“All editors have to do grunt work, or they simply don’t know what they’re working with.”
In the below video we show you the fastest way to edit weddings, and in specific, what we call the ‘everything edit’. Some wedding companies call it ‘raw’ edit, or ‘documentary’ edit. It is when a client says ‘I want an edit that shows everything that happened’. You must deliver, but what is the fastest technique?
Clients think it is simple. It is not. On an ‘everything edit’ you have to do about 80-90% of the work you would have to do for a shorter length highlight edit. It is the majority of the ‘grunt work’ in editing – sorting, syncing, color grading, audio-levelling, low-level curating, etc etc. All editors have to do grunt work, or they simply don’t know what they’re working with.
At Wobble, our mission is to remove the grunt work of video editors, so this really interests us.
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Redundant – remove any time a shooter does 2 or more identical shots, common for artsy shoots where they get many takes.
Erratic – remove all optical chaos like shake, wobbles, rattles, etc. Like most genres, wedding footage must be stable.
Dead-time – remove any moments of the event where absolutely nothing is happening and no one is interacting.
RULE 2 – KEEPERS – Time Limits for shots you KEEP
3-5 seconds for b-roll shot
4-5 seconds for ‘group photo’ shot
100% of speeches, games or performances
100% of stable dance footage
As you can see in the video, with a simple set of rules, editing becomes a lot easier and more manageable. Especially if you hire editors. You can give them these rules, and with careful supervision and coaching, you can show them how to consistently follow them.
Finally, we demonstrate the powerful ‘O with play’ Macro Technique, which boosts your b-roll editing speed dramatically. We suggest checking out macros and video editing, if this is the first time you’re hearing about them. They are a game-changer.
Keep in mind we made an AI plugin called Shakefree that can really help with a job like the ‘everything edit’. It auto-deletes the ugly shake from your raw footage, giving you a huge head start on the ‘everything edit’. Try the AI for free.
“Many creative businesses crash and fail on the rocks of poor company culture.”
In below video we explore video editing and culture, and ask: what is a video editor’s most important virtue? If you need to hire an editor, this is an important question. What type of person do you wanna work with, after all? They are thinking the exact same about you. Studies have shown millennial workers value company culture over pay, so you need to create a culture they want to be part of.
At my wedding video business Glimmer Films, we have a set of 5 core virtues we ask people embody everyday. In the video below, I describe them in alphabetical order, and at the end, I explain which I think is the most fundamental, and why. In the text below, you’ll see how I coach the virtues to new hires.
1 – Be Honest and Loyal
This is a virtue common to almost most successful cultures and businesses in human history. Just be straight with us and we’ll be the same with you. If any of our team fails at this, please tell us right away.
2 – Kaizen
It is Japanese and means ‘change good’. For editors, it means constant improvement. Culturally, you must always expect this is of yourself, and your teammates. For editing, this means never getting complacent with your current workflow. Always look for rational ways to experiment and improve.
3 – Open-Mindedness
Ray Dalio, the most successful hedge fund manager in world history, has a cultural policy at his company called ‘radical open-mindedness’. When they debate on investments, everyone has a fair say, and they even score people based on their past accuracy. The billion dollar decisions his team makes are done with an open-mind to each other, and history has proven it a very successful virtue.
With editing, your client may have an idea that at first seems bad, but maybe run with it and see where it goes. Or, just stop editing for a while, and study what other people are doing. Artists are great thieves, some famous artist once said (who was it? put it in the comments).
4 – Phalanx Discipline
This virtue is an analogy I stumbled across when reading about Alexander the Great and ancient Greek warfare. I wondered: how was Alexander so successful as a general? What were his cultural secrets? His virtues? Well it turns out, he was only a part of his success. What else helped him become GREAT? The dreaded Macedonian phalanx, brandishing their extra long sarissa spears.
What is fascinating about the phalanx is its vulnerability. At first glance it seems impenetrable. But in truth, all it takes is one of the 150 men to misstep in the slightest, and the entire phalanx gets tangled, and even a small child would walk up and fatally stab them with a knife.
The Macedonians made things even harder for themselves by using the long sarissas. They were 4-8 feet longer than most other armies at the time, maxing out at 20 feet in length.
But they were so disciplined in their phalanx movements, armies that were 3-4 times their size stood no chance.
This is phalanx discipline, and it is one of the main cultural reasons Alexander was great in the first place. Remove his army’s incredible discipline, and he would not have gotten as far as India (which no other general EVER did in human history, since him. Julius Ceasar tried in 44 BC, but was assassinated the day before he was supposed to leave for the campaign).
By now, you’re thinking: What the heck does this Greco-Roman history have to do with me as an editor? A LOT.
Culturally, if you choose to skip a step in the edit workflow because of lack of discipline, the whole team trips. Many people suffer: Clients get angry, managers get yelled at, post coordinators get stressed. The company loses time, morale and money. This is the phalanx getting tangled, and becoming vulnerable to attack. This is what you do to the team, when you skip a step in the edit workflow. This is why you must be phalanx disciplined in all you do, and you must expect this from your teammates as well. We understand you’ll make errors, but culturally if you really value discipline as a core virtue, the errors will stop much sooner.
5 – Self-Control
This virtue I also found in ancient Greece with Socrates, but also in colonial America with Benjamin Franklin, a little over 2000 years later. Both of these great men practiced and preached the art of self-control. Socrates said: ‘an unexamined life is a life not worth living’. It was said he had a very bad temper when he was younger, but at a certain age, he gained control of his emotions, by constant self-examination and understanding. After all, you can’t control that which you can’t examine and understand.
Benjamin Franklin carried around a spreadsheet with 13 virtues. He literally scored himself on his ability to live by these virtues, recording every time he failed, then tabulating the results once per month, and seeing what he has to optimize. Talk about self-control!
For editing, well, it can be really frustrating sometimes. Shooter errors, client demands, computer crashing, software compatibility issues, distractions, etc etc. Culturally, you have to value self-control, so when the going gets tough, you’re not the person who broadcasts your emotions. (A secret from a business owner: No one likes working with the person who broadcasts their emotions.) Instead, you’ll stay in control and will work to solve the problem. I’m pretty sure this is the type of editor you would want to work with, right?
Check out the video below to see which of the 5 virtues I declare as the most vital. Of course, they are all very important.
‘Group Culture’ is often overlooked by artists when they scale and build teams, and this is a perilous path. Many creative businesses have crashed and failed on the rocks of poor company culture. But if you get culture right by coaching key virtues, your business can become a wellspring of virtue
“Shot Composition is the strategic arrangement of elements in a photo or video frame.”
What is shot composition? I googled it and found there is no formal definition, only confusion…
Definition 1 – composition refers to the frame of the image and how the elements of the mise-en-scène appear in it. Composition guidelines must be observed when telling stories visually, as in filmmaking.
Definition 2 – The phrase “shot composition” refers to the art and practice of arranging the visual elements on the screen so that they communicate your intended message clearly.
Definition 3 – how to arrange things in your shot, and how to make them look natural, formal, wacky or scary.
I don’t think any of those are simple or clear enough, so I’ll give it a shot:
Shot Composition is the strategic arrangement of elements in a photo or video frame.
I say ‘strategic’ because you have to favour certain tactics over others, and which tactics you favour impacts your style. Some people do symmetrical frames a lot, some people swear by bokeh, while others forbid it entirely. What is important is you pick a couple tactics, master them, and run with them consistently. Dabble here and there too much, and you dilute your shooting style. Instagram is full of artists who constrain themselves to just a couple composition tactics – and almost always, this adds to the charm and quality of their work.
In the video below, we explore 9 rules, or tactics, you can use in your shot composition strategy. It does not matter if you’re video or photo, these rules apply evenly. These are, in no particular order:
1 – Symmetry
2 – Depth
3 – Balance
4 – Leading Lines
5 – Separation
6 – Lighting
7 – Depth of Field
8 – Perspective
9 – Rule of 3rds
10 – Parallax – We also explore this 10th bonus rule for only video shooters
Hopefully this information helps you build your voice as a shooter. It is a marathon, not a sprint. Patiently see which rules you are best at, then expand on them and master them. Soon, you’ll have a distinctive style people will recognize and follow.
Any rules you can think of that we didn’t mention? Add them to the comments.
At Wobble, we believe in teaching editors the WHY (theory), not just the HOW (practice). Theory is upstream from practice, and if we use it properly, theory can transform our lives and the lives of others we know. If used improperly, theory yields little results.
WHY should you spend time to learn 4 macros as a video editor? In the video below, I talk about the analogy of ‘sharpen your saw’, used by Stephen Covey in his classic book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”
The analogy clearly shows the difference between hard work and smart work. Covey tells a story:
Suppose you were to come upon someone in the woods working feverishly to saw down a tree.
“What are you doing?” you ask.
“Can’t you see?” comes the impatient reply. “I’m sawing down this tree.”
“You look exhausted!” you exclaim. “How long have you been at it?”
“Over five hours,” he returns, “and I’m beat! This is hard work.”
“Well, why don’t you take a break for a few minutes and sharpen that saw?” you inquire. “I’m sure it would go a lot faster.”
“I don’t have time to sharpen the saw,” the man says emphatically. “I’m too busy sawing!”
As an editor, you need to stop editing and sharpen your saw. Many editors think they are “too busy”, like the person in the above analogy. And many editors wonder why they are so tired after editing, like the person above. There is another way.
HOW do macros sharpen your saw as a video editor? They make it “go a lot faster”. In the video below, we show you how to do 4 macros:
1 – O with play: this macro combines setting the OUT point, pressing ripple delete, then pressing play. A 300% time savings.
2 – Fast Slow Mo: this macro combines the 7 keys and clicks needed to make a clip slow mo. A 700% time savings.
3 – Color Paste Forward: this macro combines the 6 keys and clicks needed to replace color settings for bulk clips in a sequence. A 600% time time savings.
4 – Deselect Series: this macro series combines a mundane keystroke – like add transition, disable clip, edit to playhead, etc – with the deselect keystroke . A 200% time savings.
Finally, macros have transformed other aspects of my art and business. I use them in MAIL, CHROME, LIGHTROOM, PHOTOSHOP. They are extremely agile and customizable. The possibilities are endless, and new ideas will arise as new workflows arise.
Macros are a tool I will never work without again in my life, and I hope they help you too.
Did you discover any new macro ideas when reading this or watching below video? Share in the comments. So many possibilities!
In below video I demonstrate what I believe is the fastest way to colour correct in Adobe Premiere, when working with lots of footage. I’m not claiming this is the best method, just what I think is the fastest. This is a good technique if you don’t want to spend hours perfecting your shots but you still want them to look decent and consistent. So if you color correct wedding videos, documentaries, youtube videos, this can be very helpful.
In the video we go over 2 things:
1 – how a “decision tree” thought process can help you speed up your color workflow
2 – my specific “decision tree” when it comes to color. You can make your own, and it doesn’t have to just be for color, but I’ll show you what works for me in this context.
But what the heck is a decision tree? It is defined as:
A graphical representation of specific decision situations that are used when complex branching occurs in a structured decision process.
What!? For a basic example people do every day, think of the clothing decision one makes every day, and see below diagram:
As you can see, we all use decision trees everyday in mundane situations. But if we’re smart, we should also use them as video editors, especially when optimizing our workflows.
The technique we teach is a 3 step technique that includes:
1 – adjust CURVES for bulk global exposure adjustment.
2 – adjust WHITE BALANCE for correct color temperature and consistency.
3 – FINE TUNE with the sliders in the Basic panel of Lumetri.
I hope this helps to simplify things for you editors.
“In my case, macros functioned as a form of healthcare and tax-payer savings”
After a bad hand injury I was unable to video edit and earn an income. Thankfully I had discovered macros for video editing by that point, so I tweaked things and was able to find a way to edit with 1 hand. Also, my right hand was injured and I am right handed – this added to the challenge.
I edit weddings and there is a lot of b-roll you have to edit to the beat of music. Also, you scrub and curate the best shots from a mass of footage. Both problems were solved by the technique I use and demonstrate in below video.
This shows you the liberating power of macros. They literally helped me when I was injured and one handed. They enabled me to continue earning income, otherwise it would have been very difficult. In my case, macros functioned as a form of healthcare and tax-payer savings – all good things!
Interestingly, once my hand healed, I stayed with the technique most the time, as it was obviously easier than a 2 handed technique.
If you know anyone hampered with a hand injury, share this with them so they can keep at it!
Thanks for reading and enjoy the video!
Meet your new assistant editor Shakefree
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“If you get this rule wrong your work will look bad.”
In below video we propose THE golden rule of video shooting and editing. We may be wrong, and if you think we are, add a comment below.
If you get this rule wrong, we believe, nothing else matters in terms of shooting or editing style… your work will not look good.
It is called the KISS Rule – Keep it Simple and Stable.
For Simple, all you have to do is go to Netflix to see an example. Unless it is an action scene with intended shake, the camera moves are extremely simple. The dollies move just one direction, the camera rarely pans or tilts more than 10-15 degrees. Inexperienced shooters often completely miss the ‘simple’ mandate in shooting – and it is by far the most critical.
At my wedding company, we teach new shooters to do only 1 element shots on the slider or gimbal. This means only do a dolly move, OR only a pan. Do not combine them. When you try to do complex things at weddings, they backfire. Don’t take my word for it though. Phillip White, a world renowned wedding videographer, has an extreme focus on simplifying the process of shooting a wedding.
For Stable, all you have to do is look at the massive array of motorized camera stabilizers available today, including gimbals, sliders, and steadicams. Everyone uses one of these tools, and you should too. Why? Because no one wants to edit ugly shake in footage, and even with these tools, shake always finds a way in. You have to minimize shake every chance you get.
The TWO work together this way. By keeping your shots simple, it is easier to keep them stable. By focusing on keeping them stable, you end up favoring simpler camera moves, like the pros do. And think about it, these pros have dozens of people on set. You shoot alone (likely) so who are you to try more complex shots than them? (I ask this to my wedding shooters all the time).
As an editor, NEVER EVER include ugly shake in your edits, unless you’re forced to. If the shooters you’re editing are trying complex dolly + Pan + Rack combos, that look horrible and too busy – SPEAK UP! Editors rely on shooters for their happiness, so we need to speak up when shooters lose their way. After all, if editors don’t speak up, who else will.
We hope these fundamentals in shooting and editing help you to be a better artist.
In below video, we show how Shakefree AI helps video editors by doing some of the grunt work. Try the AI for free: https://www.shakefree.io
Wobble is an AI Company / Tribe of Artists. We save editors time in 2 ways: 1 – tips & tutorials 2 – AI plugins that automate editing task.
Shakefree is our first AI plugin. It automates the MOST TEDIOUS edit task of all: deleting ugly shake from footage. You know, the little wobbles at the start and stop of your shots, or the big wobbles when you reposition to get a better angle. Why not have the computer do these edits for you overnight? So when you start editing, you can flow much better between shots.
“If you video edit and you still don’t use macros after reading this, you are self-inflicting time loss.”
Macros are hands down the most powerful innovation I have made to my editing workflow. If you video edit and you read this, and you still don’t use macros, you are self-inflicting losses of time you will never get back. I empirically prove this in the video at the bottom of this article.
A macro is a rule or pattern that specifies how a certain input sequence should be mapped to a replacement output sequence according to a defined procedure.
That is pretty thick and obtuse, but effectively, it means you can override your keyboard, and make certain keys execute sets of actions, like keystrokes, mouse clicks, open apps, etc. They key is this: you control how these actions are designed, and the opportunities are endless.
This agility puts macros in their own league as an editing innovation. They can be manipulated differently by each editor, to best suit their workflow. They can be simple or complex. For myself, I needed them for editing a high volume of weddings. So I designed macros that automated aspects of b-roll editing and bulk color correction. The macros sped up my workflow, they increased my income dramatically, and they made editing a lot more enjoyable.
I also used macros when I had to do sales and admin, to automate certain sentences I write in many emails, like: Let me know if you have any other questions. As an admin, I typed this sentence 10-15x per day… no more, after macros.
In the video below, I show how I created a macro for SLOW-MO – one of the most common techniques in wedding video editing. I turned a 7 step process into 1 keystroke – a 700% increase in efficiency, with one macro. Instantly I noticed a small boost to my editing speed and overall happiness – and most important, the quality of my work increased because I had more flow between edits.
How did I discover macros for video editing? Usually they are used by computer scientists and gamers, so this is a valid question.
The answer: Step Theory.
I created Step Theory to coach people at my wedding business Glimmer Films how to be more efficient and have more flow. It was inspired from the school of lean thinking, and in particular, Taiichi Ohno, former Toyota COO, and Andy Grove, the former CEO of Intel, both masters of efficiency. The goal of step theory is simple: remove steps from a process without removing value from the outcome.
So I found myself editing for weeks straight, executing the same actions again and again – ripple delete, next edit, transition, etc etc – and I started to ask: Can’t this be done in less steps? Like an algorithm, I filtered all my hotkeys and processes thru this simple question, looking for any opportunities to optimize. And soon enough, the breakthrough: I found macros.
It was love at first sight. Within seconds, I knew this software and I would have a close relationship for the rest of my life. Within a week, 8 editors at my wedding business Glimmer Films were using them, and reporting massive time savings. Profit increased, morale increased, quality increased – the ripple effects of macros are still being felt.
This clearly shows how THEORY and PRACTICE can work together to enrich the lives of video editors. Without incessantly asking the theoretical question – ‘can’t this be done in less steps?’ – I would never have found the practical tool –macros.
Try this simple technique of Step Theory, constantly ask that question, and see what you discover. It is like meditation or fitness. You have to do it consistently for a while before you see any real results. But it is worth it in the long-term.
Keyboard Maestro is my go-to macro program. They have a great service team and product support. And the app is as user-friendly as possible. I’ve had 0 problems with it in 5 years. Even culturally, I can tell that the team values the right things, evident in their prompt when it is time to buy the app. See below. Note how it clearly estimates how much time savings it gave you. I love this! This is how more software companies should think, because TIME is by far the most valuable thing we have.
But there are countless other options for macro programs, and they are all relatively inexpensive, for the time savings they give you.