The Real Time It Takes to Edit

An editing system at

When a customer gets a quote for their film, it is usually along the lines of, “half day/full day edit is…” so that works out at either 4 hours or 8 hours. In this blog post I wanted to highlight the real time that is spent when I am editing customers’ films.

Jonathan and Josh come back with the footage, it is then given to me in the form of camera cards.

All footage is backed-up on two external hard drives, so the time it takes to copy over (average) 3 camera cards worth of footage onto two drives = ~45 minutes

Once copied over, I create an import folder so when I import, all of the footage can go in at once. Time = ~5 minutes

Now it is time to import. Avid Media Composer is the software that I use for editing, and when you import video clips it converts them into MXF files – this can take a long time depending on what type of video file you are importing.

Average time spent importing = ~4 hours

So already half a day has been spent in edit.

Next I create a sync pull – this is where I put all of the interview footage onto a timeline and take out any sections that are not usable in the film. This includes Jonathan asking the questions, any repetition, sections that I have been asked to leave out etc.

Time taken creating a sync = ~1 hour

After consulting the filming notes (if provided) to gain an insight into what the customers want in their film, I then continue listening to the interview footage sync to determine the best interview sections that would fit. I also take out any stumbles, ‘ums’, ‘ahs’ and any significant gaps to make the sequence as smooth as possible.

Reward Scheme at stockport

You can see my blog post on editing interviews here.

I then patch the sections together into the first draft, edit the audio levels, add suitable music and cutaways or ‘general visuals’.

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You can see my blog post about what to do after the first draft here.

Time taken to edit sync into first draft = ~1.5 hours

The average film is 2 minutes long and so takes about 3 minutes to export from Avid. It is then copied onto a USB and given to Carol who copies it to the Mac, converts the video into MP4 and uploads it to YouTube.

Average time taken to copy over, convert and upload = ~1 hour

Once the film has been sent to the customer I then wait for them to come back with any changes if they have them.

If they do have changes on average it takes me 30 minutes to complete the changes, 30 minutes to create the graphics – you can see my blog post about graphic creation here – and then colour correction takes 15 minutes.

I then set it off to export (3mins) and copy it over to USB and give it to Carol for conversion and uploading (30 minutes) ready to be sent back to the customer.

If changes are needed again it takes 30 minutes for the changes and 30 minutes for sending back to the customer.

When the film is signed off this is where the edit time stops.

Total edit time for a 2 minute film = ~ 671 minutes or 11.2 hours.


Author: Sammi is the primary Edit Ninja at Bellyflop TV. She may be whizz on the Avid but she can’t be quiet like an actual Ninja!



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