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. With the Covid-19 pandemic still in full swing 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 video editing remotely. 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 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.