5 Tips for Editing Video


Editing video is both an art and a science. It takes creativity as well as technical knowledge to create a great piece of video. The good news, however, is that learning the art and science of editing video is easy. Websites like lynda.com teach the basics of using video editing software like Adobe Premiere, and trial and error is your best friend when it comes to applying your new skills. I recently completed a video montage for my college media production course and while I'm no expert, here are my 5 tips for editing video.

1. Rough Edits
After loading all of your footage into Adobe Premiere (or another video editing software program), watch all your footage and move only the best clips onto the timeline. Then do a “rough edit" of the best footage. Name each clip something that makes sense so that later when you are moving clips around to make the video, you can easily find the clip you want. 

2. Don’t Cut too Much
Shots should last longer than 1 second, unless the music and style of the video fits with very short cuts. Shots shorter than 1 second often don't give the viewer enough time to interpret them. If there is a lot of movement in a clip, it can last up to 10 seconds. Try varying up shot lengths to keep it interesting.

3. Music
The right music can make any piece of video 10 times better. The key is choosing music that suits the tone and style of the video. Don't be afraid to sample a few different tracks as it may take a few tries before you find the right music. If you choose a piece of music with lyrics, you may want to raise the volume of the music during certain parts of the video where the lyrics really speak to what is happening in a particular shot. If the piece of music you select is not long enough for your video, you can make the piece longer by editing the music so it loops.

4. Transitions
While it's fun to play around with different transitions during the editing process, too many different transitions in a video can look cheesy and is a rookie mistake. I prefer straight cuts over flashy transitions, but crossfades, fade-to-black, and fade-to-white transitions can also look professional if used once in a while.

5. Keyboard Shortcuts
This is something I am still getting used to, but keyboard shortcuts can save a lot of time. Shortcuts for play, pause, stop, copy, paste, and cut can save you up to 3 seconds each time. Although, 3 seconds may not sounds like a lot of time, when you are spending 40 hours editing a piece of video, it really starts to add up! 


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