So, you've got a video to edit, but you're unsure where to begin. You've come to the right place. Below you'll find our best video editing tips for beginners.
In this blog, you can expect the following:
- An introduction to video editing.
- A discussion on video editing software, the fundamentals of video editing, and as the title suggests, five of our most useful video editing tips, tricks, and best practices for beginners.
Before we dive into the 5 best tips, tricks, and practices, we must establish general expectations. Learning to edit high-quality videos can be a long, frustrating, and even disheartening endeavor.
There are a plethora of options for video editors, an overwhelming amount of information on the web, and a seemingly steep learning curve.
We’re here to streamline your learning, set you up with time-saving tools and habits, with the ultimate goal being to flatten that learning curve, and un-overwhelm you.
Now, without further ado, let’s dive into those video editing tips!
5 Best Video Editing Tips & Tricks for Beginners
1. Make Good Habits Early
Establishing good habits early on will save you a TON of time down the line.
Here are 3 tangible habits I’ve picked up throughout my video editing journey that will save you time and reduce headaches:
- Obey the 321 rule.
- Keep 3 copies of everything you create, in at least 2 locations, 1 of those places being physically separate from the other.
- Maintain an efficient workflow.
- Create permanent homes (folders) for your projects, footage, audio files, images, and graphics so that you can use them over and over again.
- Utilize keyboard shortcuts.
- Most video editing programs allow you to use keyboard shortcuts to perform a range of in-app editing functions. Experiment with different sets of shortcuts until you find a formula that works for you.
2. Learn Relevant Video Editing Terms
Learning the jargon of video editing as soon as possible will take away some of the overwhelming feelings associated with learning to edit videos.
Here are a few notable terms:
- Jump Cuts – Cutting out portions of the video to skip boring or predictable moments and to preserve visual interest.
- J Cut – Audio precedes the video.
- L Cut – Video precedes the audio.
- Montage – Sequence of clips showing the passage of time, usually for a transformation or character development.
- Cutting on Action – Cutting when the subject is moving instead of after each movement to create a more interesting and fluid scene.
- Match Cut/Match Action – Cutting together two visually similar shots or scenes.
- Cutaways – Adding transition pieces that don’t include the main subject or action to show the surrounding environment and set the mood, add meaning to the scene, or aid dramatic tension.
3. Identify Which Software Fits Your Unique Video Editing Needs
This one is all about preference.
There is a multitude of excellent video editing tools out there, and I would recommend choosing whichever software you have any amount of experience with, have watched a tutorial video about, or have heard good things about from family/friends/the internet.
Here’s a list of the most popular video editing tools:
- Adobe Premiere Pro.
- Avid Media Composer.
- Final Cut Pro X.
- Corel VideoStudio Pro.
- Adobe After Effects.
- EaseUS Video Editor.
- Movavi Video Editor.
- MiniTool MovieMaker.
- Pinnacle Studio.
Once more, this is a preference. I cannot say with absolute certainty that this is the best possible formula, but I’ve had a lot of success pairing Premiere Pro with After Effects. It has provided me all the tools needed to produce professional-level video projects.
→ It’s also worth noting that many professional editors working in the film and television industry use Avid Media Composer (usually just referred to as “Avid”) on their projects.
4. Visualize Your Finished Video, Then Write It Down
I cannot stress this tip enough. Sometimes when you’re in the nitty-gritty of editing a video, you lose sight of how you wanted the video to look in the first place.
My Solution: Before I begin editing a project, I write down exactly how I want the video to look with very specific language.
→ Pro Tip: Using specific language when writing your video’s big picture goal is crucial. Using vague language leaves room for you to get side-tracked during the editing process, and alter your creative course.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s room for improvisation within video editing. If you decide to change directions mid-edit, that’s perfectly fine.
- Write down your new visualization.
- Compare it with your previous idea.
- Identify which project you’d prefer.
- Continue editing accordingly.
The overall point I wish to emphasize is the value of going into an editing session with a plan. It has saved me copious amounts of time, reduced stress, and has resultingly improved my final product, as well.
5. Don’t Ignore Your Audio
This might be the most overlooked of our top video editing tips for beginners. Although the visuals are likely the focal point of your project, having high-quality audio can propel your project from good, to great.
Luckily, if you’re wondering how/where editors get their high-quality audio files for their video projects, we’ve got you covered. We’re offering 100% free sound effects (no credit card required, ever) that can be applied to any and all your video projects.
→ Just download SoundQ here and select the Free plan.
Here's what you get:
- Freesound.org Integration: Unlimited in-app cloud access.
- Search, audition, and drop directly to any project.
- Organize up to 5,000 local files.
- Get 5 free downloads from the PSE Cloud Library of over 800,000 sounds.
- Free forever. No credit card required.
- Learning to edit video can be a long, arduous process; and I hope these tips have flattened your learning curve.
- It’s crucial as an editor that you establish processes that save you time, reduce stress, and allow you to be as creative and productive as possible.
- For more information on video editing, consider signing up for our newsletter below. We publish articles frequently covering all things audio and video editing.