Explore Professional Film Editing Timelines

What does a professional Film Editor’s timeline look like?

Unprofessional editing timelines

Two years have passed since my last post taking a long look at numerous film editing timelines, so I thought it was time to bring together another collection of the best timeline screenshots I’ve been gathering since then, into another useful resource. I hope you enjoy the view!

But I thought I’d kick off the top of this post with one or two of the worst timelines I’ve ever seen, the very top image I saw on Twitter.

There’s not much to say other than: don’t do that.

Messy film editing timeline

This gem I noticed on Reddit under the title I pray for the sweet taste of a bullet.

Right, now back to more constructive examples…

Outside of watching the final cut, looking at a film editor’s video editing software timeline is one of the few ways to see how someone else does it. There’s also a lot you can learn if you pay attention, things like:

  • how to label your tracks
  • methods of staying organised
  • how deeply editors craft sound design
  • the importance of audio key-framing and effects
  • the use of temp VFX and more.

UPDATE – Mission Impossible Editor Eddie Hamilton’s Timeline Template

Hollywood editors timeline breakdown

Mission Impossible:Rogue Nation and Mission Impossible: Fallout editor Eddie Hamilton, ACE shared this detailed breakdown of his own editing Avid timeline set up, all 23 video and audio tracks of it, with Steve Hullfish during an Art of The Cut interview.

So you can see how an high-end Hollywood franchise editor keeps things organised and coherent while wrangling hundreds of hours of footage, visual effects plates and turnovers and much more.

Editor Vashi Nedomansky then created this free Premiere Pro timeline template, all labelled and ready to go, based on Eddie’s established system. Vashi also shared some great tips on seeing track names and working effectively in Premiere Pro, in his post too.

Download the free Premiere Pro Template here.

how to organise your film edit

This post from Avid’s blog covers some of these insights in detail, thanks to editor Fernando Maganda, who breaks down his own short film timeline and organisational process.

In this 7 minute breakdown from Film Editing Pro, you can learn what each video and audio track could be used for, when laying out your timeline like a Hollywood editor would.

For more great free training from Film Editing Pro check out this post which features 45 minutes of free lessons on cutting trailers.

Inside Professional Editing Timelines

professional film editing timelines

Eddie Hamilton’s timeline of Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, Reel 1/7

In this popular previous post Inside Professional Editing Timelines, you can check out the timelines of some great editors and some great projects. Films such as Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, Suicide Squad, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot and many others.

You can also see several timelines evolve over time as editor’s have shared chronological screen-captures of their work, sometimes weeks or months apart.

Feature Film Editors Timelines

Be sure to click on the image in this tweet from John Wick 2 (and up-coming 3) editor Evan Schiff to see a side-by-side comparison of his initial assembly and the final picture lock, under a year later.

These numbers shared by editor Andy Wild, from a talk he attended presented by Dan Best, covered the monstrous Hobbit post production schedule.

TV Show Editing Timelines

You can read more on how Mark Hartzell cut the season finale of Marvel’s Agent Carter, in this short post on the Avid blog.

Documentary Editing Timelines

Steve Audette ACE cuts a lot of Frontline documentaries. I’ve also covered his work several times on the blog which you can dive into here.

Short Film Timelines

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