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software Best Practices for organizing multiple video/audio tracks on timeline?

I've got a short film with 5 hours of footage, which in the end will be about 20 minutes. For each scene, I have medium and close-up shots for each of the two actors - and a long shot including both actors.

I'm struggling to identify what is what on the timeline when I add, for example, 5 tracks:
  1. Long shot (both actors)
  2. Medium shot - Actor 1
  3. Medium shot - Actor 2
  4. Close-up shot - Actor 1
  5. Close-up shot - Actor 2
I've been told it's better to have all the shots on the timeline, synchronize them, and then trim/enable/disable tracks to create an edit, as opposed to trying to do it all on one track.

I spent a lot of time logging the footage with markers in Adobe Prelude, e.g. tagging each shot as long, medium, close, the last takes for each scene, bad takes, etc. - but none of this shows up in the timeline - only the clip name, which in my case is simply the scene and take number. I find myself just staring at these not so helpful clip names and scratching my head. Is it as simple as renaming the clips? I feel like I wasted a lot of time in Prelude, and came to the conclusion I must be going at it the wrong way. I can see all of the markers I had made in Prelude - but only in the markers panel in Premiere - not on the tracks on the timeline.

I imagine there is a tried and true way to organize tracks in an NLE for traditional feature/short films with long/med/short shots? Any advice would be much appreciated!


Staff Member
i organize it into beats. something significant happens in the first 4 minutes?
I name that 4 first minutes a scene, put everything for that scene into a bin

maybe make some sub-bins inside of that bin if i need more organization
you always want multiple tracks. i often use multiple timelines for playing around with stuff
i'll copy a timeline and then edit stuff in its copy just in case i make it worse instead of better

most organization is through folders/bins for me
It wasn't really great at doing this last time I used Premiere, but one of the better ways is to lay the footage for each scene on its own timeline. Trim the crap and use it that timeline as a source for your edit timeline. It allows you to shuttle through footage fast and let you order it in a way that makes sense to you.

Bins are another way to do it, but I find it cumbersome to quickly find footage and build scenes.