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Video Editing Tips For Beginners

When you’re just starting out learning to edit video, it can be really hard to get things the way you want them. It can also be a very frustrating process, especially if you’re unsure about how things should be done.

There are some tricks nearly every video editor follows in order to keep things efficient and simple. If you’re a beginning video editor, you’ll want to start trying them out for yourself. Eventually, it’ll become second nature and your editing process will begin to flow.


Video Editing Terms You Need To Know

As with any specific trade, there are several terms you’ll need to know for video editing. Here are the most basic ones:

  • Aspect Ratio: The height and width of your video and how they relate to each other. The most common aspect ratio is currently 16:9, the standard for high-definition videos.

  • A-Roll: The main footage of your video.

  • B-Roll: The secondary footage of your video (i.e., filler).

  • Cut: Change from one shot to another.

  • Soundtrack: The audio portion of a video recording, often multifaceted with natural sound, voiceovers, background music, etc.

To find more terms that will help you in your video editing journey, check out this list from VideoMaker.


Get The Right Software

With the plethora of editing software on the market, it’s not always easy to know which to use. The most popular applications among professionals include Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, and DaVinci Resolve, but these are complex programs with steep learning curves. There are also plenty of other options suitable for newcomers, including Filmora and Pinnacle Studio. If you haven’t decided about this yet, it’s worth reading our blog reviewing different software options before settling on one that is right for you.


Backup Your Videos

Arguably the most important thing you can do for your project is to make multiple backups. Making this a habit will save you so much time and effort in the long run. Whether your computer unexpectedly crashes or your editing program starts having errors, with a backup you’ll have a point to go back to.

How many backups should you make? Honestly, there isn’t “too much” when it comes to this. Ideally, though, you should make at least two backups of your project. Also, make sure these are saved in different forms or locations. For example, one on your hard drive, and one stored on the cloud (e.g. Dropbox).


Organize Your Media

One of the most frustrating things to occur when video editing is not being able to find a certain clip or piece of media. Ideally, you should organize your clips before you edit them. How you organize them is completely up to you, and depends on what type of project you’re editing. If you’re not sure how you should organize your files, a good rule of thumb is to do it in chronological order of when the clips were shot. The goal is to make it quick and easy to find something whenever you need it.


Start With A Rough Cut

If you’re editing a good amount of footage, it’s important to get yourself into an efficient workflow. A good way to do this is to make a preliminary rough cut of your entire video.

This usually involves going through your clips and finding the ones you are sure you want to use. After you’ve determined that, you can place them in your program’s timeline in chronological order. At this point, though, you aren’t going to want to trim the clips or add any sort of transitions or effects. The point of the rough cut is to get a general idea of how the video will play out and to flesh out the order of the scenes.

Once you’ve done this, you can easily go through your timeline and do more specific cuts and edits.


Optimize For Length

The length of your video depends on where you’ll be uploading your content. Here are a few suggestions on how long videos need to be depending on the platform:

  • Instagram: 30 seconds. While you can use media up to 1 minute long, Instagram is a largely visual platform where people are used to scrolling quickly to move on to the next image. Users also expect an Instagram video’s visual quality to be roughly the same as images.

  • Twitter: 45 seconds. Tweets are brief by design, and people on Twitter expect the same brevity for videos.

  • Facebook: 1 minute. Content is king on Facebook, so videos that are short but interesting will get the most views, reactions, and shares.

  • YouTube: 2 minutes or more. YouTube audiences expect longer videos on this platform. You can upload fun and quick vlogs or post a 30-minute long documentary. As long as the content is strong, you will get views.


Don’t Overuse Effects

With all the options available for adding interesting video effects or transitions, it may be tempting to put lots of them into your project. However, too many effects can actually be more detrimental than anything.

Using a lot of effects can become distracting to a viewer. If you use too many, it might come off as tacky or overwhelming. It’s more important to use effects only when they will give a meaningful impact on your video.

As far as transitions go, it’s usually better if they aren’t overly flashy. Moving from clip to clip should go smoothly, and overusing transition effects will take focus away from what you’re actually trying to get across. Just remember that when it comes to effects, less is more.


Check Your Rights

Another common mistake is using songs without appropriate rights. Sites like YouTube and Facebook are increasingly strict in taking down videos that contain copyrighted music, so abandon any hope of being able to use your favorite hit.

Many websites offer royalty-free music, so it’s not difficult to find alternative tracks that suit your video. Read the terms properly, though, to be sure you’re permitted to use the music the way that you want to. Alternatively, if you have contacts who are musicians, they may be willing to give you permission to use their tracks.


Video editing can seem a daunting task at first, but keep these video editing tips and tricks in mind as you go, and you’ll soon be editing like a pro. You’ll also find it’s an incredibly satisfying process, especially when you watch your finished masterpiece.



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