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W hen you are editing a project, it can be hard to know when you’ve done enough. There is always more that can be trimmed down, color that could be corrected, or sound design that could use just a little more tweaking. This week we are looking at a question from a student about when to stop editing.

STUDENT QUESTION: How do you know when you’re done editing?

JOHN-CLAY: Number one, if you have a client, your client needs to be satisfied. If they’re not happy, you need to talk to them, but I still limit the number or revisions they can give. 

Part of it’s just personal. Does it feel good to you? Even two years later, you’ll come back to look at it and you’re like, “What was I thinking?” But right now, you do what the best you can with what you have and say, “Yeah, this looks good to me.”

It’s hard to know, especially with promo and documentary work. You can rearrange it endlessly, and most of the time you run out of time or money. Either they don’t have any more money for you, or you’ve got a deadline you’ve got to meet, and it’s just done. 

ANDREW: As far as the editing, I think a lot of times you’ll get to the point where you feel like it’s just not going to be worth keep going on this. To you it looks good, and then send it to some people, and see and make sure they think it looks good.

To you it looks good, and then send it to some people, and see and make sure they think it looks good. Click To Tweet

Eventually there’s the law of diminishing returns. You can get 80 to 90% of it done in this amount of time, and then you could spend that amount of time just getting that end 10%. A lot of times I guess I would say you want to try to get the rest of that 10% if you can. But sometimes when you’re on a deadline, you just have to do what you can with the time that you have, and it’s just not worth spending that time to do the rest. So don’t take that and just say, “Oh, well then, just whatever.” Just do the rough edit. But there gets to be a point where it’s just not worth spending more time on it at that point.

Deadlines help for that, and you can usually feel when it’s done. As you learn more, you’ll be able to tell more.

Bethany Meckle

Bethany Meckle

Content Curator

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