11 Important Video Editing Tips for Beginners

Video editing is a tough, repetitive job, but the results are so rewarding when it goes well.

A writer can set the scenes, and the director chooses how to make a script come to life but, it is a good editor makes the real difference between a great or a terrible film.

It may look like most of the work is done on set, but the real storytelling goes on in the final edit.

If you are interested in video editing or are new to the field and would like some video editing tips, you should read our short guide. We will show you how to improve your editing game.

  1. Invest in Your Equipment

You can’t do your best job if you don’t have the best equipment so make sure you invest your editing computer. Buy an SSD for quick access speeds and reliability, and make sure you upgrade your RAM.

The debate over whether to use a Mac or PC is over. Both systems are great as long as they are optimized for editing.

If you want to learn more about editing on a Mac, check out this link: https://setapp.com/how-to/record-edit-share-videos-on-mac.

  1. Get the Right Software

Once you have an excellent desktop computer, ensure you have the best editing software for the job. You may want to consider Adobe Premiere as the industry standard or Final Cut Pro if you are on an Apple device.

However, there are lots of other options, including DaVinci Resolve and Avid Media Composer. Look for great usability and built-in features. Just make sure you find the software that works best for you and how you edit.

  1. Organize Your Workspace

You don’t want to spend hours of wasted time looking in folders for audio files and footage when editing your movie. Make sure you take some time at the beginning of the project to plan your workflow.

Organize your digital workspace to make sure you can always find what you need. Invest in additional storage devices, and make sure you plan regular backups of your files. Always have at least two backups of your final cut.

  1. Tell a Story

Above all else, you are here to combine movement and image into a gripping story. Make sure you use your editing skills to bring out the most compelling aspects of the characters and highlight the drama and the action.

Editing is not just about adding fancy effects and fades between scenes. You need to choose which shots move the action forwards and what needs to be chopped away and left on the cutting room floor (or desktop recycle bin).

  1. Understand the Terminology

There is a lot of complicated and specialized terminology used in editing that you will need to understand before working with others in your field.

For example, the different types of cuts that you make. You need to learn the difference between a J-Cut (when the audio is heard before the clip) and an L Cut (the reverse of a J Cut).

Take time to study your craft and learn the different terms you will need to use.

  1. Use Cuts Wisely

Once you have learned the different cuts’ names, you need to understand how to use them.

You need to know when to use jump cuts to keep the action fluid and engaging or a montage to show the passage of time. A key skill is knowing when to cut on the action, not to make it too jarring for the audience.

You can learn all these skills on a short film editing course and with perseverance and practice.

  1. Use the Rule of Three

When using B-roll footage alongside your primary action, try to apply the rule of three. Use three different B-roll shots to give your audience the best idea of the scene they are looking at.

So, when a character enters a new location, use three different shots of the place from the character’s point of view. Three is just the right amount not to feel too long and give the audience the best perspective.

Each clip should be around 2 seconds in length and no longer.

  1. Master Keyboard Shortcuts

Make your life so much easier by learning the keyboard shortcuts for your particular editing software.

You will be repeating the same task over and over again, so save yourself the carpal tunnel and learn the shortcut keys!

  1. Use Color Correction

With color correction, you can make your film look consistent as you move between scenes. Match each scene to the color and style that has gone before, so there are no glaring differences for your audience to observe.

Also, use color grading to change the mood and look of your film. Both techniques should come as standard in your video editing software.

  1. Edit Out the Mistakes

You may receive imperfect footage. A director may be rushed to get the shoot done, or the actors may not have been on the form on the day. If there is no time for reshoots, it is up to you to fix the mistakes.

For each scene, you should receive a variety of angles to work from. Make sure you cut between these different shots to avoid any obvious glaring errors the director may have captured on film.

The final cut is yours, so make it your best one.

  1. Take a Break

Step away from your editing machine once in a while and take a breath. It can be very easy to get lost in the footage. Sometimes the simplest solution is to step away and let it rest for a while.

You may find you come back with fresh eyes and see things that you couldn’t before, giving an edit an entirely new perspective.

Use These Video Editing Tips

Apply these video editing tips and techniques to your next cut and see what a difference they can make to your video productions.

Ensure you are keeping your skills up to scratch and practice, practice, practice if you want to see your work on YouTube or even the silver screen.

Please check out our blog for more interesting content about film and technology if you enjoyed this article.

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