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How to stay organized when editing


How to stay organized when editing

Keeping my assets organized during an edit is a very important part of my process. I keep the same form of organization for every project, whether it be a 15 second commercial or a full length documentary. Nothing changes, and it's important to keep everything consistent.

Projects can get messy very quickly if you’re not careful. Last year, a company I worked paid for our team to attend a workshop on video editing called; ‘The Cutting Edge Post-Production Tour’ with Adam Epstein. Adam is the head video editor for Saturday Night Live. If you watch the show you have probably seen a lot of his work.  

I learned a lot of great tips and tricks at this workshop, but the way Adam stayed organized was by far the most valuable lesson for me. I’ve changed some ways he does things to adapt to my workflow, but his basic idea is still in place. 

The first thing I do on every project is import a series of folders. Each folder is numbered and labeled. 

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 2.21.31 PM.png


This folder is for all your Rough and Final Sequences. Keep all of your Rough Cuts so you can go back if the client liked what you did on a previous cut.


I don’t use this folder on every project, but when I have an multi-cam interview or scenes for a longer film, this folder is like gold. I like to place each muliti-cam interview in a different sequence so I can go back to the 'Raw 'interview to pick different sound bites. If I'm shooting a film and have different takes, I love to make a sequence and place each take in the sequence and play it out in one timeline. This is much easier for me when it comes to picking the best take, instead of viewing it the source monitor. Just let it all play out.


This might be the most important folder. ALL of your footage will be placed here, So always make sub folders for different locations, scenes, reels, etc. 


All of your logos, titles and textures will be placed in this folder. 


I have a large collection of film burns, light leaks and other visual "eye candy" that I’ve accumulated over the years. In almost every project, I’ll import most of those effects so I have easy access to them. 


Again, over the years I’ve collected a large catalog of sound FX. I’ll import all of these if I need them. I’ll also put any sound design in this folder. 


Every time I send something to After Effects it creates a new asset. I will place all of those in this folder


All music and voice overs will be placed in this folder


Sometimes you just have some "junk" come into the project. I place all of that in this folder. I don’t delete any of it, because you never know if you might need it again. 


With these nine folders you should have a place for everything! It is such a good feeling to open up a very large project and know where everything is. I hope these quick tips help you in future projects. I know it they've helped me! 


Below I have attached the nine folders so you can use these tips in your next project!


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