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8 Tips for a More Collaborative Video Editing Workflow

Soundstripe Team

Jul 5, 2021

Over 40 years ago, The Buggles achieved worldwide acclaim with their song “Video Killed the Radio Star” — a song about the baton of power being passed from the audio gatekeepers to the visual up-and-comers. 

In the age of internet advertising, video content is still king. With 85% of Americans engaging with video content every month, the opportunities from mastering this craft remain boundless, whether you’re looking to market, to perform, or to improve customer experience.

In the last year or so, working remotely has become commonplace. For people who work alone, this hasn’t presented much of an issue. Solo working is as easily done at home as it is in an office space. And if you’re a writer who sometimes works collaboratively, shared documents and Google Drives offer a simple solution for you.

But video editing presents a much more complex issue. Decisions made about camera gear and video production are often done with a few faces around one screen, discussing the best way to progress. When you don’t have those voices and teammates around you, projects can prove much more difficult to complete to a high standard.


Software for your video editing workflow 

Thankfully, software exists that allows you and your teammates to work remotely to get your projects finished. But just because there are ways of collaborating on video editing doesn’t make the process itself any easier. In many ways, these software programs are similar to Dialpad, linking people in remote locations to something they can work on in real time.

If you’re looking for a better video editing process in this remote work era, stress no more — we’ll be sharing eight tips to ensure your collaborative operation runs as smoothly as possible.


Team members collaborating remotely on video editing

(Source) Collaborative software allows team members in different locations to work on the same project in real time.


1. Grant equal access

You have all your footage ready to go. You have a deadline on the horizon. You have an idea of what the finished project should look like. And you’re about to get stuck into editing. You’re using software that is your bread and butter. You know this stuff like the back of your hand. You know exactly where to go to find the best royalty free music to accompany your project.

But does everyone else on your team have the same version of the same software? If not, you could be in trouble before you even begin.

Regardless of which editing software you use (i.e., Premiere Pro, DaVinci Resolve, or even the iPhone in your back pocket), ensuring that everybody has access to that same software is an essential starting point. Otherwise, how do you expect anything to get done? 

Sure, you can export your video in stages and send completed fragments to someone for them to pick up from. But it’s much easier for you to all be working from the same place, from the start. 

2. Use collaborative apps

We all know that Whatsapp and social media exist. But communication tools such as Trello or Chanty take this a step further. They do so by offering anyone the ability to create, designate, and schedule tasks among the group, and you can do it over the course of a free web meeting.

A key element of project management is the ability to improve business processes by breaking a big task down into smaller tasks. This reduces the intimidation level of a project and makes the end goal seem more achievable. Establishing a presence as a group on one such app, so that everyone can see what they’re supposed to be doing at any time, is an investment that will make the entire process much easier to complete.

3. Commit to file organization

Another issue that you may not have considered is how you organize your files. From the name stamp they’re given, to the location where they’re found, this is never really an issue when working alone, where your method of organizing can be as illogical and as regressive as you want.

But when you’re working remotely, as part of a team that is collaborating on a project, these small details can cause major hurdles. When this is managed well, and there is an agreed-upon system for naming and storing content, it can prove mightily effective. According to research from IDC, it can reduce wasted time spent trying to locate files and knowledge by 35%, or almost ⅖ workdays worth of time. 


An example of file management

(Source) Good file management is the best way to avoid wasting time. 


4. Record important meetings

Two weeks after discussing something with your boss and you’re finally getting around to doing it. The problem is, you’ve forgotten almost everything about it. You can’t approach them, because you’ll seem unorganized or unprofessional. 

We’ve all been there, right? It’s that sinking feeling of dismay that can be avoided from the outset. Setting all your meetings to record — remote or otherwise — means you can refer to everything discussed at a later date, improving workgroup collaboration, giving a traceable record of any agreements that were made, or any tasks that were designated.


5. Plan with storyboarding 

Chances are that most of the people you’re working with are creatively minded. The reason they’re on your team is that they have ideas and know-how to turn those ideas into realities. While this is a wonderful asset to have, it can also mean your end product is something of a camel — that is, a horse designed by a committee.

So, to avoid everyone jostling for superiority when it comes to the direction the video takes, establish a plan from the start. The most effective way to do this is to storyboard it. 

For generations, filmmakers, animators, and those looking to use video marketing have used this technique to ensure that the visions in their mind are reproduced on film. And if being a storyboard creator is good enough for Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese, and Steven Spielberg, surely it’s a technique worth using. 


(Source) Creating storyboards gives everyone a clear idea of how the end video should look.


6. Hold informal meetings

All our tips so far have revolved around the work. And in all this, it can be easy to overlook the human factor in your team. With everyone working remotely, the social side that is often so vital to collaborative work can become forgotten about.

So take time every week to just talk to your teammates. Discuss life and the world outside of your work projects. How’s David finding homeschooling? Is Sam still working on that music project? And did everyone see that hilarious new video of a dog growling in the mirror?

These would arise in an office setting or even a regular communal area. You wouldn’t only talk about the work you’re doing, so remote collaborative work should be no different. Keeping morale high is one of the keys to having a happy team. And a happy team is usually a successful one, too.

7. Schedule daily check-ins 

It’s also beneficial to have chats about work from time to time too. And holding check-in sessions at the end of each day (ensuring they remain secure) to keep everyone up to speed is a great way to do this. 

Someone falling behind on a task could be struggling for a whole host of reasons, with the traditional tools for business not being at their disposal. So, be supportive and encouraging.

Communication via remote working is very different to working in-person. Even if it’s on a video conference call, people don’t have the same cues, like body language or facial expressions, to discern the tone of any feedback. 

You also don’t want the end of each day to be a chore for anyone, and you need people to be open and honest about where they are in regards to their workload. While these discussions need to be a little more formal than the meetings discussed in Tip #6, going too far in this direction can be the death knell for your project.

8. Save certain tasks until the end

As with any artistic or creative process, there are fundamentals to video editing that you need to do from the offset. Other, more minor, tasks can be kept to the end. Think about how you would go about creating a video on your own or with an in-person team, and structure your plans accordingly. 

Tasks like color grading and introducing sound effects can prove frustrating if you carry them out as you go along. So it’s best to leave them to the final finishing touches. In many ways, think about it as though you’re making over your home. You don’t introduce new cushions before you’ve finished the plastering and wiring.


An example of color grading

(Source) Leaving color grading to the end makes it a straightforward task that can be carried out relatively quickly.


Certain tasks that we take for granted when working in-person can create massive backlogs when we switch to remote working. As shown above, pre-planning in a thorough manner is often the best way to avoid these restrictions. 

Further reading

Editing isn’t an exact science, and every project — not to mention every team — will have different needs, especially if you're editing on a smartphone instead of a laptop.

But using these tips as a foundation for your thinking as you head into these collaborative projects should stand you in good stead to complete them as effectively as possible.

If you'd like to learn more tips for post-production, here are some other articles from the Soundstripe blog: