The 12 Basic Truths of Video Editing [u]

Posted on by Larry

[ I originally wrote this for Apple Final Cut Pro X editors. However, over the years, I realized that these “Truths” apply to all video editing. I tweaked these on Aug. 22, 2020.]

I’ve taught audio and video editing online and in-person for almost twenty years. Recently, it struck me that having a list of “core principles” would be useful in orienting new students.

Here are my thoughts:

  1. Time spent planning and organizing media before you start editing is never wasted. It is especially helpful to design your edit to meet the specs of your deliverable.
  2. You will always need more storage. Planning an edit based upon the capacity of your storage is like planning a vacation based upon the size of your car’s gas tank. Storage is cheap. No project ever got smaller during production.
  3. The speed and capacity of your storage is more important than the speed of your CPU.
  4. All GPUs create the same image quality – the difference between them is speed.
  5. Shoot and edit the frame rate you need to deliver. I can’t stress this enough. Changing frame rates is a life-altering experience. (As a corollary, the web does not care about frame rate – it will play whatever you shot.)
  6. The best way to improve the quality of your picture is to have great audio.
  7. Backups of all project and media files are essential. Editing without backups redefines the word:”pain.”
  8. Keyboard shortcuts will not make you a better editor; but they will make you a faster editor.
  9. Using proxies during your edit does not make you less of an editor; they DO make you faster and decreases the load on your storage. Proxies make multicam, 4K and HDR editing easier.
  10. Effects and color grading take all the time you have between now and your deadline; plus another hour or two. Make sure your story is complete before starting to add effects.
  11. Always export a master file, then compress later. This gives you a high quality file for backup, archiving and compression.
  12. No video project is ever perfect. Don’t strive for perfection, strive to get it done.




Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The 12 Basic Truths of Video Editing [u]

  1. vina94602 says:

    For “Ask Larry Anything”
    Have you ever created a tutorial for creating one of these group musical videos (eg a choir, or musical group), where all the individual members appear on the same screen in differently sized boxes?
    Would love to see how you’d approach this!

  2. Don Stafford says:

    Your ’12 Basic Truths of Video Editing’ are right on. #2 and #7 can’t be stressed enough. And #11 is also very important.

    I recently took on a 5k project and had to buy/build another RAID (12tb RAID-5) just to be able to backup the media and FCP X Library for that particular project.

    Everything I do is on RAID-5 arrays, with the exception my cache. I have a RAID-0 SSD array for caching.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Larry Recommends:

FCPX Complete

NEW & Updated!

Edit smarter with Larry’s latest training, all available in our store.

Access over 1,900 on-demand video editing courses. Become a member of our Video Training Library today!


Subscribe to Larry's FREE weekly newsletter and save 10%
on your first purchase.