Top tips for video editing
Once you have shot your video you may need to remove content that you don’t need and re-arrange the video into an effective narrative. This short guide provides key advice on editing your digital video.
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1. You will need a software application to edit your video. There are many different applications available, including iPhone apps, online editing platforms, prosumer software and expensive packages used to edit broadcast and theatrical productions. Before you buy, have a look at your workstation - you may already have suitable software installed, e.g. Movie Maker with Windows or iMovie on a Mac. If not, see our short list of popular editing software.
2. The main differences between editing applications are:
- The variety of formats managed “natively” (i.e. without having to re-encode to different formats)
- The number of channels of audio and video they can work with
- The availability and sophistication of editing options
- The variety and sophistication of export file types they offer
3. When deciding what software you need be sure to read the specifications before you buy. If you are working with full frame high quality video your workstation will need at least 2GB memory, a dual processor, and two separate, fast (more than 7200rpm) hard drives (one for the application and one for your media). You will also need headphones or external speakers to accurately monitor sound. (See our Microphone Guide for further information.)
4. Look after your content – ensure that you backup the video you have shot to your workstation's media drive. This will free up your SD or Compact Flash cards for re-use.
5. Review your content and then put your video in a rough logical order on the timeline.
6. When you start editing your first concern should be to get the narrative flow right – pay attention to how it sounds rather than how it looks.
7. Editing primarily involves removing the ‘bad’ (e.g. inappropriate hesitations, mistakes, repetitions, and non-relevant parts) and arranging the ‘good’ (e.g. reorganising to improve coherence and to give a clear shape to your narrative).
8. With every edit think of your audience and pace content to aid understanding. You may have seen the content many times before and understand it very well – but your audience may only see and hear it once.
9. When you are satisfied with your first edit, duplicate the timeline before starting to make further changes. This will ensure that you can return to your first edit should later changes not work as you hope.
10. Once the content of your video is finalised and before encoding for distribution you will need to:
- ‘Normalise’ the audio (i.e. set to a standard level)
- Ensure that spelling and titles are correct
- Colour correct any images that need adjusting, if possible and
- Backup your project and media files.