Don’t get caught in the doldrums—use these tips to tackle your workload with fervor.
We’ve all experienced long days in the office. But the editing bay is a different beast. Long hours in front of the computer can turn an enjoyable editing session into a trudge to get the job done. When you’re spending significant time fine-tuning your next project, the last thing you want to experience is a mental roadblock with a deadline looming. To help you maintain your productivity in the editing bay, we’ve compiled a list here that will make your workspace more comfortable and, in effect, a more productive place for you to be. Here’s the rundown…
Stay hydrated and fuel yourself with the right energy — Sometimes it can be helpful to reread the things you already know: When you’re prepping for a big edit, or in the middle of a long-haul, be sure to drink plenty of water! Don’t always grab a Red Bull or a coffee when you’re tired, either. Try antioxidant-rich green tea and find your inner zen instead. When it comes to food, eat your colors and bring healthy snacks from the market. Just because your studio has chips and candy to “fuel” its employees doesn’t mean you should reach for those bites first.
Sit your cheeks in a nice chair — Editing a video is a lot like racing in Formula 1. You buckle up, start your computer and you’re off to the races. But those F1 driver’s have the luxury of a customized driver’s seat… so why shouldn’t you? Be sure to take extra consideration when choosing your chair for the editing bay. Heck, maybe even go to your local chair store and try a couple different models out to see what fits best. If you plan to spend significant time editing in your very own “driver’s seat,” really put some thought into where your cheeks will land.
Forget the mouse… get a trackpad! — This one will likely come down to personal preference but more and more post production specialists are opting to use trackpads over the “old school” standard computer mouse. These multi-functional trackpads can be a really beneficial tool for long-haul sessions because of their freeform style and the user’s ability to customize trackpad motions. But it might take a little getting used to, so don’t throw your mouse out right away.
Customize and memorize your keyboard shortcuts — There’s nothing better than carving your way through an edit with the quick, one-two clicks of your favorite keyboard shortcuts. Over time, you’ll come to learn the hotkeys that work best for you—but if you need some inspiration, take a look at our full round-up of keyboard shortcuts for Adobe Premiere Pro and Davici Resolve. ← (add links to these words when those blogs go live)
Get your ergonomics sorted out — Everything in your immediate environment makes a difference when you’re trying to find your creative flow state. So get your ergonomics in order and ensure that your studio space is optimized for your best work. Check the height of your desk and chair, and distance between your eyes and your monitor; and don’t forget to add a lamp to the room or shades to your windows—all of these details (and plenty more we didn’t mention here) are paramount considerations when you’re trying to maximize productivity.
Distract yourself for 15 minutes — No matter your post production specialty, it’s important to step away from the task at hand from time to time. Not just mentally but physically, too. Add distractions like puzzles or other analog toys (like the classic Japanese Kendama) to play with in the studio; but be sure to do it somewhere away from your desk so you can refresh your eyes. If all else fails, get outside and breathe some fresh air. That’ll do the trick.
Stay cool when things heat up — With computers humming for hours-on-end, it can end up becoming pretty hot inside the editing suite. And the air can become staler than stale. Recognize how the air flows in your studio space and do your best to keep circulation at a premium. If you notice the room really getting hot, maybe it’s wise to crack the door a bit or add an air conditioner to ensure you’re staying cool when things are heating up in the edit bay.
Train like an athlete — What you do off the field matters just as much as what you do on it—how many times have we heard that about athletes? It applies to everyone, though, including video editors and post production professionals. Balance your long editing sessions with cardio-fueled workouts or calm-inducing yoga classes. If you’re beginning work on a bigger, multi-month project consider aligning a new workout plan that coincides with your upcoming work schedule. Your brain (and your teammates) will thank you for the effort.
Be honest with yourself — It’s important to know when to stop and when to keep going. This sentiment runs true across everything in life. During long editing sessions, whether solo or working alongside your team in the studio, it’s important to check in with yourself and the others on your team. Ask personal questions at lunch to get to know your coworkers better; you’ll find that the people around you might be more interesting than you think, and you might end up having a conversation that makes you feel energized to hop back into the edit bay.
Go back to the beginning — If you’re feeling tired from a long stint chopping and cutting a project or you’re beginning to feel your inspiration for the task dwindle, go back to your first notes about the project and remind yourself of the inspiring conversation that got you there in the first place. Reminding yourself of these initial rounds of collaboration will be sure to inspire you and digging through your old notes might turn up a piece of information that slipped your mind. Sometimes the inspiration you need is hiding in plain sight.