Five Tips to Become a Faster Video Editor

Five Tips to Become a Faster Video Editor

As any filmmaker knows, time is money. Falling behind on a project doesn’t just put a dent in your schedule, it can also put a dent in your income. That's why it’s so important that you have some time-saving strategies up your sleeve to ensure that if some unforeseen delay occurs, you have the ability to steer your project back on course.

If you’re not sure what kind of strategies we’re talking about, then please, feel free to borrow any or all of these!

Rough Edit, Fine Edit, Final Edit

It’s the golden rule of editing and one you no doubt already know. But the big question is: do you follow it? It’s amazing how many editors deviate from the rough cut so that they can tend to fine or final edits. Yes, color imbalances and shaky audio are annoying as all hell. But the fact of the matter is, these things can and should wait until the very end.

Spending your time tinkering with footage that hasn’t even made it past the rough cut phase is no different to applying the finishing coat on a wall that hasn’t even been sandpapered or painted yet. 

Whatever you do, don’t be one of these people. Be smart and stick to the program: rough cut first, fine cut second, final cut last.

Get a Solid Royalty Free Music Library

Picture this: you’ve just finished editing a video only to find yourself knees deep in a desperate search for the perfect royalty free music to top it off, coming up against a bunch of paywalls along the way. Sound familiar? Of course it does. 

If you repeatedly find yourself in this situation then it’s high time you bit the bullet and subscribed to a royalty free music library that’s capable of catering to all your audio needs in a pinch. It mightn’t feel like it now, but trust me, this will turn out to be one of the best investments you ever make. 

There are tons of libraries out there so when shopping around be sure to select one that offers a diverse range of audio files, and for a reasonable price. Also try to find one that stocks other products (like motion graphics templates and stock footage) so you don’t need to go forking out additional cash in the likely event that you end up needing these items as well.

One website that covers all the bases is Motion Array, an online marketplace offering some 30,000 audio files plus a bounty of top-notch motion graphics templates and plugins. Compared to most other subscription-based libraries out there, Motion Array’s monthly fees are hella cheap, with paid memberships starting at just $24/month and capping out at $54/month. And the best bit of all: Motion Array memberships also come with free access to the websites super spiffy video portfolio builder, as well as its cloud-based video review system. I know right, talk about a one-stop shop!

Increase Productivity With the Pomodoro Technique

Being able to stay laser-focused on long, complex tasks is pretty much the number one prerequisite for video editing. That said, you’re only human and your brain is going to need a break from time to time. 

To help you pace out these mental pit-stops out in an organized, conducive way, start integrating the Pomodoro Technique into your daily workflow. The Pomodoro Technique is where you divide your work into a series of 25-minute chunks, stopping to take 2-3 minutes breaks in between each of those chunks. Once you’ve cycled through 4x sequential 25-minute blocks, you can stop to take a 20-minute break before jumping back in to repeat the entire process all over again. 

Breaking your work up into small manageable segments like this helps keep your mind fresh, focused, and a lot less likely to succumb to distractions, allowing you to power through more of your projects in one sitting. If you want to give the Pomodoro Technique a whirl, try one of these free online timers to help get you started. 


There’s no two ways about it: keyboard shortcuts are the key to a better, faster workflow. As for how to go about learning them, there are several different approaches you can take. You either can memorize every single shortcut there is by heart, you can just memorize the essentials, or alternatively, you can throw money at the situation and snag yourself one of these KB keyboard covers

KB Covers offers keyboard covers for a range of different programs (including Premiere Pro, After Effects, and Final Cut Pro) and start at just $29.95. The one drawback being that they’re only compatible with Macs. 

Get Comfortable!


Studies have shown that the more comfortable an employee is, the more productive they’ll be. So why not do your output levels, and your butt, a big favor and get comfy! 

Start by arranging your editing suite in a way that’s both inviting and conducive to better work—for inspiration look no further than this video. Next, invest in a solid ergonomic chair — here you can find some great recommendations for under $200. And lastly, eliminate all brain-draining distractions — by which I mean check your phone at the door and set some seriously strict social media bans. 

Turning your workspace into a mini postproduction paradise that you actually want to hang out in will have massive benefits for both your work and your mental state. 

Long Story Short…

We all know how hard it can be to carve time out of a busy work schedule to make enhancements to the way we work. But the consequences of not doing can be really costly. Taking the time to implement strategies that’ll speed up your workflow and help you be more productive will have massive benefits on the quality and quantity of your projects. And the sooner you start embracing these strategies, the easier they’ll be to learn! 

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1 Comment

Mark James's picture

Some good ideas, thanks.