For many professional film editors who spend a good portion of the year commuting and globetrotting in the name of Hollywood, the stay-at-home order was a welcome excuse to stay put. As we continue to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic in the US, regularly returning to work at a post-production facility any time soon seems less and less realistic. So, if you haven’t already, it’s about time you optimized your at-home space for remote video editing. Here are our top tips for staying productive, creative, collaborative -- and most importantly -- sane.
Tip #1: Make yourself at home (...er, work?)
What do you like about your on-site editing bay? Is it pitch black? Great -- pick up some blackout curtains. Is it as quiet as the 405 freeway mid-pandemic? What a treat -- snag some noise canceling headphones. There’s no need to compete with the kids screaming and dogs barking. If this is going to be your new workspace, make it feel like one! Maybe it’s time to upgrade your chair or get your hands on an adjustable standing desk. To ensure optimal ergonomics for prolonged sitting, the UCLA Spine Center offers a slew of recommendations, including making sure your seat offers adequate lower-back support and keeping your monitor at eye level.
Recreate the environment in which you feel the most productive, creative, and comfortable -- and you’ll be set for the long haul.
Tip #2: Keep up the collaboration
You may be miles away from the producers, the director, and other stakeholders on a project. But it’s 2020, and nothing can stop you from collaborating with them in real time anyway. Rather than exporting and uploading files, sharing notes, and waiting for feedback, you can use Evercast to stream your cuts directly from your editing software (i.e. Avid or Adobe Premiere Pro) into a web browser-based video conferencing room, then collaborate just as if you’re sitting together, shoulder to shoulder. No complex hardware, no fancy turbocharged ISP package, just a solid internet connection, and you’re in motion.
For a real world example, Michael Urann, post-producer and partner at 5100 Post began post-production on a TV show just when Los Angeles had issued the stay at home order. “We were able to work almost as seamlessly as we would if we were in an edit room together,” he said. “Evercast really kept us alive. I don’t know what we would have done without it. We would have had to shut down.”
Tip #3: Kick up your internet
Your standard internet plan may have been up to par when you were using it to stream Netflix at night and answer an email here and there during the day. But now, you’re asking your connection to do some heavy lifting. And with your kid playing Fortnite upstairs or your roommate at a recurring virtual happy hour, you’re competing for bandwidth on top of it all. So, what’s the solution? It’s simple: contact your internet service provider and get an upgrade. Whether you’re uploading and downloading big files or you’re live-streaming content in 4K, chances are you’d greatly benefit from a speedier connection. Not only will you save yourself unnecessary frustration, you’ll also make it easier to collaborate smoothly with your creative team -- and maybe even avoid a tiff or two with your housemates.
It’s worth noting that even a top-tier internet connection can be stretched to capacity. Make sure to communicate with your home-office “colleagues” and schedule remote video editing work sessions accordingly, so you’re not all eating up precious bandwidth at the same time. With some ISPs throttling back connections when so many are working from home at once, you may also find you have a better experience working outside of the typical working hours when fewer people in your area are online -- if you have the flexibility to do so, of course.
Create together remotely, in real time
Tip #4: Stay (cyber)safe
Chances are your client has set some regulations to ensure content security while you’re working away from the facility. But there are plenty of ways that things can still go awry. Save yourself a headache -- and possibly even your job -- by working smart. Keep a password on your devices, make sure your computer is free from malware, and never screen-record while working with protected media (unless you’re using a tool that encrypts recordings, like Evercast). For more best practices when it comes to security while working remotely, check out our complete list of tips.
Tip #5: Take a break
Working from home means you rarely leave the workplace. And if you’ve decked out your workspace with blackout curtains, headphones, and an ergonomic chair, it’s easy to fall into a time warp, letting hours go by without giving your mind and body some love. Make sure you’re eating -- and eating well. There’s no vending machine in the home office, so no excuses! Keep healthy snacks on hand to keep your mind and body in tip-top shape for those long hours on the job. And don’t forget to take care of your eyes! To avoid digital eye strain, the American Optometric Association recommends the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, take 20 seconds to look away from the screen at an object 20 feet away or more. Better yet, take a walk outside. Stretch your legs and absorb some vitamin D while you’re at it. You’ll find you’re more motivated and productive when you’re mindful of your time and energy.
Stripped of our normal routines and the workspaces we’re accustomed to, many of us are working longer hours than ever from home. Our friends might be biding their time, baking sourdough and starting vegetable gardens, but many remote video editors are still in the trenches full-time. So, it’s important to avoid burnout by cultivating a comfy, effective environment, nourishing and moving your body, spending time with family, and -- perhaps most importantly -- setting a time to close the door and call it quits for the day.
The coronavirus pandemic has marked a shift in the way we work, and in being forced to adapt to remote video editing, we’ve saved endless time, energy, and resources on commuting and globetrotting for the sake of post-production. This realization among studios, production companies, and creatives alike means you just may be working from home more than you think -- even far beyond the Covid-19 pandemic. So, go ahead and get comfortable.