The Insider Top 19 in ’19

The Insider Top 19 in ’19

As 2019 comes to a close, we can’t help looking back at what has been one of the most exciting times in’s short history. It was also a time when our blog featured some of our most engaging posts.

Now, we may have different ideas of which articles were the best this year. I’m partial to some of the exclusive interviews we did for our newsletter subscribers. (The most recent was with the editor of Joker). But who cares what I think? What do you think? What were some of your favorite articles from 2019, and why? Share with us on Twitter or in the comments.

In case you missed them, we pulled together the top 19 articles of 2019 based on traffic—because numbers don’t lie.

#19. How to Emulate the Look of Film in Any NLE

Apparently, people still want to know how to make video look like film. Here’s one tip a reader emailed me shortly after we published. “Shoot on film.” Duly noted.

#18. The Beginner’s Guide to Building a Color Grading Suite

Color grading topics were huge this year. There are a few more on the list. Expect even more in 2020.

#17. Shazam! How Editor Michel Aller Transformed into a Blockbuster Editor

From Marvel to DC, spandex, capes, and flying superheroes were big at the box office, and on the blog.

#16. Grading for Mixed Delivery: Cinema, Home, and Every Screen in Between

Color grading is the art of making sure your film looks the way you want it to when your audience sees it. But what do you do when your audience can be sitting in a theater one minute, or sitting on the subway the next? How do you make sure it looks great no matter if they’re watching your magnum opus in glorious IMAX, or on the latest smartphone? This article will help you answer that.

#15. Editing Action: 5 Tips to Keep the Audience on Edge and Engaged

I recently (and finally) saw John Wick Chapter 3 on a flight home. I describe it as the massive shoot-out from The Matrix, combined with the hall fighting scene from the original Old Boy, mixed with a dose of the house fight scene from the original John Wick…MULTIPLIED BY 50! I think the filmmakers must’ve read this article and just got excited!

#14. How “Us” Editor Nicholas Monsour Works with Jordan Peele

Key & Peele comedian, producer, director, and writer Jordan Peele followed up the success of his socially conscious “horror” flick Get Out by once again mining the genre to create a powerful exploration of class dynamics and the lengths humans will go to in order to “get theirs.” Editor Nicholas Monsour was gracious enough to take us deep into his process with the auteur.

#13. Why Every Editor, Colorist, and VFX Artist Needs to Understand ACES

Adapted from our Workflow Guide article on the same topic, in this version we further expand and explore the details of this important color management system.

#12. 7 Common Problems in Premiere Pro and How to Fix Them

Hands down the most visited blog post on this site was an article we published two years ago on how to fix the nine most common problems working with Premiere Pro. It was time for a follow-up. Adobe must be doing something right, because we’ve gotten the list down to seven this time!

#11. Editing Roma: An Emotional Journey from Indie to Oscars

Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma was a tour de force in filmmaking last year. Beautifully shot in black and white, with a story that was deeply personal, it was a film that made a lot of waves in the industry as one of Netflix’s first day-and-date films. Editor Adam Gough sat down with us (via the internet) to share his process of working with the brilliant, Academy Award-winning director.

#10. The Essential Guide to LUTs

Did I mention that color grading was a popular topic in 2019? Here’s another. What I like about his article is that we finally get an answer to that age-old question, “what the hell is a look-up table and why does math have anything to do with the look of a film?”

#9. EFILM Colorist Mitch Paulson Demystifies the Digital Intermediate Process

The creation of this Top 19 in ‘19 blog post is turning out to be an amazing research project. You people REALLY love you some color grading topics. (Note to self.) In this article, we dig into the processes of one of the industry’s leading colorists and companies.

#8. Graphic Design in Film: The Substance of Visual Storytelling

Occasionally we’ll cover a topic unrelated to professional post-production work. It turns out that a good lot of you loved it. Expect to see more diverse filmmaking topics in 2020!

#7. The Premiere Pro Editor’s Guide to Using the Essential Graphics Panel

Given the popularity of the NLE, it was no surprise that this article cracked the top ten. It’s a great primer for any of you Premiere Pro users out there.

#6. Workflow Breakdown of Avengers: Endgame and Marvel’s Phase 3 Movies

There comes a time in every artist’s career when he or she has the moment where they know they’ve “made it.” As the managing editor for this blog, that time came early this year when we received an email from one of the assistant editors on Avengers: Endgame asking if we’d like to cover their story on the blog. As a Marvel fanboy geek, I had a two-word response. “HELL YEAH!” It took a while to get all the proper t’s crossed and i’s dotted that are involved with covering the BTS of the biggest movie of the year—shrouded in a PR fog and a bevy of embargos—but when it finally hit the digital newsstand, it was an instant hit!

#5. just got a major upgrade

We normally don’t include company announcements in these lists, but I’m making an exception here because this was a REALLY BIG upgrade that was anticipated by our loyal customer base. So many cool new features. The fact that this announcement was in the top five of all articles published this year is proof positive of how committed our users are. And with our recent round of Series C funding, you can expect a lot more goodness in the new decade.

#4. Oscar Workflow Breakdown of Every Best Picture and Editing Nominee

Given how gangbusters our first annual Oscar Workflow Breakdown was, the only surprise was that this wasn’t even higher on the list. Regardless, this 5,000+ word opus goes into all the nitty-gritty details of the films that took home the gold, and the ones that almost did.

#3. Introducing v3.5 – More Secure, More Precise, and More Flexible

Since I made an exception for the other company announcement, it was only fair to let this one slide, too. Besides, on the off-chance some of you missed this news, did you know that is now even more secure, precise, and flexible?

#2. Not Just an Integration: Introducing in DaVinci Resolve 16

DaVinci Resolve 16 Update - Native Plugin & Tool

Well, I can’t say that I’m surprised at this entry, either. Considering how much you all love color grading, it stands to reason that our announcement that is now natively integrated into one of the most popular color grading programs on the planet is going to be a hugely popular article on the blog.

And the #1 most-read article on the Insider in 2019 was, you guessed it, another color grading article. (Did I already make a note-to-self for 2020?)

#1. The Beginner’s Guide to Conforming with DaVinci Resolve

The beauty of this in-depth treatise on using DaVinci Resolve is that author Dan Swierenga also delves into the details of what conforming is in the first place. Despite the title, I believe that whether you’re a pro or just getting started, there’s plenty of valuable information in this article.

Runner up?

4 Reasons to Become a Staff vs. Freelance Video Editor

I have a confession to make. From a strictly numbers perspective, the actual #1 article viewed this year was this one. I didn’t include it in the list because we used it in one of our social media ads. So, in essence, we paid for a lot of this traffic. However, the reader still has to be interested enough in the topic to click and read it. That’s why it’s worth putting on the list, even if the views aren’t completely organic. Also because the editor we featured has built an amazing career and shares some invaluable insights into how she’s done it.

Thank you’s

I would be remiss if I did not thank all the people who helped make these articles come to life.

  • The interviewees: Michel Aller, Nicholas Monsour, Adam Gough, Mitch Paulson, Jeffrey Ford, Robin Budday, and Taylor Walsh.
  • The photographers: huge thanks to the photographers here and across “the pond” who help keep the Insider looking top-notch. Irina Logra of Logra Studio in Los Angeles, and commercial photographer John McAllister of London, England.
  • The Writers: last and certainly not least, I want to thank the writers whose expertise and skill help educate our readers with in-depth practical and tactical knowledge you will seldom find anywhere else. Jason Bowdach, Alexander Huls (I think half the articles on this were written by Alex. He constantly elevates the writing on this blog), Cullen Kelly (lots of color grading articles by Cullen this year), Chris Salters, Andrew LaSane, Dan Swierenga, and’s very own Ben Bailey and Lisa McNamara. Ben and Lisa also help in the editing of this blog, keeping me sane and from crawling up in a fetal position in the corner of my office. I have an amazing team, both internally and by way of all dozens of freelance artists with whom we have the honor to work.

What were your favorites?

As I mentioned above, these were the top articles strictly from a number-of- views perspective. It was all very objective. What I would really like to know, from a subjective POV, is which articles you enjoyed most. Was it related to color grading? Was it one of our other amazing interviews? Let us know in the comments.

As always, thank you for being loyal readers. I’m very excited for what we have in store for 2020. Expect to see a new blog design, more video content and original short films, and of course, I guess we’ll have to publish more articles about color grading.

Happy New Year. Be safe out there—and stay inspired.

Ron Dawson
Managing Editor


Written by Ron Dawson

Ron is an award-winning video producer with over 25 years experience telling stories in the video medium. He's a coach, speaker, and author of “ReFocus: Cutting Edge Strategies to Evolve Your Video Business." Ron was also the host and producer of Radio Film School a podcast described as "This American Life for Filmmakers." You can follow him on Twitter @BladeRonner.

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