10 quick tips on video editing

I edit lot of video for different purposes such as vlogs, montages, music and other filming projects. While creating these different forms of video, I have learned a lot of tricks that have helped me not only create higher quality content, but also become more efficient when editing. Here are my top 10 quick tips on video editing for both novice and seasoned editors.

1) Media bins are important. Don't just grab everything and throw it into the editor. Take time to organise the footage and rename files and folders to make more sense of the edit. If you have a lot of titles to add, create a folder named "titles" and throw all of your title clips into that one folder. If you editing suite doesn't support the feature, make separate directories on your hard drive to sort your media.

2) Cut your clips before you add them to the timeline. This was a habit of mine for a number of years. I was forever adding a huge file to my timeline and cutting the footage there. Most NLE's allow you to monitor footage and mark in and out points in a seperate window before adding it to the timeline. Doing this keeps your edit clean and can speed up your editing.

3) Checkerboard editing. In Adobe Premiere, I link all my video clips using a fade on the audio to make one clip flow gently into the next. But many editors don't have this feature readily available. Instead, you can checkerboard your edit so that the first clip on the top track overlaps the clip on the track below it. This allows for a smoother transition between clips and reduces the click or pop sound you typically get when you cut your footage together.

4) Better with or without? Effects are used to create a certain style to a video but can often become un-noticable. Colour correction is a key example of this problem as you watch the same footage over and over with the same grade. The more you watch it, the more your eyes become accustomed. To avoid this, turn the effect off every once in a while to see what the effect is really doing to the original source. You may want to watch it on a different display to see how dramatic the change is.

5) Group work. When you have a selection of material that works perfectly together, group it. Most advanced video have the ability to bind clips together on the timeline so that you can move them all together at any time. I did this all the time when working on a documentary to keep clips that made sense to stay together when I moved them to a more suitable position.

6) What do you think? Ask other people's opinion on your edit and what they would change - if they would change anything at all. Sometimes, you think it's perfect but other's might disagree. It's always good to get a second opinion on a film during the edit to see what works and doesn't.

7) Timecode has a purpose. When editing large files, take note of the timecode for each clip. Note the file name as well as the in and out points of every shot you want to use. That way, if you lose any changes, you can quickly go back and retrieve the clips you wanted.

8) Save it constantly. I have a big habit. Whenever I review a change when editing, I have my fingers poised over CTRL+S ready to save the file. Save as often as possible. Ideally, every 5 to 10 minutes should be enough. But if you are me, saving every few seconds or so with a single keystroke is just as good.

9) Cut it down more. While this doesn't work for narrative film, corporate videos and documentaries can always be cut down to say the same with even less. Filler is a huge problem with editing as you tend to waste more time by putting useless footage into a video that isn't video. I find adding a voice over can sometimes compress the time and make the film seem shorter and more entertaining.

10) Render out, not in. While rendering within the editing software can be good to review your footage, you aren't getting a true representation of the final film. Whenever possible, render the file out to a high quality video format and review it back in the way it would be viewed. While it does take more time, you will get a better viewing experience than if you were to simply watch the video over and over in the editing program.

Those are my top 10 quick tips on video editing. While I have a few more tips, they are best left for much longer blogs where I have the time to discuss technical detail more than just a brief summary.

TheGuyInTheFunnyHat by James Stevenson
All content including graphics and media are created by James Stevenson