In many ways, hiring a video editor is like hiring a cake baker. The baker has recipes that will give her specific results and the editor has skills and techniques that will also give specific results. A client selects a baker based on either recommendation/referral, quality of previous work, price, location, and customer service. This is the same for a video editor. A client will require the baker to create an end product that looks and tastes a certain way, and a client never expects to step into the baker’s kitchen to help stir the ingredients. The client provides their wish list and expects to come back for a finished product. This is also what a client should expect from a video editor. As long as there is clear communication at the beginning of the project about the client’s wish list, there should be no reason to go into the editor’s “kitchen” to mix the ingredients together.

I sat down with LuckLove Productions, an OC videography team, to have an intimate chat about what they wished video clients knew before they began their reel project. Using the above creative analogy of a baker, lead videographer Eva Rovillos, jumps into 6 key points every project manager or point person should keep in mind, starting with:

1. Clean, steady footage is much appreciated.
It is better to hire the same team for videography and editing because that team will capture the footage you actually need and will already know the footage available before editing begins. When you hire two different teams, the editing team will have to spend additional time reviewing all the footage. On another note, if the client is providing the footage, they should know that “garbage in leads to garbage out.” This is not to say that clients never provide good footage, but if there is a problem with it, the final edit may not be the best it could be. There is only so much that an editor can do with shaky footage or under/overexposed footage, or footage that is out of focus.

2. Sound is key.

One of the most significant indicators of a great video is the quality of the sound. Interviews should be conducted in a “clean” sound space. If a clean sound space is not possible, then at least turn down that TV in the background, please! Depending on the type of video requested, the quality of the sound throughout the video, should be a big part of the initial discussion.

3. Know your narrative.

It is important for the client to clearly communicate his/her goal regarding the end result. The editor needs to know what “flavor” the final product should have. There is a wide range of approaches (flavors) to each edit (chronological, chapters, instructional, entertaining, comedic, dark, high-energy, etc.)

4. Music rights.

Clients should know that editors should not use music that they do not have permission to use. Are plenty of great stock music sites that provide original music you can purchase a license to use.

5. Plan revisions in advance.

Please be clear at the beginning of the negotiations, when or if there will be revisions, or when the 1st rough draft is expected. A basic timeline with milestones will be helpful in completing the project.

6. Communication.

As with any vendor, a client will receive a better product when they communicate their wishes clearly, especially in the beginning, before any editing is done. Brainstorm and collaborate with your video/editing team before the work is performed and this will create a good path for everyone to follow and the result will be a great edited work that the client will be satisfied with.

Thanks to LuckLove Productions, you have your next check list for any future video projects. The measures to make sure everyone’s on the same page seem pretty simple enough; yet while chefs are appreciated masters of their domain, we tend not to extend the same respect to video production teams. In a lot of ways, people tend to treat them like they do any other visual artist – and that’s with very little understanding of the craft and not enough resources to make your vision come to life. That’s on a good day. On a bad day, there’s constant meddling with the process and far too much interjection with the direction of the project.

That said, you wouldn’t go into the back kitchen to stir the pot and add your own seasonings, and then get upset when the dish didn’t turn out like you expected. In that same sense, you can’t dampen the process video professionals have spent years perfecting all the while still expecting high caliber results. The lesson here for the entrepreneur is to make sure there’s seamless communication (in writing), and project status updates along the way in order to prevent any classic project hiccups.