In the last couple of months, we have had to adapt and increasingly produce more and more online teaching content. In this blog post, we share the basics of video editing and some tips that will help with producing videos in the future.

Are you quite new to video production terminology? Why not find out a few key terms.

Think about the edit whilst you’re filming​

Having an idea of how the finished video will look will help shape your video from the production stage. Do you need a close up to explain an idea? Do you need some footage to link two sections? How are these shots going to fit together in the edit? Have you got enough angles and shot sizes to tell the story you want to tell?

Whilst you have to make sure you have enough footage to tell the story, it is also important not to overshoot, as you have to watch all this footage back and your time is valuable.

Organising the footage

Once the filming is done, try and label and note down what each of your clips is and roughly how they’re going to be used. You can then make folders within your editing application. This can either organise the footage by date or by types of shots (interviewee’s name, cutaways). The idea is to organise everything so that you know exactly where to find it during the editing stage.

Image of folder organisation within
Adobe Premiere (editing software)

The editing process

  • Assembly – this step involves topping and tailing each answer, getting rid of mistakes/stumbling over words;
  • Rough cut – this part is all about getting the content right. Once you have all the usable footage on the timeline, you can start giving the video a structure and shape the story by having an introduction, middle and conclusion. Editing to music often helps to gauge the pace of the video (i.e. if it drags or if it’s easy to follow and engaging). 
    In this stage, there will be bits of the video with jump cuts and just a black screen. It therefore helps to just “listen” to the audio in the video to make sure that the content makes sense.
  • Fine cut – The next stage is to cover jump cuts with cutaways, make sure it all flows and that the cutaways add to the story, rather than use them to fill the gaps. ​
  • Final cut – The final step is to colour correct the footage and add sound effects if and when appropriate to finish the video.​

In this example, you can see the difference between the rough cut and the fine cut.

Video showing the difference between the rough cut and the fine cut.

Top tips

  1. Less is more – if you have a long interview, don’t be scared to take out big chunks​
  2. Don’t get bogged down in detail early on – try and find a shape for the video, get the content and narrative set first, then start refining. ​
  3. A good video is often informative but still to-the-point​
  4. Listen to your edit. This is important for 2 reasons:
    • It’s sometimes easier to check the narrative and content by just listening to the piece.
    • Clean audio is very important. Any jumps or poorly edited audio cues can be distracting. ​
  5. You don’t have to stick with the original storyboard or idea – the idea you have before filming is great to go into the production stage with a plan, but this can mutate through the different stages and that’s ok. ​
  6. Keep it simple – Try to avoid the use of fancy effects or transitions (I’m looking at you ‘Star Wipe’). You can colour correct the footage if you know how and use dissolves and fades appropriately. There are conventions around different types of transition etc and if used incorrectly can have a detrimental impact on your work.

Free editing software

Android app: FilmoraGo. Powerful, but quite simple editing software for Android. Some in-app purchases, but most of the main editing features are free.​

iOS app: iMovie. A tried and tested app. You can shoot, edit and upload all from the same app. Lots of features, easy to use and free.​

MacOS: iMovie (again). Free software, simple to use, lots of powerful features and many years of community support behind it.​

Windows 7/8: Windows is awash with not brilliant free editing apps. Windows Movie Maker was once the standard, but it has been phased out and replaced with ‘Windows Photo’ (Windows 10 only). Windows Photo is similar to Movie Maker, in that it is quite logical and easy to use but lacks power features. A more advanced alternative is an open-source editor called ‘Shotcut’. It is free, very powerful, but has a bit of a learning curve.

We have put together a YouTube Playlist of already existing videos that give an outline of some of the free editing software out there.

If you have any specific questions about editing or need specific assistance with a project, please get in touch with us.

Video editing tips

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