Short clips, labels and subclips: Tips for organizing your media

Avid is a slow moving beast. Import and export times can be long. So it’s helpful to avoid importing long files whenever possible.

How to do this? When filming, pause and restart the video recording each time you change angles, ask a new question, change settings, change subject matter, and/or switch from primary footage to B roll. This approach helps in a number of ways. You can “review and select,” as “Grammar of the Edit” puts it, with greater ease. I like to label every clip with a word or two indicating content. I also like to use abbreviations indicating what type of footage it is. As you’ll see in the import demo, I use “A” for primary footage and “B” for b roll. You can also label shot types (CU for close up, VCU for very close up).

IF YOU DO HAVE A LONG STRETCH OF FOOTAGE: Never fear. You will have to cope with the longer import times, but then you can divide your clips into subclips. Load the clip into the source monitor, mark an “IN” and an “OUT,” then click drag from the source monitor into a bin. Viola a subclip, which you can then treat just like any other clip.

Here’s a tutorial on subclips if you need to review the process:


About Lisa Phillips

I am an assistant professor of journalism at SUNY New Paltz and the author of Unrequited: Women and Romantic Obsession (HarperCollins, 2015) and Public Radio: Behind the Voices.
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