8 Reasons Why Video Editing Takes So Long

As soon as the shooting is over, the itch of quickly getting the final edit out is so difficult to resist. But usually, you have to wait for a while to get to that point. So, why video editors often ask for a relatively long time to edit one. We will discuss it here.

Video editing is not as easy as video shooting. The process is not only exhaustive but also very time-consuming. Most of the video editors need more time to edit than what they would need to shoot. 

On average, they will need double the time they took to shoot. That’s hard to imagine for novices who have no idea what video editing is all about. It is reasonable to assume that a lot has been done during shooting, and only little is needed to edit. However, that is not the case. So, Why does video editing take so long? Let’s see the reasons behind it.

Why videoediting takes so long?

There are several reasons why video editing takes so long. Some are beyond one’s control, while others are personal or as a result of bad choices. Let us take a look at them.

There are several reasons why video editing takes so long. Some are beyond one’s control, while others are personal or as a result of bad choices. Let us take a look at them.

1. The Marathon Process of Editing Itself

First and foremost, video editing is not a walk in the park. It requires you to do several things in the background. Let us discuss them in this segment.

  • File Transfers and Digitizing: You will need time to transfer them to your computer or external storage device. Most of them are large audio and video files, and the transfer takes some time
  • File management: Once you are through with the transfers, file management is crucial as it organizes your work better, and you will not miss out on precious footage for the edits. Also, renaming is necessary as it makes it easy to identify the file that you want to use. But this step consumes time, although it increases efficiency.
  • File conversions: Sometimes, the edit suite doesn’t support the file formats. Hence, you have to convert them to their desired format. If it is shot in film or any other analog or Digibeta tapes, you will need to digitize them.
  • Audio Leveling: There is a need to ensure that your audio files’ sound levels are consistent. Editing the video to achieve that could be the reason why video editing requires a lot of time.
  • Browsing Through the Rushes: An editor’s most important job is to sit and go through the rushes. He needs to take mental notes of how his editing will flow, depending on the rushes. Browsing helps in shedding out the extra fat that doesn’t help the edit.
  • Line-up: Usually, editors first try to do a basic line-up based on the script. Then they advance into the real editing. It may look like an unnecessary step, but it helps the editors to get a feel of the story they are going to show.
  • The Editing: Here is where the real action begins. Reaching this stage has already consumed a substantial amount of time and energy. However, the process of editing doesn’t really happen in a fly (unless there is a deadline or very defined instructions). 
  • Adding Graphix, Effects, Titles: Once the edit is over, it may require some graphics, or supers you may need to overlay on the video. Some clips may demand visual effects or transitions. Also, color correction is essential to maintain a consistent tone to the video.
Why does video editing take so long
  • Final Rendering: Once everything is laid down, you have to render the timeline as the last step. If it is effects-heavy, some more time gets lost in your process.
  • Glitches: Technical glitches are common in editing, But one has to sit through it to figure out the glitches painfully. Some are video glitches, and some are audio. Sometimes removal of a glitch can be very exasperating.
  • Watch time: It is the time spent by the editor to see the full timeline in realtime. The longer the duration, the more the time adds in your consumption time.
  • Re-edits: These alterations or alternative cuts decisions are usually made by the director, producer, or the client. So the final product is still a few cuts away from completion.
  • Different Format Conversions: Once the final edit is completed, it must be converted into a format desired by the client. If some need a digital back to analog conversion, the time consumption spikes up. The High Definition (HD) files are quite large; hence the conversions can take a longer time exponentially.
  • Dumping/ Transfers: It is the last stage of the editing process where the final files are either transferred to the hard disks or dumped onto tapes. 

So the whole editing process is a marathon in itself. No way you can skip these stages. Thus, the time taken is substantially prolonged.

2. Technical Troubleshoots:

Sometimes, the speaker is using a microphone for the audio. If it refuses to record, video editing will require shifting from the mic sound to the camera sound. That requires not only skills but also time.

Similarly, some technical issues with the editing suite can also bring the process to a halt. Some wires need to be changed, the software crashes, or the computer is a dated one hence not configured to new formats. These issues prop now and then. One needs to troubleshoot them quickly.

3. Slow Software

Sometimes, you might be misinformed and end up settling for slow software. Other times, we are working on a tight budget and only afford to buy a slow one. Regardless of the reason, the consequences are the same. It will consume a lot of your time because it will take forever to load previews as well as make changes. The fact that they will be bogged down means that you will be spending quite a chunk of time to edit.

If you can’t afford another option, here are things that one can do.

  • Always update your software and laptop.
  • Avoid storing unnecessary old files as well as applications. After all, their existence will take up your working space and make everything slow.
  • You can also ensure that the program only reads and previews a few raw images at a time. Preferably, ensure that there is a specific catalog per session, event, or year instead of a single one for everything. That’s because it means that the application will only be reading data from one set of images. Consequently, it will work fast.

4. Lack of a System

A smooth system can help a great deal when it comes to video editing. It minimizes the need to focus on the backend. Instead, you get to focus on the front end more. That’s because you will have a simple way to preview, edit, import, cull, organize and back up your footage. You will get to easily and quickly access your footage and catalogs.

5. Overshooting

Sometimes, this becomes inevitable. After all, you don’t want to miss out on any moment worth capturing. However, we end up paying a hefty price one it is time to edit. It becomes necessary to think before taking a shot. In return, culling and editing will require less time. You better learn to decide when to take a shot and when not to shoot.

6. Undecisive Shooting

It is where your professionalism comes in handy. However, other factors would affect it no matter how good you are at what you do. One of them is the fear of looking as if you are not up to the task. You ought to shoot with confidence. Confidence only comes from knowledge and proper preparation.

Also, to some extent, you hardly stop to think before making that decision. That can be crazy and comes with consequences. One of them is undecisive shooting, which can make video editing take so long. That’s why you ought to think before doing anything.

Be relaxed enough to shoot to the best of your ability. Make sure that you focus on a single thing at a time. If you do so, you will not only capture great imagery but also take less time to edit.

7. Studio Bookings:

These are outside issues that are sometimes beyond your control. You are done with your shoot, but you find no studio available to edit your film. Nowadays, editors edit from homes, but a studio comes with a lot of logistical support and advantages that a home suite can’t. But booking often goes for a toss if editing of previous bookings gets delayed or the studio management suck at their work.

8. Others

The rest are normally productivity or subjectivity concerns. For instance, the work might be too much for the video editor. The worst part is if there was a misunderstanding between you and the client. Solve the issues, so that doesn’t come in the way.

Be confident and stop second-guessing every edit you do. If you don’t have a specific editing style, shifting from one style to the other will waste as of your time. You better stop overthinking about what the filmmaker will say. If you give it your best, he will love it.

How long does it take to edit a 5-minute video?

It is no secret that editing a video can take a while. It all depends on several variables. We will make an argument using a one-minute video. Once we cover the time you need to edit a video that will take a minute, you will have an idea of how much time you need to edit a5-minute video. The assumption is that you have already produced and filmed your video.

For a one minute video, you will need a quarter an hour to download all the necessary files. Editing the dialogue or conversation will take an hour. That’s the same amount of time you will need to add B-roll clips and add graphics with lower thirds.

Choosing and adding a music track needs half an hour. The same case applies when it comes to exporting and uploading your video. Set aside an hour to correct the color, adjust the framing, add motion to clips, and add transitions.

That is roughly 5 hours for a 1-minute video hence more than a day for a 5-minute video. It would be best if you kept in mind that there are chances of editing again after a client suggests a revision. One may need an hour to change b-roll clips and fix typos. Exporting and uploading it the second time will also take 30 minutes. That’s another one and a half hours.

Nevertheless, that may be more or less depending on several factors. They include repeatability, the quantity of the footage, quality, editing style, and type of video, but to mention a few. For instance, you will spend less time editing a vlog than an educational tutorial, comedy sketch, or music video.

Editing, including music, voice, transitions, basic jump cuts, and sound effects, among other special effects, also takes time. Another determining factor is the amount and quality of the video. If you are a YouTuber who has a specific style, it means spending little time editing your video. After all, you will already have a set, color, lighting, and profiles beforehand.

In summary, there is no definite time as to how much time one will take to edit a 5-minute video. Nevertheless, there are high chances that it will take more time than shooting. Besides, many other factors are affecting the time that you spend editing.


The article has, to a large extent, explained why video editing takes so long. Therefore, you should be patient the next time you ask someone to edit your video. If the last video editor looks a longer or a shorter time, do not be hasty to say that one is lazier or better than the other. After all, factors such as the type and amount of footage, the length of the video as well as the complexity of the script determines the amount of time that you will spend to edit.

The piece also highlights ways in which video editors can ensure that they take less time editing one, especially if you are the one to do the shooting, directing and setting up the scenes not to forget lighting. The editor gives a lot of skill and time while the filmmaker offers patience. In return, both parties become happy at the end of the day.

Feel free to respond if you feel we missed some points in this article. It will be fully appreciated.

Recent Content