Video editing is not just about being able to use a selection of fancy software to put your video together; it’s about making a piece of art. As an editor you need to have an understanding of how people think, feel, remember and learn and use this knowledge to your advance to create emotion, move a story forward and make your feature believable.
Nowadays it is easy to get your hands on a reasonably priced video camera, a cheap and easy to use piece of editing software (for example Sony Vegas movie studio you can pick up from as little as £20.00 – some camcorders come with complimentary editing software included.) and as long as you can hook up your camera to your computer you are well on your way.
So if you manage to get your hands on everything you need where do you start? Here are my top 9 tips to take into consideration when editing your first video together.
1) Use a range of shots
So you want to introduce somebody to your company by putting a simple welcome piece to camera video on your website and after looking through your content it will last between 1 – 2 minutes. Unless it’s a very quick video that can be over in the mater of 20 – 30 seconds it is vital that you use a range of shots. This can incorporate wide, medium and close ups. Film your video 3 times perfect in each of the individual shots and then use a range of them to edit your video together. Use more close and medium shots rather than wide shots to keep it more engaging and look out for simple contingency errors when flipping between the shots for example an open mouth jumps to a closed one, eyes closed and then open, head is looking left and then to the right.
2) The 180 degree Rule
Before getting to the video editing stage you firstly need decent quality footage to play with. Make sure you follow the 180 degree rule when filming. The 180 degree rule is a basic guideline to follow focusing on an on-screen spatial relationship between two characters and filmmakers follow this imaginary line rule by keeping the camcorder on one side of the axis for every shot in a scene.
By using the 180 degree rule it enables your audience to visually connect with any unseen movement which may be happening around the immediate subject. For more information on the 180 Degree Rule read my recent blog – The 180 Degree Rule Of Filming
3) Be Organised
Once you have the required footage you need to produce your video, it is time to upload your clips to a computer ready for editing but make sure you are organised. Don’t capture all your footage to your desktop for instance and then start working a way on the project, only for 2 hours later to realise the footage is annoying you and you make a folder on your computer to store them in instead. Being organised from the off start will help you have a panic melt down simply because the editing software you are using cannot find the files after you have used them. Save the files in the correct place first and you will not have this issue.
Also before editing look through all your footage, name them – for example CU for close up WS for wide show, delete any clips that are no good and you can even categorise them to state which one is the best. It gives you more to work with and quickens the editing process up if you have an idea of what shots you want to use for each part of your video.
4) Editing Tools – Learn To Use Them
Learn to use the main editing tools, these include the trim tool which can help you take a section of a video rather than the whole clip. Use a number of video and audio timelines and remember the video on top is always the one that the viewer will see.
Once you get into video editing you will learn many fun tools that can add to the watching experience but learning the basics first will give you an advantage before taking on the big project itself.
5) Use Headphones
There is nothing worse than watching a video that has terrible sound; therefore it is important to make sure your sound is to the best of its ability. A simple way to do this would be to use headphones so that you can hear the sound clearly. Advanced video editing software will allow you to view the sound levels where as some of the basic software you have to go off your own hearing capability. Make sure the sound is at a consistent level throughout your whole project.
6) Transitions – Visual & Sound
Transitions are a great way to cut between shots and can be as simple as fade in, fade out or cross fades. They make the scene keep moving without allowing the viewer to get confused. If you are using transitions between shots make sure you leave an extra couple of seconds on your clip as you want the viewer to see what you want them to see prior before the footage fades to black.
Sound transitions are used all over television, an example of this will be the opening sequence to the TV sitcom Glee, if you watch the opening sequence before it moves to the first shot after the opening credits you will start to hear the audio before viewing the video. This can be a simple school alarm bell or the start of background noise, or even in some scenes the start of a characters dialogue.
7) Add Title, Graphics & Motion
Every editing program will allow you to add text overlays, titles and graphics. Some also feature built-in motion for example you can have your text appearing letter by letter, flying in, zooming in etc.
Text is a great way to feature on a point they you are trying to come across in you’re video, make sure when you add text you give the viewer time to read it so on completing the video make sure you can read the text clearly and very slowly.
8) Add Music
If your video editing software will allow you more than 1 audio track it then use it and add some music. You should be able to import MP3s and other common audio formats such as .wav files into your video. Remember if you are working on a corporate video it is important that you obtain the rights to use all the songs you require.
There are a number of royal-free music websites out there where you can purchase a piece of music for less than £25.00. One that has a great collection of music on is Premiumbeat.com, there is music for every genre and I am sure you will find something suitable.
9) Video Hosting
To put your video out there it is important to have a hosting platform ready to do so. Sites like, YouTube, Vimeo and Viddler all have great options but if you want a non branded solution you will more than likely have to pay for it.
Hosting your video works well as most providers provide you with analytics so you can monitor how many people have viewed your video. For more information on video providers look at my previous blog – 5 Video Hosting Options for Your Business
Video editing can be great fun but it can take time to master the basics. Like everything new it is worth investing in some time to learn the skill before setting yourself a deadline to complete the project in. Just be careful when deciding to have a go at making a video yourself as this can be quite addictive!
Digital Marketing Manager
The Internet Marketing Academy
(Image courtesy of Digitalart at FreeDigitalPhotos.Net)