Don’t be scared of editing. Just jump in and do your best. As long as you remember to save the original file you’ll have no problem! Even without a lot of video editing experience, anyone can create a professional-looking video if they just follow the right principles. Before long you’ll be an editing pro!
Video Editing Checklist
1. Start with the End in Mind
Have a mental image of how you want your finished video to look, before you shoot any video. This will help a lot in deciding what shots to take and what shots not to take. It’ll help you determine what kind of equipment you need, what kind of assistance you need and it’ll help you set your budget. By knowing exactly what you want in the end, you’ll avoid the all-too-common problem of not having one shot and having to get all the equipment out again just to take that one shot. Sometimes when that happens the whole video get scrapped because we’ve run out of time.
2. Learn the Basics of Shooting Video
No matter how good your editing is, you can’t make shoddy film look like great film. One of the “secrets” to video editing is starting with good footage to begin with. While you don’t need to take a 6-month course in cinematography, it can really help to read up on the basics of how to hold a camera, how to pan a camera, different angles you can use, and how to take different kinds of shots.
3. Don’t Use Too Many Transitions
One beginner mistake is to use too many different kinds of transitions, especially flashy ones. Airplanes flying in and wiping out the screen, the first scene exploding into the second scene, etc. are effects that can be used occasionally. Your videos will actually look a lot more professional if you just used crossfades, fade-to-black or fade-to-whites. The simple cut is still the most used transition. Pick one and stick to it.
4. Break Up Your Videos (Informational)
If you’re shooting informational videos for DVDs or online lessons, break up your videos. Anytime you switch to a new topic, fade to black and show a title shot for 3-5 seconds with the title to the next section. This helps break up the clip and prevents people from feeling like they’ve been sitting and watching the same video for 20 minutes. Instead, they can feel like they’ve been watching 4 different interesting 5 minute clips.
If you’re going to publish the videos for the general public to watch I recommend that you just make 4 different videos. You can keep them shorter, have more content published, and keep people coming back for more.
5. Audio is More Important Than Video
For informational videos, audio is more important than video. Even if your video quality is low, people can still understand you and get the benefit of your product. However, if your audio can’t be properly heard, you’ll immediately lose your audience.
Again, the secret to great audio comes before the filming. Invest in a good mic. Good wireless lapel mics are very common, inexpensive and barely show up on camera. Camera mics are notorious for picking up extraneous sound.
6. Learn the “Remove Noise” Filter
Background noise is often picked up, even if you’re using a high quality mic. For most beginning editors the “remove noise” filter will quickly become your most used and most loved audio filter. This filter allows you to take a small sample of “empty” video to sample for noise. It’ll then create a noise profile and take out noise from all of your video.
There are different degrees to which you can remove noise. If there’s a lot of background noise, you usually won’t be able to get rid of all of it. Removing too much noise can result in strange pops and other audio artifacts. All that said however, the “remove noise” filter can still be a lifesaver for anyone working with audio that has background noises.
7. Pick One Primary Application
Don’t hop from FinalCut to Premier to Sony Vegas. While it’s a good idea to dip your toes into a few different programs to get a feel for what you like, you should pick one as quickly as possible to really learn the ins and outs of the program.
Each program will have different filters, different tricks, different rendering filters and different shortcuts. Being able to edit video quickly means learning the ins and outs of one program, not to learn a little bit about many.
7. Learn the Keyboard Shortcuts
Learning keyboard shortcuts will shave hours off your editing time. Nobody expects you to learn all the keyboard shortcuts for any given program, but you should learn all the keyboard shortcuts for commonly executed commands. Shortcuts for things like Play, Pause, Stop, Play Backwards, Split, Copy, Paste, Cut, Insert Marker, etc should all become second nature to you. The 3 seconds you save by not having to reach for the mouse add up very quickly.
Read more tips in the post 7 more video editing tips.