last few years. Remote working is just one part of the story. Engaging with the audience early, at various stages in the production, through multiple outlets has made the creative process more dynamic than ever. As a result, the pressure of delivering quality content on time, making it stand out, has multiplied.

In this new normal, editors must spend time on the creatives, focus all their energy on powerful storytelling and not on finding and managing media, chasing collaborators on multiple platforms, scheduling meet-ups, and managing review feedback.

This blog discusses tips and tools companies and editors may adopt to save time in each step of their edit workflows, ultimately leading to faster edits.

1. Organize and curate your content for faster cuts

Whether fresh shots or content from archives, an editor must scrub through hours of content before finding the perfect shot and then repeat the same process to build the entire story. The key to finding the right shots in time is an organized library—a single place for all your assets to browse, search, preview, and shortlist.

While building a story, some tools allow you to mark one or more shots as a favorite or build a collection to help shortlist; but the benefit is unidimensional. Your collections and favorites are specific to a project and may not add value for a different project or another Editor. Modern products aim to solve this holistically, providing options to update clip-level metadata, time-stamped markers, and tags within the clips, resulting in faster searches and meaningful results for everyone during the edit. It seems too easy, huh?

The power of any search is owed to detailed and meticulous tagging. While we shifted the problem during the edit to a problem during content upload, the sheer volume of incoming content and tagging them remains challenging. For your libraries to scale up, explore AI platforms available for the type of content you work with. You would be surprised by the accuracy and reliability of AI tagging and the time that can be saved while preparing every cut.

Easier Discovery: CLEAR® Search, and CLEAR® AI helps you get to your clips of choice faster rather than scrubbing the entire video. CLEAR® allows you to search footage based on every configured metadata and makes auto-tagging of footage possible through its AI; finding the right assets inside CLEAR®'s Premiere Panel is a piece of cake!

2. Get a head start with proxies

With the advent of cloud technologies, organizations can choose from an array of storage options to suit their needs, from high-speed, high-cost to low-speed, low-cost storage tiers. However, moving content to low-cost storage introduces time lags and additional egress charges in accessing them. So organizations are continuously exploring to find their sweet spot between creative freedom & cost efficiency that would help them scale. And this led to the rise of the phenomenon “Edit on Proxy, conform and render on HiRes."

Start immediately by editing proxies and retrieving only the necessary HiRes from low-cost storage tiers after the picture lock. As a result, save time, reduce egress, and optimize high- speed storage.

While this sounds obvious and simple, preparing the final list of assets to retrieve, finding their storage tiers, requesting the necessary teams, and finally linking them back to the project is daunting. These details aside, the real question is, would it add value to your scheme of things? If yes, look for platforms that can manage media logistics for you. Explore various infra and workflows to find what suits your type of work and size of operations.

Faster Edit: CLEAR® gives you the freedom to choose from storages like Masstech, Diva, AWS S3, Glacier, and Azure Blob and provides you creative freedom with its proxy workflows. Start with proxy and locate/restore specific clips in hi-res with automated workflows to conform and render. CLEAR® Panel allows users to accelerate proxy downloads to their edit systems through Aspera. It also automatically watermarks the proxies for your sensitive projects. This reduces the editors’ trouble drastically.

3. Creativity is priceless; save the mundane for automation

Airlines lose money with every minute an airplane is on land. Working on edits is no different.

Editorial review is an iterative and dynamic process. Therefore, reducing the number of hops and the time taken for a cut to reach the reviewers is essential.

Traditionally, editors render the output, upload the file to a shared folder, provide access and intimate the reviewers over chat or call. Automate anything redundant. Some systems can automatically intimate predefined stakeholders when a file is uploaded to a specific folder. Modern-day video platforms have become a hub for such reviews. Once the output is ready, Editors log in to the platform from a browser or an app, upload the asset, and invite relevant stakeholders to review; non-creative yet important tasks of providing and removing access on time are offloaded to the platform.

Faster Review: CLEAR® Panel allows editors to Render and Upload with a single click; CLEAR® triggers the render to Adobe Media Encoder and starts uploading as soon as the file is ready, allowing editors to move on to other sequences or projects. All uploads and downloads from the Panel are accelerated using Aspera, ensuring you are faster to review. And guess what? Uploading the final cut to CLEAR® and triggering an automated delivery workflow is no different.

4. Make collaboration and teamwork effortless

Multiple teams collaborate on several projects over different time zones and work on several cuts simultaneously. Traditionally, most teams and reviewers collaborate seamlessly within the boundaries of a facility. When working remotely, cuts are uploaded to a shared drive, access is granted, and stakeholders are intimated over various channels to provide feedback. These notes are passed through multiple channels and lack a common place for the editors to refer to and act. While this process does the job, it is unilateral. There also exist platforms that allow editors to easily upload and invite relevant stakeholders to review and comment collectively in a single place. This was a significant improvement but doesn’t provide the traditional ‘in- the-room experience’ that we love.

Better collaboration

  • Engage in a video conference within CLEAR® Panel for Adobe Premiere Pro through ‘Zoom’ for live feedback and editing. No need to toggle multiple applications—enjoy secured sharing sessions with registered users of CLEAR®.
  • Notes are time-stamped to the moment played during the video conference, and replies are in context to the notes. Access a useful drawing tool that enables you to draw & annotate on the screen in real-time.
  • While Reviewers can provide their comments from a laptop or mobile, Editors get access to the feedback without moving away from Premiere Pro.

5. Backup smart and reuse

Hours of hard work are put in by various teams in designing, creating, and assembling a story. At the same time, we are excited about the rendered output, and the editable project is often forgotten in the process. However, many organizations understand its importance and back up projects to storage for reuse—say, adapting the story for different geography or to a different language.

More often than not, projects and dependent assets are backed up separately. When any of these projects are pulled to create a new version, locating the dependent assets becomes a nightmare for the editor, who ends up recreating the timeline.

I recall that when a channel underwent a re-branding exercise, a discussion with one of their producers revealed that they had to recreate trailers of 24 different series, even if they had access to all their project backups.

Identify the scope for reuse in your type of business and operations. If it is significant, work towards a strategy to retain the relationship between projects and their dependencies; if possible, archive them together as a package. Instead of noting down paths and folders in Excel, check with your MAM provider for project and dependency support.

Simplified Reuse: CLEAR® helps you backup your projects maintaining their relationship with the assets. If one or more project assets are not part of CLEAR®, it uploads them automatically along with the project. Therefore, it does not harm to back up your projects!

While the above are not out of the ordinary, they could be easily overlooked. However, we believe these tips will help you accelerate your edit workflows in the short and long term.

What are some of your learnings? We would love to know about them in the comments.