Planning and building a proper video editing environment takes a lot of time and careful consideration.
An important first step is to evaluate the critical needs of the work you do, and plan to do in the future, as the needs of someone creating video reviews for YouTube are different than those who produce broadcast content and certainly those of an independent filmmaker. How your audience views your content —on a smart phone, tablet, desktop computer, HDTV, or movie screen— can have a big impact on the choices you make.
While most of the content we produce is destined for the web, we anticipate broadcast delivery for our clients in the not too distant future, and inevitably theatrical distribution of our own original content, so we wanted to ensure that our new video editing studio was properly setup to facilitate all of these different kinds of productions.
Apart from needing a lot of space to store and assemble our production gear, a workstation for recording video tutorials (which are planned for later this year), and ample space for computers, monitors, hard drives and other peripherals, it was crucial that the space would allow us to accurately gauge both color and sound.
The space started with bright orange and red walls, which would have had a negative influence on our perception of color, so we painted them with flat 18% gray paint, or “neutral gray” —we use an 18% gray card to set our camera’s white balance for the same reason: accurate color. Further, to match the color temperature of our computer monitors we installed 6500k LED bulbs into all of the fixtures.
The empty 400 sq. feet room had a ton of reverb —the sound was terrible! We assembled 15 x 2’x4’ acoustic panels and mounted them in strategic locations along all four walls: 4 panels behind the editing desk, 1 panel directly to the side of each speaker, 2 panels opposite the path of each speaker’s output, 2 panels on the back wall, and 3 panels on the ceiling above the desk. These acoustic panels made a significant impact, but the sound wasn’t yet perfect. We then added floor-to-ceiling bass traps in the corners behind the desk, a 9’x12’ rug under the working space, then by the time all of the furniture and equipment was in place the room sounded fantastic. The studio monitors are a few feet away from the back wall, angled to form a perfect triangle between each other and the chair at the editing desk, making for an optimal monitoring position.
We spent a good amount of time on boring but important stuff like peripheral placement and cable management, and setting up an uninterrupted power supply (UPS) to protect all of our equipment from power surges, brown outs and total power loss —an internal battery will keep all of our equipment running long enough for us to safely shut everything down, which definitely provides some peace of mind. Our backup solution is as strong as ever as we backup everything every few hours, ensuring the safety and security of all our clients’ project data.
In our research we found a lot of editing suites that looked beautiful from a design perspective —colorful walls covered with inspirational artwork, big windows that provide a ton of light, stylish desks running along the wall— but while aesthetically pleasing all of these elements are detrimental to the perception of both color and sound, and what is important to our clients is not how cool our space looks but the quality of the content we produce for them. Our new video editing studio is designed solely for the purpose of creating great content, and it really is a wonderful space to work in.