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Video 101 Editing Basics

The editing phase — or post-production phase — can take the most time, but allows for total creativity. There’s no one way to edit videos, but your decisions in the editing suite are crucial, and there are a ton of choices to make, which can ultimately make or break your video. The best way to get better at editing and/or animation, is to practice, practice, practice! Here’s a quick guide on editing basics.

  1. Organize footage. Keeping your video clips organized by creating folders for your project. Make subfolders for your raw clips depending on their type, or where they belong in your edit to save time.

  2. Make a plan. Have an idea about what your project will look and sound like. Create an outline of your vision, or storyboard how you want it to look. Keep narration easy to understand and concise. Have the Voice Over Artist practice the script in advance.

  3. Choose clips wisely. Trim clips to include only the parts you need or the action. Rule of thumb: “If it’s not working in the edit, feel free to drop it.”

  4. Establishing shots. Viewers like to feel situated and understand the location where everything is happening, so show an establishing shot(s).

  5. Transitions—or none at all. Our eye sees in cuts so transitions are not always necessary. To cut from one clip to the next, just stick them together. If your video includes more than one scene, you might want to add graphic transitions between them, but if your piece warrants a transition, go for it!

  6. Pacing. Try to maintain a level of continuity within your scenes to create a flow for your piece. For example, fast pacing is great for action scenes, which suggest intensity; others, like interviews or dialogue scenes, feel slower, more relaxed, and thoughtful and should use a slow pacing. Fast-paced scenes are usually made up of shorter clips, while slow-paced scenes use much longer takes, sometimes only a single continuous clip.

  7. Color Correction. Choose a color scheme that fits the feel of your video. If you need to use color correction tools, do so to give your footage a natural look.

  8. Sound. A high-quality video includes high-quality audio. Your viewer wants to not only see but hear what's happening.

  9. Music. Decide to use/not use music. The goal is for the soundtrack to enhance your story. Music helps create a mood for the viewer.

  10. Export your video. Once you’re happy with your edit, export your video. Be sure the platform you’re uploading to supports your export format.


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