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Video Editing Tips: A Video Production Guide

Video production is one of the most effective tools for business or product marketing, sales, entertainment and event archiving. Anyone can benefit from video production. How much they benefit, however, depends on the quality of the video. Whether they are producing a commercials, live production, or music videos, quality boils down to content and video editing.

Without quality editing, writing, storyboarding, directing and filming is rendered useless. The video production turns into something that must be shelved or re-edited.

The result of just-good-enough editing is a video that will be under-appreciated, ignored, or lampooned. Such videos lead to wasted time, but can also waste money and undermine a company’s reputation. For the aspiring video producer, a few important tips can mean the difference between failure and success.

What Does It Mean to Edit Videos?

To successfully edit video and to successfully achieve the production goal, many techniques exist to assist the aspiring video producer. Following are a collection of those tips to help any novice video producer edit their footage and achieve the overall production goal.

These tips include best practices, but they also include a list of industries that offer career opportunities, the necessary technology to succeed as an editor, and a brief note on one of the newest, most exciting video-editing industries.

Tip #1 – The Industries

Every industry can benefit from video, so every industry that uses video will require video editing. However, for the aspiring video editor, the traditional companies that hire film editors or freelancers include the following seven industries:

  • Wedding Services
  • Real Estate
  • Music Marketing
  • Documentary and Convention Filming
  • Motion Picture and Film
  • Radio and Television Broadcasting
  • Business Marketing
  • Travel Industry
  • Virtual Reality

Traditional companies, however, are not the only places that hire video editors or provide job opportunities. Online freelancing venues and career opportunities also exist:

  • Social Media Marketing Companies
  • Industry Staffing Companies
  • Online Freelance Companies
  • Viral Video Production Services
  • Travel Industry
  • Tutorial Production Companies
  • Online Education Companies
  • Virtual Reality

Tip #2 – Video Editing Software

The primary type of software a video editor should use is called non-linear editing (NLE) software. NLE software allows the user to access any frame of footage and move it somewhere else.

When it comes to NLE software, regardless of where an image or sequence appears in a recording, the software makes it accessible to the video editor. The video editor can further slice it into usable segments and place those segments into any spot within the video production. A recording is shot linearly. However, the linear footage can be arranged, in non-linear fashion, to tell a visual story. In doing so, editing becomes a creative, artistic, powerful storytelling tool because the same pieces of footage can be used to tell any number of stories. How the video production is edited determines how the character’s stories and the events unfold. What story is told remains the goal. How the story is told is usually a team effort in which the video editor plays a key role.

Tip #3 – Keep Files and Work Spaces Organized

Although work space is something seemingly of lesser importance, it can save several minutes per hour, adding extra hours of video production capability across the duration of a week. Over the course of a month, keeping files named properly, stored according to date and version, and backed up can save time searching for the right footage. It can also turn a lost disk or a power outage into a minor annoyance rather than a production-halting nightmare.

Additionally, keep the NLE software editor space organized. You may organize according to video footage, sound files, sound effect files and template files. It is helpful to use a standard naming convention that other video editors can use.

Tip #4 – Use Common Transitions

How one scene shifts to another is called a transition. In amateur home video, the transition is apparent, often consisting of swirls or wild fade-ins or video clips swooping in from one edge until they fill the screen. These types of transitions might be fine for home video, but these types of transitions might also work well in certain types of comic superhero films. This means implicitly that even these glaring types of transitions have their place in some serious film productions.

The best transition is rarely the swooping scene, but it can be. It depends on the video production needs. Effective video editors become educated about the transition that best underscores the film, knowing when to utilize a white fade-in versus a black fade-out versus a jump cut.

Regarding live productions, the transition from one musician to another is best done visually. It can be done in such a way that the movements or the instrument or musicians’ movements segue smoothly. Components that impact transitions include lighting and sound. The transition could be a dissolve that merges flashing lights with light reflections from the drum cymbals. Regardless of the technique, every video editor will always need to consider how to transition.

Tip #5 – Match Cuts

The important tip for transitions is that, usually, one scene should switch smoothly into the next. It is accomplished by the smooth splicing of frame footage so that the images do not jar the viewer. Transitions between similar images help create continuity. These types of transitions are called match cuts because they match action with action.

Tip #6 – Action Cuts

Transitions that that cut on action create continuity and fluidity, helping the end product to resonate more with the audience. The impact of cutting during action has a polished, fluid effect that connects emotionally with viewers. Cutting repeatedly on non-action can result in a clumsy production that can look and feel modular.

Tip #7 – Overlapping Sound

Transitions synchronized with a sound that unites two scenes also accomplish continuity, helping the video editor achieve the director’s vision and keep the story moving.

Tip #8 – Filters, Flares, and Other Effects

As with transitions, effective video editors know to not overuse such effects as filters and flares. A bluish-gray hue shift might work for a science-fiction film. A flare, though not useful in every scene, might make a star rising over a planet really pop. Every tool exists for a reason. Knowing the place for each and using them in moderation is where video editors can achieve more with less.

Tip #9 – Story

Although some think story is created and told only during production, they are be wrong. Video editing creates the story. Video editors make sense of all the footage, emphasizing some points, while de-emphasizing others.

If there is one tip to make here, it is that each video editor should learn the elements of story, character development, rising action, resolution, and resonance. Every production will tell some sort of story, and how the video editor edits the footage determines the story’s impact.

For any live production, the story will evolve around the primary characters. For a wedding, the visual “story” will revolve around the bride and groom. The guests will be the minor characters. However, a video editor can also use the environment to help tell the story.

For commercials, the product or service will be the focal point, and the story involves how the product or service solves the audience’s problem. In many commercials, the product becomes the hero, perhaps showing up in the nick of time to save the day. In this case, snappy transitions and solid music synchronization can emphasize this type of character.

For music videos, lighting and synchronization play a key as the elements of the video must align with the beat. Additionally, songs typically tell an explicit story, and how the video editor emphasizes that story through various cuts can help create drama This results in a memorable or viral video.

Tip #10 – Resolution

1920 x 1080 is high resolution, but 4K is the the new standard for high-quality video. In some instances, 8K video is in use. That said, resolution for online video can also be cut to 1280 x 720.

The important tip to remember is that it is best to render the footage in what will be the final resolution. When online services such as YouTube compress high-resolution video to lower resolution video, the result can often become pixelated. Pixelation can be frustrating, especially in commercials that require the product to be in clear focus. Although online compression will always result in some video data loss, using the appropriate resolution from the outset will help produce a sharper video.

Tip #11 – Video Editing and the Internet

The internet is the biggest medium for video, but it was not always this way. As such, rendering for the Internet requires the video editor adhere to some basic rendering best practices.

  • 30 frames per second
  • Site-determined resolution
  • Codec – H.264
  • Bit rate – 8mbs to 45mbs

Tip #12 – VR: A Budding Industry

Traditional 2D video editing comprises the bulk of video-editing projects. Editors who bolster their skills by mastering 360-degree video editing programs can better compete for additional projects and higher-paying jobs. As this industry grows, their work will also have more reach.

Additionally, the editing process for Virtual Realty (VR) is pretty awesome. Editing and synchronizing 2D footage with sound is fun, engaging work. However, editing 360-degree or 3D footage, synchronizing it, and testing it in virtual reality is an unreal experience. The video editor immerses themselves an entirely new type of video experience. This type of immersion transforms what is already fun career into a fantastic one.

Interested in learning more about video editing and digital video production? IPR’s digital video and media production associate and bachelor’s degree programs can lead to a variety of entry points in the video and film production industry. We help you build a strong visual portfolio for your career search through time in our studios.

Using the latest industry-standard tools, our digital video production school immerses you in your video and film production artistry, both in theory and application, emphasizing corporate and commercial production, as well as short and feature narrative filmmaking. We equip you with a toolbox that includes all aspects of film and video production skill.

Contact us today to learn more about the digital video and media production associate and bachelor’s degree. Starting a rewarding career as a video editor is closer than you may think!