Video editing tips for Beginners

So, you have just shot some video footage, and now it’s time for the other half of the battle, video editing. As with shooting video this next step requires a good mix of both creativity and technical knowledge. We want to share our video editing tips for beginners and we hope to make your video editing experience much easier and productive by providing a few helpful tips, techniques and life hacks.

Choose the right software.

The first step in improving your video editing process is to choose the right software. Many editing software’s offer everything you need for video editing. The key here is to choose what works for you and your editing style instead of the latest, most advanced video editing software out there.

Top favourites include Premiere Pro, Avid Media Composer, Final Cut Pro and DaVinci Resolve.

Use a fast computer.

No, we’re not going to pit PC’s vs Mac’s with this tip. You can choose whatever computer you like as long as it’s fast enough for you to store files and allows you to focus more on editing without worrying about slow rendering.

Edit for a story.

One of the most important things to take away from these tips is to remember your creative goal is to tell a great story through your video editing. Go beyond the basics-cutting away extraneous footage and correcting the order of your clips, take the opportunity to make the edit aesthetically pleasing and dramatically compelling as to evoke the right emotions and effectively impart your intended message. Optimise your practical and technical knowledge in achieving this instead of just adding a bunch of effects to impress your viewers.

Maintain an efficient workflow.

Even with a fast computer and editing software, you’ll also need to be systematic and organised in order to become a more efficient editor. One way to improve your workflow is to organize your projects and files In folders that you can use again and again. Create homes for your projects, footage, audio files, images and graphics. Another way that you can work faster is to use external hard drives to store your footage. We recommend that you choose hard drives that can be connected via USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt to enable faster file transfers. Also consider allocating RAM to use more of it for editing and getting a gaming mouse that allows specific editing functions for its buttons.

Utilize keyboard shortcuts.

Speaking of buttons, keep in mind that most editing programs allow you to use keyboard shortcuts to perform a range of in-app editing functions. Feel free to review, memorize, and customize the different set of shortcuts for software programs like Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, Avid Media Composer and DaVinci Resolve.

If you have a little more money to spend, the easier option would be to purchase an editing keyboard (or at least a replaceable editing keyboard cover) that already has keyboard shortcut icons in them. These are usually software-specific, so you don’t have to worry about compatibility issues with your editing software.

Cutaways

Learn important terms.

The video editing industry will require you to communicate with other video editors or clients, which means you’ll have to learn a lot of lingo. To those who haven’t heard of them, some of the terms used in video editing can be impossible to figure out without any research, which is why you’ll want to learn them early on. Basic concepts include the following:

Jump cuts – Cutting out portions to skip boring or predictable moments and preserve visual interest.

J cut – Audio precedes the video.

L cut – Video precedes the audio.

Montage – Sequence of clips showing the passage of time, usually for a transformation or character development.

Cutting on action – Cutting when the subject is moving instead of after each movement to create a more interesting and fluid scene.

Match cut/Match action – Cutting together two visually similar shots or scenes

Cutaways

Cutaways – Adding transition pieces that don’t include the main subject or action to show the surrounding environment and set the mood, add meaning to the scene, or aid dramatic tension.

These are just a few, as there are certainly many other cuts and terms to learn. All you need to do is take the time to read and do your own research.

Colour correct your clips.

Colour is a major design element that can be manipulated to highlight certain subjects, evoke specific emotions, and set the mood or atmosphere of your scene. Fortunately, today’s video editing programs give us a lot of color editing options that used to be only possible with photos.
Most editors do two things: colour correction, to make sure that the colors of your footage are consistent in each scenes, and colour grading, to give your film a different look. Both are essential when you want most of your scenes to look as realistic as possible, or to differentiate certain scenes from others, such as when you use presets like sepia and monochrome on “flashback” scenes.

Select good music.
Don’t just focus on the visuals; it should only be as good as your music. If you’re creating a extreme sports video, for instance, you’ll want the right song or instrumentals to make key moments feel more effective. Cheerful comedies can be a little forgiving, but it can also be easy to overdo it with upbeat songs. Look for videos with the same style and tone you’re going for as reference can also help you choose the right music for your edit.
But before you even think of using just any music, remember that the safest option is to get music from a royalty free music provider. You may be able to find free music, but the best audio usually comes at a price.

Add text and graphics

Depending on what type of video you are creating, you may have to include more text aside from the title and film credits. You’ll usually want to keep it simple, with a clean and white sans-serif font that doesn’t grab too much attention. Have them dissolve in and out, and see how it works for your video.
Adobe After Effects is a popular choice for creating some of the best motion graphics. If you’ve yet to learn how to make your own by hand, you can always get impressive ready-made After Effects templates from sites like videoblocks.

Export web versions.

Once your video is done and ready to be exported, the natural tendency of most editors is to export it at the largest video resolution possible. This is definitely the way to go if it’s going to be played in cinemas and ultra HD screens, but in today’s generation where video projects are usually marketed online, you should also export smaller, high-quality versions.
When exporting for the web, the goal is to create a file that maintains its high quality without making it too heavy for upload and online viewing. If you’re unsure about the export settings to use, don’t worry. Sites like YouTube, Facebook, and Vimeo all have recommended export settings:
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