Mistakes All Beginner Editors Make
Thank you to all patrons, Facebook group members and Twitter followers for helping out with the latest video. I asked you what you thought were some common rookie mistakes. I sorted them into seven (not five :) categories:

#1 Workflow:

  • David: Not knowing how to "set up" a project properly when importing rushes. Having files all over the place, saving render files on wrong locations ..... and then just all ending in a big and confusing mess.
  • Bram: I struggled a lot with sequence settings when i first began editing. Also having good structured folders for my audio, video etc helped me a lot to keep big projects structured.
  • Krzysztof: Biggest mistake beginners can make is not mastering editing software, instead of focusing on emotions of film, they fight with editing programm, also bad files organization and not saving project until it crashes 
  • Colm: Agree with setting up a project; not organising or labelling properly means having to regularly relink footage, sequences go missing, changes you make maybe in the wrong timeline and you can't find it, lose track of latest exports etc.
  • Will: Not making a copy of footage in case it corrupts
  • Robin: Media management. Period.
  • Stan: Learning the best settings for video rendering.
  • Will: Not using XMLs
  • James: File system and setting up scratch disks properly. I still see people making this mistake after telling them several times.
  • Nikolaj: no, not really. By file system I just mean the folders on your computer. I like to make one main folder (title of the film) then inside that I'll have a system. Usually I'll have 5 folders named '1. Project' '2. Footage' '3. Sound' '4. Images' '5. Exports'
  • Most of these are self explanatory. When setting up a new project in Premiere I'll set the scratch disk to the project folder so all the render files etc go in there. I'll also put any After Effect work in there too.
  • Cary: I'm still struggling with organization... especially setting it up to make it easier for the sound designer, FX, etc.. who work on the project after me. Also, effective transitions between scenes have been a constant concern of mine. Export settings are a huge one.
  • Tim: Not organizing everything into bins.
  • Kat: Not having good organization starting with the shot list and script all the way through the file structure.
  • Tim: Not organizing everything into bins.
  • Mark: setting the timeline to the correct aspect ratio thingy ma-jigure.
  • Guy: lack of organisation of footage
  • EposVox:‏ Just not checking the video before pushing it live or delivering it - most mistakes can be caught that way but aren't
  • Kayla: Wrong sequence or export aspect ratios. Whenever I see letterboxing, it brings back my early days (Esp. the horrendous double letterbox)
  • Ben: Not taking the time to understand tech. (Codecs, frame rates, etc) Relying on the mouse instead of keyboard.
  • Roy:Change names of the clips. It's a terrible headache for postproducers. (Sound designers and colorists)
  • Joel: On a technical side, not having applied or learned a shortcut for every common task was a brainless thing. It can save a lot of time to know them. Also knowing "hidden features" from the editing software being used can be very helpful and save time.

#2 Too Eager:

  • Tim: I found that I was too eager to start editing that I wouldn't review the material, so learning to take stock at the beginning of an edit would be a helpful thing to learn.
  • Wesley: Not killing the darlings
  • Jamie : I'd sometimes go off down the wrong track, misunderstanding the brief. You have to get the question right before you can get the answer! To be fair, I've learned that I should often question the question 'cos the client doesn't know enough to ask it right!

#3 Lacking Style/Finesse/Sense for Storytelling:

  • Rodrigo: Used cross dissolve too many
  • Joona: Usage of transitions, tons of different transitions, mostly because one doesn’t have knowledge how and where to cut.
  • Michael: The length of a shot (mostly too long) in general as well as the pacing of the whole video/film.
  • Robert: how do you learn pacing?
  • Kailash: Maintaining the rhythm
  • Ayden: The first big mistake for me is I underestimate how many works should be done to edit a video. I thought if I know how to use the software and 90% of the problem will be solved.
  • Patrick: Making my edits on beats of temp music rather than cutting the picture to have a good visual rhythm before cutting music to fit.
  • Kat: The 180 mistake. Also, I see a lot of people cutting back and forth without any regard for the content. Rhythm.
  • Patrick: Yes! Editing just to make an edit. It is a common mistake to cut without regard for what is important to the story.
  • Tim: Not focusing on the reaction of the person being talked to in a conversation. Only staying on the one talking.
  • Patrick: Good reactions are super helpful. I sometimes forget to consider people's reactions to their own dialogue too. All the more reasons for J cuts.
  • Steve:  I also made a lot of unnecessary cuts. I didn't understand pacing or rhythms for projects... It wasn't until I got my first job shooting videos for the city I live in that I got the consistent flow of practice that I needed to understand why my edits weren't making much sense.
  • Elisa: Not using L-Cuts or J-cuts.
  • Ben: Not learning 3-point edits.
  • Nikhil: Organising footage. and the most common they make is they don't play with things. They go according to every rule. Which is I think good but we should go against them sometimes.
  • Daniel: Sticking to the script and to whatever the director says (not having my own ideas as an editor)
  • Focusing on continuity over storytelling
  • Leaving shots because they're beauty, but tell you nothing
  • In conversations, cutting people while they're not talking because "they're doing nothing". Yeah... now I've learned to look for reaction shots in acting
  • Jordan: Unmotivated cuts. Including or lingering on shots that serve no purpose because they look great. 
  • Lenni: Too much special effects from the titling to uncalled for black&white. And yes too many unmotivated special effect transitions (star wipe
  • Alan: 1. Bad pacing. 2. Not knowing how long to hold onto a shot or when to cut. 3. holding onto unnecessary scenes or shots which don't move the story forward. 4. Cutting to close ups when they are not necessary. 5. where & when to use sound effects and music properly without it bringing attention to itself.
  • Nikolaj: Pacing
  • each day. Here are some common mistakes: Not putting enough lines on screen (too many reaction shots). Dips to black between scenes instead of just cutting. Not understanding what the purpose of each camera angle is. For example that you should use a wide shot when some big action happens like someone stands up. Also, not trimming the audio on each cut as a J or L to smooth out the transition. Many leave a little hiccup from the shot before. There is more to tell if you're interested.
  • Peter: Mostly cutting just to cut (someone did mention unmotivated cuts) and going along with that, pacing. Also, trying to follow patterns of others instead of relying on my own instincts back then.
  • Max: TERRIBLE choice of music, using super knaf corny generic music.
  • Hari: The Worst mistakes I Did While Begining As An Editor 
  • Assumed That Software Is The Reason for My Bad Edit
  • - an urge to cut every 3 secs.
  • - Lack Of patience 
  • - More Focus on stylish cut instead of Focusing On Emotion (Random Shots)
  • - Tons of Effects & Transition unnecessarily 
  • - Focusing more on Timeline while editing (Instead of preview)
  • - not leaving enough time for the information to register 
  • Derek: Holding on a clip too long is common for first timers.
  • Guy: Timing of edit - lack of patience
  • Andy: Cutting too much, bad pacing
  • Peter: I still tend to edit to impatiently. As a result some scenes which should have been given more time feel a little hectic to watch.
  • MrCronlyIsHere: obvious jump cuts
  • Joel: Downloading effects and transitions and focusing on those instead of storytelling, fully relying on how "cool" an edit looks with them and not realizing how they do exactly the opposite.
  • Larry: Trying to keep everything in chronological order and trying to include a lot of "process" I think it is called (opening the door, walking through the door, closing the door...).  Cutting on pauses in dialog.

#4 Getting Lost in Details vs. Big Picture

  • Karri: Focusing way too much on fine tuning single edits way too early in the project. Like polishing a single cut to perfection before having even a rough idea of the whole. Slows the work considerably, and is often useless work if/when the edit changes.
  • Robin: I was going to write almost the exact same thing. :) Noobies seemingly have NO idea what a ROUGH cut is and never actually do one. Go into tedious detail before the story is even laid out properly. End up chucking literally hours of work in the end. Avoidably so.
  • Michael: I second that. This must be in the video! But not only by saying 'do a rough cut', instead explain how to do one and then showing what to do in the final cut.
  • Ryan: Building the edit strictly start to end; watching the entire sequence from the beginning after every change.
  • Joel: The main approach I used to go for was throwing all the footage into the timeline and starting to edit before going through all the footage even once, then regretting some choices and not redoing the edits because of the work I already invested into them. So basically editing blindly... very huge mistake.
  • Larry: Also, for those of us who shot our own film, falling in love with our favorite shot.  You had the great vision, it took a lot of effort to film and you love how it looks.  It doesn't fit the story anymore, but you're in love with it so it stays.

5# Closed Minded:

  • Patrick: Also getting super defensive about notes, rather than seeing them as a way to collaborate with others and make a project better than I could make on my own.
  • Max: Not listening to feedback, just thinking 'they don't understand'.
  • Hari: Spending Too Much Of Time For A Single Scene Or Sequence Which Led Me To Loss Of Objectivity

6# Sound & Color

  • Wesley: Neglecting SOUND
  • Patrick: Making my edits on beats of temp music rather than cutting the picture to have a good visual rhythm before cutting music to fit.
  • Jan: Neglecting to account for sound design!
  • Capp00‏: Audio inconsistencies. Color/Saturation correction.
  • MrCronlyIsHere: unbalanced audio
  • Gordo: AudioAudioAudioAudioAudioAudioAudioAudioAudioAudioAudioAudioAudioAudioAudioAudioAudioAudioAudioAudioAudioAudioAudioAudioAudioAudioAudioAudio

#7 Outlier:

  • Robin: Not using FCP X and its keywords, favorites, smart collections, rolls et al from the beginning, making for a painfully slow edit and sub-par export.
  • Michael: btw: This video has the potential to go viral, since there isn't a good and comprehensive one on this topic!! Maybe you should even make part 1 + part 2
  • Stevincent: What I'm curious about is how to get started in editing and exercises I can do on my own to get practice.
  • Yasser: Giving honest opinions late on projects, almost before final cut ( don't know if this is a common mistake!)
  • David: Forgetting to wear cotton gloves while handling film ends.... nah just kidding
  • MrCronlyIsHere: leaving an unused frame in
  • Jim: Pretending I knew more than I did, through fear of not being taken seriously. I didn't realise that it's ok to not have all the answers.

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