Join Zack Arnold for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating timeline presets to edit in "contexts", part of Video Post Productivity Weekly.
- [Instructor] In a previous lesson, I broke down the basic idea of what it means to edit in context using the GTD system. But just to briefly review, the idea is to organize your daily editing tasks into different mindsets, such as watching footage, doing your first cut to doing notes, music, sound effects, and so on. When organizing specific tasks in this way it minimizes the amount of time and energy required to shift your focus, which then allows you to edit faster and with more clarity. In this lesson, I'm going to walk you through how I specifically create timeline presets to help me stay focused.
We're starting here in OmniFocus, which I showed you in previous lessons on the GTD system. Very briefly to review, step one was to capture all of our random tasks. Step two was to organize them into specific single actions, as well as projects. And then step three was to start organizing them into contexts. So you can see that we have music, dailies, first cuts, notes, sound FX, we have backgrounds that are also part of sound FX, and we just have some busy work.
Now I'm going to show you how I apply these specific tasks in an editorial setting in my NLE, which is going to be Avid Media Composer. We're inside Avid Media Composer now and in a previous lesson in this course, I walked you through how I name all of my individual audio tracks, and you can see that I have dialogue tracks, background sound FX, hard sound FX, sound design, and music. Now just before going forwards, I want to mention again, this isn't about doing it in Avid Media Composer.
I want you to recognize the concept of how I organize all of these things. And don't pay attention so much to the buttons that I press or the menus that I select if you're using Premiere, Final Cut, or another NLE. Just pay attention to the idea and apply that to your own specific workflow. So what I like to do is work specifically in context rather than just work chronologically. So let's say for example, I have a whole bunch of notes to do in this one timeline. And I have to make editorial fixes here.
I need to change out the background sounds from here to here. This sound effect didn't work, somebody said to add a sound effect here. One of the producers said they don't like this queue, and they would like me to replace it. And then I have some dialogue that needs to be fixed over here, and I have to replace this take. It's very common to just work through your sequence chronologically, but in my mind, that's inefficient. I like to focus specifically on one type of editing at a time, so I create timeline presets. And here is how I do that.
Once again, this is how I do it in Avid, the system's going to be a little different in other NLEs. In Avid specifically, what I want to do is select all of the tracks that I want to hide. So I want to get rid of all my extraneous video tracks, and I'm going to create my first preset, if I'm doing dialogue-only editing, so I want to keep these unselected and I'm going to select the rest of these tracks by just holding down shift and going down to the bottom here. The first step is I'm going to go to my fast menu, show track, and I'm actually going to hide selected, and you'll see this is SHIFT+CMD+H, which I'll be using for the rest of the lesson.
So I hide selected and now I'm only looking at my dialogue tracks, but I want to drill much further down in detail. So with Avid, I'm going to hold down CMD+L to make my tracks larger. And then the next step is I want to turn on audio waveform, so I go to audio data and waveform, and in a previous lesson when I built this, I was just using template media and using tone, which is why you don't see waveforms. In an actual sequence, you would obviously see waveforms.
So what I want to do is create a template for this that I call dialogue. So now I have a dialogue-specific timeline preset. But I want to go back and do this for all the others. So I want to go to show track, I want to show all, and now it's going to throw a whole bunch of stuff at me. So what I want to do is hide all the tracks that I don't need. So I'm going to get rid of all these on the bottom. And again, CMD+SHIFT+H.
I want to bring all of these tracks back to the right size. And instead of CMD+L, I'm going to do CMD+K. And now everything fits in to one window. Now I'm going to create my background preset. So because I want these to show, I want to hide everything else, except for my first track of video. Once again, CMD+SHIFT+H. I want to make this larger so I can really dig into the waveforms, if I had actual sound files here.
Same process, go to my timeline presets, save as SFX(Backgrounds). And you'll notice that when I go back to show all, I have to go through the same process. So guess what? We're going to create a default preset next. So I'm going to choose all these tracks that I don't want. We're going to hide these. And rather than having to inefficiently go through over and over and do this one after another, now we create our default preset.
So now we always have a home base. So I'm going to put this back to where we started, until it just is at the point where I have everything in one space and I don't have to scan. So before I go further, I'm going to create my default preset so I don't have to keep going back to this. So I save as default. Now I always have a home base to go back to. The next step is I want to create my hard sound effects.
And my sound design, so CMD+SHIFT+H. Same process, I'm going to make these larger. And now that we have actual sound waveforms, you can see how clearly I can get into the detail of these tracks if I need to. This is going to be SFX(Hard FX). And now it's super easy to go back to my default setting and create my last preset. So I deselect all, all I want is music. So I'm going to select all these, minus my first track of video.
So I'm going to select CMD+SHIFT+H. Show music only. Once again, I want to make this much larger so I can really get into these music waveforms. Save as MUSIC. And now I can very quickly toggle between my default setting, my dialogue, my music, my backgrounds, and my hard sound effects.
And here's why, from a mental and creative perspective this is so important. Going back to what I said earlier about doing all of these chronological edits. If you're doing a dialogue edit here, and then you're doing a sound effects edit here, and then you have to replace this music here, you're switching between different creative mindsets, which is taking different parts of your brain. So if you're here and then all of a sudden you're like "oh yeah, the producer said "I need to switch this piece of music. "Let me just jump into iTunes "and see if I can find a different piece of music.". You're going to lose your train of thought and you're also going to be taken out of Avid, and that's something you want to try and avoid if possible.
So for example, if you can go into your dialogue preset and do nothing but dialogue edits, because you physically can't see that piece of music, you're not going to remember that you have to replace it. So it's going to kind of like be that string that you see hanging off of a sweater, where you pull, pull, pull, pull, pull, and then eventually the sweater just kind of dissolves into nothing. That piece of music is kind of like pulling on that string. You want to keep that out of the way so you don't think about it, and you can focus on the task at hand.
So now that you have your timeline presets ready to go, you can easily switch back and forth from one context to the next. And the other great benefit is that when you hide your tracks, you're not going to be distracted by other media, so you can focus on the specific creative task at hand.
- File management
- Time blocking
- Cleaning up your email inbox
- Organizing and prioritizing notifications
- Selecting apps to help you with task and time management
- Filtering email messages and paperwork
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