How do you take ordinary video clips and combine them together to create a dynamic and entertaining video? That’s right. Video editing.
It’s the last step you take before you can share your amazing content with everyone on the internet. So to say that it’s an integral part of video production is an understatement.
Once you get into it and learn the ropes, video editing is a really fun and exciting process where you get to let your creativity run wild and free.
But if you clicked on this article, I’m guessing you’re a complete beginner and have no idea about anything.
Feeling overwhelmed and intimidated just thinking about the whole process? Don’t stress.
Here are my 5 useful video editing tips for beginners to get you started.
1. Choosing a Video Editing Software
The first and most important step of video editing is choosing the right software for you.
There’s no shortage of options out there that will satisfy your most basic video editing needs. However, you may prefer one over the others based on ease of use, design or extra capabilities.
And this might not necessarily be the newest, most technologically advanced one. Some softwares have a more simple interface than others. But maybe that’s all you’re looking for because it’s a less daunting prospect than one that comes with all the bells and whistles.
As a newbie, you won’t really have a preference until you try. So, experiment with a couple of video editing programs (use free trials for the paid ones) before settling on one that you like and are comfortable with using.
For advice on beginner-friendly video editing softwares, click HERE.
2. Be Organised
Imagine you have a cluttered pile of clothes that you’ve swept into a corner of your room. It’s months of laziness and uncleanliness accumulating in one spot.
It’s Monday morning and you’re running late to an important presentation you’re giving at work because you can’t find the second bloody black sock that completes the pair.
You’re pulling out your hair because you swear you saw it yesterday. Out of stubbornness, you proceed to spend the next half an hour sifting through that gargantuan pile of clothes to find it.
You come running into work, flustered and panting, only to see your least favourite co-worker giving the presentation you were meant to give and get the promotion you were hoping for.
Now do people take socks that seriously? Probably not. Just leave the house without it.
But that we can all relate to that feeling of frustration that stems from disorganisation. And it is a feeling that is also way too common in video editing.
After filming, you’re going to have sooo many files to sort through – some are usable and some aren’t. Some may be funny bloopers and some may be cringey mistakes caught on camera.
While watching all your footage back, it’s important to rename the files and put them into folders. Group them based on tasks, scenes, shots, audio files etc. There’s really no right or wrong, no rules. It’s whatever works for you.
Keeping everything systemised like this will make your video editing process significantly easier.
You’ll be able to find things quickly and never again will have to spend hours re-scouring through your footage after saying, “Oh, where’s that one clip where this happened?”
3. Use a Fast Computer and Save Progress
Video editing is notorious for huge files, slow rendering times and crashing computers.
Avoid this by using a fast computer capable of handling such large HD files and one that also has enough space to do so.
External harddrives can also be a good investment to store extra files too. But note that any film and audio clips that are being used in your video need to be kept with the project file. Otherwise, the computer won’t be able to locate the media files and your editing screen will look like one big error message.
And I can’t stress enough the importance of saving your progress! Hit ctrl+s regularly so in the case that your computer does freeze or crash, you don’t lose your hours of hard work.
Nothing is more disheartening than realising you can’t recover your files and have to start again, like it’s a new, untouched project.
So SAVE SAVE SAVE! Yes money, but definitely your video project too.
4. Edit to Engage the Audience
Remember a time when you watched a YouTube ad longer than 15 seconds or weren’t constantly switching between social media apps? I sure don’t.
In a world becoming more progressively technologically advanced, audiences today are constantly being overstimulated by clickbait, social media browsing, and fast-paced advertising. Our attention spans are getting shorter every year – it’s now approximately 8 seconds!
As a video editor, you can use this fact to your advantage.
Make frequent cuts to different shots and keep the action moving. Nobody wants to watch a 5 minute video from one angle the entire time. That’s pretty much the definition of boring.
In the same fashion, make use of transitions, effects and graphics to keep things interesting.
But be mindful and use them sparingly. In other words, don’t saturate your video with them. Unless you want your video to look like a Year 5 PowerPoint slideshow.
Don’t neglect the power of background music either. It can make silences less awkward but also enhance the emotion you’re trying to convey.
But be careful not to have the music louder than the speech. There’s a lot of YouTube videos out there that do that and it basically says to the audience, “Hi, I’m an amateur video editor.”
Ensure yours says, “I know what I’m doing as a video editor, watch my high-quality videos” instead.
5. Ask for Feedback
Depending on the scale of the video you’re making, editing can take hours or even days to finish. That’s a long time to be staring at a screen watching the same clips over and over and over again. You can eventually become desensitised and consequently make poor editing choices.
Step away once in a while and come back to video editing with a clear mind and a fresh perspective. You might notice things that you didn’t before. You might change your mind about aspects you initially thought were good.
Asking for feedback from friends of family can be really valuable too. Before you upload, ask someone to watch your work and get their thoughts on the editing choices you made.
You might be biased about your work, so asking for a secondary opinion simulates what real-world audiences might think.
Take the helpful critiques you get on the chin and use them to improve your editing skills.
But at the same time, you can’t always please everyone and you don’t even necessarily have to. If you like your work and are immensely proud of it, then back yourself.
At the end of the day, you need to be your own number one fan.
Video editing isn’t simply cutting and pasting clips together. It’s an artistic outlet to showcase your videography and storytelling skills.
And now that you’ve gained some useful tips on video editing, it’s time to go out, film some cool things and play around with the clips in the editing room.
You are only limited by your creativity. So have fun with it and kickstart your successful career as a video creator!
Learn more about video production and YouTube by heading to the Online Creator Institute!