There's no question that your work environment can influence your creativity. George Lucas famously lives in a low-tech Victorian house (even if admittedly he uses and has helped design state-of-the-art editing and audio mixing gear).
Videographers and video editors are famous for being choosy about their equipment and their workspaces, for good reason. Particularly now that so many boundaries between professional and personal space have collapsed, it makes sense to devote time and thought to creating a pleasant, well-considered workspace to maximize your creativity, productivity, and wellbeing.
So, how do you set up a video edit suite?
Like the actual work of content creation, it involves a mix of technical knowledge and a keen aesthetic sense. There's research to show that the right equipment and workspace can:
- Help you work more efficiently. This is critical given the long hours you will spend finessing projects. Studies show that wellness-oriented workspaces improve the bottom lines for companies. Similar attention to creating your own attractive space could be conducive to creating more efficiency for yourself.
- Help you deliver higher-quality content. It's worth combing through sites like Apartment Therapy, Wirecutter. and Strategist to look for bargains, as well as the technical magazines like American Cinematographer to get inspired and find the best equipment possible. That could end up saving you time and money and hopefully forestall too many creative headaches.
- Make you happier and healthier. This matters, too, since you will be spending so much time working. If sitting is the new smoking, the wrong workspace can give you back trouble, headaches, and a whole host of other health issues. So having a desk space that encourages you to stand or move around could be a great move, as well as other hints below that will help you get in the right headspace to produce your best work possible, for as long as possible.
Aesthetics of Your Video Editing Workspace
While aesthetic and practical concerns are interconnected, let's start by looking at ways you can improve the aesthetic flow of your work area.
Good lighting is critical. A well-lit space can make you happier and more focused. Most people do their best with a mix of warm and bright lighting to minimize eye strain and provide a pleasant and focused atmosphere. Some studies show that poor quality lighting (in this case, too dim) adversely affects workers' performance.
Avoid fluorescent light, even if it's cheaper — especially if you're prone to migraines, which fluorescent light can trigger.
Studies show that the best kind of lighting for workplace happiness is natural light, leading to such great outcomes as an 84% drop in symptoms of eyestrain and blurred vision. If you can't manage that, think about the kind of light that approximates natural light as closely as possible.
Your lighting should be even, bright, and ideally indirect so that you have a generally well-lit space and not an interrogation-room style of one bright light overhead in a dark space.
Similarly, make sure the temperature of the room where you work is to your liking, bearing in mind that electronic equipment will raise the temperature a couple of degrees. The "ideal" office temperature is fiercely contested, but different temperatures do have different outcomes. The one considered generally ideal is about 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
Chances are you want calm and neutral tones in a space in which you'll be spending so much concentrated time. Color psychology can inform your choices if you're looking for a happier vibe, including their saturation and brightness levels.
If you can't change your walls' color, focus on keeping a clean and organized space, with just a couple of additional objects that make you happy or spur creativity.
Plants are a great way to bring the natural world into your workspace, which can make for a nice and soothing contrast to the high-tech equipment you're probably using.
According to the burgeoning field of environmental psychology, plants may also make you more creative and improve your cognitive performance. It may be their soothing green color that has a relaxing function, but there's no question that plants add a calming touch to a potentially stressful endeavor. They may also have air-purifying qualities, as well as offering you a chance to break occasionally and water them.
Chairs and Desks
Chairs need to prioritize comfort for long hours of working. Reddit is full of discussions that explore topics like the best desk chair for video editing, but the main non-budget criteria should be an ergonomic design that won't hurt your back, as well as wheels that let you easily move from one part of your desk to another. Some editors prefer a Swiss ball to keep their core engaged and lumbar strong.
Many are moving away from chairs altogether. The hours you're working may be extensive, but the best desk for video editing could be a standing desk. These help keep you moving and on your feet all day so you won't leave feeling cramped and sore. Consider using one for your health and creativity.
Otherwise, professional video editing desks are usually highly rated for their simplicity, the space they offer, how easily they fit into your work area, and whether you're looking for a desk for one or two coworkers. It's also a personal choice as to how high you like your monitor relative to your gaze. For that reason, many editors prefer a chair and computer desk for video editing to have as many adjustable features as possible.
High-tech Essentials for Video Editing
Don't neglect the equipment that makes your creative work and passions come to life.
Big, Clear Monitor — or Two
Two monitors are better than one, so you have one for your source material and one for your final edited product.
How correctly your monitor represents color and its resolution (how many pixels it can display) are two major considerations. Tech Radar's most recent list of their favorite monitors is here. They include criteria like:
- How large your monitor is, and whether its aspect ratio is right for most of your videos (if you are working with film, you may want a 1.85 aspect ratio, versus 16:9 or a squarer format)
- If the display will cause you eye strain
- How compatible a monitor is with your computer and its required output formats
Budgets for monitors vary wildly. The good news is it's not just the major brands that make excellent and reliable monitors. Check their specs but also try them out in person if you can to make sure they don't strain your eyes.
While you will be mostly working with rough sound, it's crucial you really know the quality of the audio you're dealing with. Some audio designers make sure to listen to their work through a variety of speakers, like car radios and tinny transistors, so they know how it sounds in every kind of situation, but it's best to start with quality.
These will be your reference monitors, so they should be clear, reliable, and sturdy. The good news is that there are budget options as well as high-end ones. Many editors nowadays prefer wireless or Bluetooth-enabled speakers to minimize clutter.
Legendary brands like Bose and Dolby market themselves to film and video editors, but online stores offer a wealth of options. If you're exclusively working in surround sound, you will need specific speakers that technically support Dolby 5.1.
Look for speakers that can handle high and low frequencies, since your footage may include all kinds of vocals and sound effects, and a wide range of frequency responses.
Powerful Computer and Hard Drive
There are many great editing platforms and apps for editors, ranging from DaVinci Resolve to Adobe to LightWorks. To function at their best, these platforms need large amounts of RAM and free disk space.
Mac, Windows, and Linux operating systems can be equally effective, though Mac is most popular with film creatives, perhaps for reasons of fashion. Compatibility is important, though, since you will likely be collaborating with others.
Detachable hard drives make it possible to use laptops when you edit and augment your storage space. Get a sturdy one, since the last thing you want is to lose or corrupt valuable media files if you do drop it. LaCie is the brand most professionals prefer.
These are the fun add-ons that can make editing more exciting and precise. Consider:
- Control panels, which easily let you toggle between scenes and through footage and even color correction, making it feel more like being a pilot than an editor
- Smart keyboards, packed with shortcuts and connecting via Bluetooth so you don't have to be right at your desk to work all the time (everyone loves some couch editing)
- Upgrades to picture editing software like FX plug-in packages, which can give you more utility and control in the editing suite and let you do simple FX yourself
- Audio Software like Plural Eyes 4, which helps you sync externally recorded sound with your video footage (and saves a ton of time)
The Best Video Editing Setup: Conclusions
The best video editing desk setup is ultimately the one that inspires you to get to work making the best content you can.
And when you want to pair it with the best music and sound effects you can license royalty-free, match your work with StockMusic.net's great array of cool tracks and SFX. They've got you covered.