There are some film editing tips you can only pick up from experience. Cristobal Olguin has worked with CuriousWorks as an editor on a number of projects – from Las Rosas, to CuriousTV! to Prone to the Drone. Over the years, he’s grown in knowledge and experience, and it’s been clear from the way his way of working has evolved. In this Toolkit entry, Cristobal shares three lessons he’s picked up from his experience working as a film editor.

If you’re interested in learning more about Cristobal and the work he’s done, check out his bio or his personal website.

Toolkit Entry by Cristobal Olguin

ABOUT ME 

My name is Cris, and I’m a filmmaker based in Western Sydney with a background in directing and editing. What I love about directing is the chance to explore new stories and discover new ways to tell those stories visually and what draws me to editing is the puzzle-solving process of bringing multiple elements together to tell a story.

The fun thing about being an editor is the opportunity to work with other directors, producers and creatives and learn from different productions to gain a wider perspective and understanding of storytelling. 

BE ORGANISED  

To edit efficiently, being organised is just as important as being creative. There are a couple of guidelines I follow to keep my projects organised and ready to go. Currently, I use two systems to organise my project files and hard drive when working on a new project.

 

Example image of how to organise filmmaking files

I organise my project files based on the applications I use, media, and project files. I sort them in numerical order to reflect the editing progress overtime.  I start with the media folder with the original footage and audio I will be working on, followed by the next stages of editing, sound, motion graphics, any VFX work, color and finally exports. This can vary project to project, depending on the requirements as sometimes I might remove a few folders, or add more folders depending on what’s needed.

I use the same method when organising my timelines and media within the editing software. This can be done through Premiere Pro, Final Cut and DaVinci Resolve. By organising your project file through bins and folders, it will make it easy for you to keep track of your selected clips, your scenes, assembly cuts, rough cuts, etc.

Another habit that would help is to add the dates and additional descriptions to each project file, or editing timeline to keep track of the changes made. Don’t forget to duplicate and save any past changes (and don’t delete the past timelines), because if you or a client decide that the previous editing choices are better, it’s easier to go back to the old timelines than re-doing the edit again.

Example: ProjectName#00_Client_Date

MAINTAIN COMMUNICATION

 It’s important to maintain communication and be on the same page with the client or collaborator. The best way to collaborate on an edit, is to be in the same room together. You can review the video on the spot, and do the changes and get instant feedback. However in most cases, you might not be able to get together to work on the project, and sometimes you’ll need to find other ways to communicate and review feedback with the other.

Screensharing through Zoom and Skype can allow a similar experience of direct communication and doing changes on the spot. However one disadvantage for the sound or footage, can be potential delays based on your internet connections.

Websites such as Frame.io and Dropbox are platforms where you can upload videos, and the sites will display the timecode and have a comment section besides the videos. Collaborators can sign in and pinpoint specific changes using the timecode and comment system to communicate their feedback.

Another method I use to keep track of feedback and changes is to use a video export with a timecode and send through a spreadsheet for collaborators or clients to input their feedback. They can list the changes they want with the timecodes and client notes, while you can respond to each note with an editor’s note, marking the changes made.

TIMECODE

NOTES

EDITOR’S NOTES

00:01:45

Can we add more b-roll here to showcase the event?

Done.

00:02:10

I really like the shot from the previous version. Can we replace this? 

Change done. However because the shot you’ve wanted is shorter in length, I had to make some adjustments to keep the same energy in the montage. Let me know your thoughts

 

ALWAYS EXPERIMENT

Never fear to experiment and have fun. It’s limiting to only do things one way, and more interesting to explore and discover new things while experimenting. This does take more time, but it’s better to try out as many editing options to get the best result.

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