Learning how to edit videos faster can be a game changer.
You could boost your productivity as a freelance video editor and make more money editing videos.
You could cut in half the time you spend in post-production if you’re a YouTuber and spend the extra time to produce more videos instead.
Or you could simply free up valuable time and focus on something else that you are passionate about.
As you know, editing videos can take a long time.
In this article I am going to share with you actionable tips and tricks that you can implement right away and start editing videos much faster.
1. Use a fast computer
Video editing requires a powerful computer.
There’s nothing more frustrating than a slow machine when you’re in a rush to finalize a video.
This is so much so important if you are working with 4K or 8K footage, or if you are using lots of effects, or maybe you’re doing animation.
The most important components that you need to pay attention to when you are buying or building a computer for video editing are:
- Graphics card or GPU
With that said, you don’t need to spend a fortune on a computer if you are just starting out as a video editor or if you know you will be doing editing work that does not require a lot of computing power.
If you end up building your our computer, or want to do a RAM upgrade, we explained how much RAM you need for video editing in a previous article.
2. Work with proxies
Creating and using proxy versions of the raw shots will help with the playback of the videos on your timeline.
You should be able to play everything smoothly in real-time.
If you’re constantly pausing the timeline just to give your machine time to catch up, that’s going to slow you down a lot.
Proxies are smaller resolution and lower bitrate versions of the raw footage that can be linked to the original shots.
Then when you’re exporting the edited video, your video editing software will use the hi-resolution versions.
Nowadays, you can set up your video camera to create proxy versions as you’re recording. So that helps streamline the process.
If your video camera doesn’t do that, you can use your video editing software to create proxies.
In Premiere Pro, to create a proxy version of a video file just right click on the file and select Create Proxies and pick a Preset.
Another option is to reduce the playback quality by selecting 1/2, 1/4, or 1/8 instead of playing the footage at Full quality.
3. Use multiple monitors
Having more screen real estate will help you edit videos faster because you will have room for all the different panels/windows you need at the same time.
Even if it’s just one extra monitor it will save you valuable time.
Personally, I use a wide monitor for my timeline and a smaller vertical one for everything else basically – effects, media files, and sequences.
If you can afford it and want to go the extra mile you can use a third, dedicated monitor to show a full-screen preview of the video file you are working with.
4. Import and organize files
Regardless of you how simple or complex your video editing project is, being organize will speed up the process a lot.
You will most likely work with many different assets: raw footage, still photos, graphic elements, audio recordings, music, sound effects, templates, branding elements, and the list can go on.
Organize everything in a clear folder structure on your hard drive and create a similar bin structure insite your video editing software.
I personally like to have at least 4 different bins for the following:
- Raw footage
- Graphic assets
5. Use shortcuts (keyboard or mouse)
Learning and using keyboard shortcuts is a massive video editing time saver.
The less you need to touch your mouse, the better. Unless you have a high end mouse with programable buttons and you can assign different functions to each of them.
But, 90% of the time I keep both hands on my keyboard when I’m cutting videos, especially if I’m in a hurry.
Believe it or not, you ca do almost anything using your keyboard.
Learn as many keyboard shortcuts as possible.
You don’t need to learn all of them at once.
Pay attention to the commands you’re using the most and start learning the keyboard shortcuts for those first.
For me the top 10 keyboard shortcuts I use in Premiere Pro to edit videos faster are:
- Q/W to ripple trim delete
- J/K/L to play, pause and reverse
- E/R to move the playhead one frame forward or back
- (Shift)+Z to zoom in or out on the timeline
- D to select the clip
- CTRL+M to export
- CTRL+K to cut
- B/V to switch between different cutting tools
- M for markers
Pro Tip: Double or triple tap on L to double or triple the playback speed if you want to go through a clip faster.
There are tons of other keyboard shortcuts that you can learn or customize yourself.
6. Break-up your edit in stages
I found it to be much more effective to focus on a single task at a time.
So instead of doing it all at once, here is how I break up an entire edit in easier to chew bits:
- Currate the raw footage
- Create the storyline
- Add b-roll and inserts
- Add music
- Color grading
- Add graphics
- Review and export
Moving down the list above as you complete each step will speed up the entire process and will make the large project more manageable, as you are editing the video in separate standalone stages, instead of doing everything all at once, which can be overwhelming and frustrating at some point.
7. Use markers
Using markers can be a great tool when you are editing your video in stages.
Each time you get an idea about something that you need to do at a particular point into the video (like insert a b-roll), make a note of that by using markers (hit M inside Premiere to create a marker).
So if you’re working on currating the footage and you found a section where you need to add b-roll, instead of stopping what you’re doing and start sourcing for b-roll just put a marker for it and continue currating the footage.
You can then take care of all the b-roll you need in one shot.
8. Use autosync (for audio and video)
You will often have to work with footage and separate external audio recordings.
Maybe you’re also working with two or more cameras.
Instead of manaully syncing all the different audio and video sources, use your video editing software to do that for you automatically.
This way you will cut a multicamera project so much faster.
Inside Premiere Pro you can do that by creating a multicamera sequence.
9. Create libraries
Create a digital assets library with all of them on your hard drive and make that your go-to place for anything that you need:
- lower thirds
- title templates
- end screens
- call to action buttons
- social media call outs
This way you don’t have to spend time searching for the same thing over and over again each time you edit a new video.
That’s a quick and easy tip you can implement right away and start editing your video faster.
Editing videos can be a time-consuming process, but there are many ways to make it faster and more efficient.
Use keyboard shortcuts: Keyboard shortcuts can help you navigate the editing software faster and save you time. Get familiar with the shortcuts and use them whenever possible.
Cut out unnecessary footage: Don’t waste time editing footage that won’t make it into the final video. Delete any shots that don’t contribute to the overall message or story.
Take advantage of presets and templates: Many video editing software come with presets and templates that can help you create a polished final product in a fraction of the time.
Invest in good hardware: A slow computer can slow down the editing process. Invest in a high-performance computer and graphics card to speed up the process.
Plan ahead and edit in stages: Before starting the editing process, take the time to plan out your shots and decide what you want to include in the final video. This will help you stay focused and avoid spending time on unnecessary shots.
Editing videos faster has a ton of benefits.
It saves time and allows you to work on more projects.
It can improve the quality of your work as you can focus more on creative elements rather than technical ones.
By implementing these tips, you can edit videos more efficiently and achieve the results you want.
Cristian Stanciu is a freelance video editor, owner, and post-production coordinator of Veedyou Media – a company offering video editing services to videographers, marketing agencies, video production studios, or brands all over the globe.