How to organize your video files so you can edit your YouTube videos faster

Do you take forever to edit your videos because you’re unorganized? Well having a process in place will help you save time. Keep watching to find out how to organize your video files so you can edit your YouTube videos faster.

How to organize your video files so you can edit your YouTube videos faster

I’m a total neat freak. I’m the type to keep all my stuff organized and put things back where they go. Yes, I’m one of those people who organize their closet by types of clothes, color, and occasion. I know exactly where all my stuff is and I never have to look for anything. 

Even my mess is organized. Right now on my desk, I have Post-its and papers everywhere, but in a way that I can find what I need quickly. You might be thinking that I’m so awesome for keeping my stuff organized, but let me tell you, it’s out of laziness. That’s right, I’m too lazy to clean, so I put things back where they go. It’s that simple. The same principle applies to video editing. 

I keep my files organized so I can save time and energy looking for footage, B-roll footage, audio and so on. So today I’m going to show you how I organize all my video files and how I archive my files so I can find them later. If you’re lazy like, I’m going to walk you through this so you’ll never have to think about this filing system again. I’m going to show you how to organize your video files by actually showing you how to create these files.

How to organize your video files

First I’m going to start by creating a business folder (I hope you have a folder for your business if not can start here). I have a folder on my desktop, laptop, Google Drive, Dropbox, and on all my hard drives called ‘Natasha Lane Design Co’. This folder contains everything I do for my company. If you don’t have a folder for all your business stuff, then you should create that now.

Since I create a lot of content (not just YouTube videos), I create a folder called ‘Content’. In this folder, I add all the content I create for my business. That includes blogs, newsletters, Instagram posts, and so on. Your folder will look a little different than mine depending on the content you create.

Creating the main ‘YouTube’ folder

Now, you’re going to start organizing your video files. First, create the ‘YouTube’ folder. Inside the YouTube folder, you’re going to create a ‘Branding’ folder. In this Branding folder, you’re going to keep things like the graphics you need for your videos and the music that you use for your videos. This is only for music you use on every video, not different music that you’ll use for different videos. For example, if you play the same intro music and/or the same outro music, you can add that here. You can also add intro videos and outro videos. You’ll add anything that’s part of your brand that you use for every video.

Then you’re going to create the ‘Archived’ folder. I’m going to go into more detail about this folder later, but for now, just create it.  Finally, you’re going to create the ‘Video Title – Master Copy’ folder. This will be the folder you copy and paste every time you create a new video (and change the name to the title of your video). This is the main folder for organizing your video files, so make sure you NEVER DELETE this folder.

Inside the ‘Video Title – Master Copy’ folder

In the ‘Video Title – Master Copy’ folder, you’re going to create a ‘Footage’ folder. This is the folder where all your raw footage goes too. Then create an ‘Audio’ folder. This folder will store the voice recordings for your video and any music or sound effects you’re going to use for this specific video.

Now, you’re going to add a folder for ‘B-Roll’ or ‘B-Roll Footage’. If you use B-Roll footage, you can add those files here. I have a folder for ‘Graphics’, so if you use different graphics for your videos, you can add that here, but if you use the same graphics for your video, you can stick that in the ‘Branding’ folder. Then we’re going to create the ‘Editing’ folder. This folder will store your video editing project. This is where I put my Adobe Premiere files when I’m editing my videos. If you’re using iMovie, Final Cut Pro, or any other software, you can add that file to the ‘Editing’ folder.

Lastly, we’re going to create the ‘Final’ folder. You’ll also want to add different folders to this one, depending on what you do with your video. For now, we’re just going to create 3 folders in the ‘Final’ folder. Those 3 folders are ‘YouTube’, ‘Images’, and ‘Transcript’. 

Your ‘YouTube’ folder will be for your final finished YouTube video and thumbnail. The ‘Images’ folder will hold any images or stills that go along with your video. I like to take still images from my videos to create my YouTube thumbnails. This is where I keep all those photos. The ‘Transcript’ folder is for the transcript of your video. You can add more folders if you repurpose your video to other social media channels or blog posts.

So now every time you create a new video, all you have to do is duplicate the ‘Video Title – Master Copy’ and then name this after the title of your video. Now everything is already set. You don’t have to recreate these folders.

How to archive your video files

Now I’m going to show you how to archive your files. First off, let’s add some folders to the ‘Archived’ folder. Since this is 2020, you’re going to create a ‘2020’ folder. Then you create 12 folders and number them 1 to 12. Each number will represent a month. January equals 1 and so on. The reason we’re using numbers is because it keeps the folder in chronological order. If we use months, the folders will be out of order because it’ll try to organize alphabetically.

Since all the folders are empty, you might as well duplicate the ‘2020’ folder and change the copy to ‘2021’. Now all your folders are created. You just have to add your videos to them. When you’re done with your video folder (scheduling to YouTube or repurposing to another channel), you can add your video to the month that it belongs to. It’ll make finding your videos in the future easier. If you make videos once a week, you should have at least 4 videos in each folder. 

Storing your files on a hard drive and cleaning your computer

After you’re done archiving your videos, you probably want to move this off your desktop so you can save space to keep making more videos. So what I like to do to archive my videos is to move them to an external hard drive. I actually have two hard drives. I have a 6 TB desktop external hard drive, and then I have a 1 TB portable external hard drive. The reason why I have two hard drives is to be safe. I’m always scared something’s going to happen to my hard drive and I’ll lose everything, so I like to basically double back up my files. 

To back up my files, I usually just drag my whole company folder to my hard drives. I move my YouTube videos from my computer so I can keep space on my computer since I’m not only editing my own videos, I’m editing client videos, too. I tend to move my business projects off the computer once a week. I keep my client projects on my computer for a week after the project end date. But even my client files are backed up on hard drives and on either Dropbox or Google Drive so I don’t have to worry about removing the files from my computer. After I archive my folders, I just drag and drop them to the trash can.  Once I throw everything away, I use CleanMyMac to clean my desktop.

So that’s how I organize my video files. Because these are videos for YouTube, or whatever you’re creating videos for, the filing system isn’t that bad. It would be different if you were filming a movie. Now when you start editing your videos you can import the folder or files you need quickly and start editing right away. If you film in sections, you know to grab the first files then the second files and so on. If you want to learn more about filming in sections to make filming faster, you can watch that video here

Do you organize your video files? Let me know in the comments down below.


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    • Awesome! I’m glad it was helpful.

  • Steffanie says:

    Thank you so much!

    • You’re welcome! I hope this was helpful!