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How To Edit Video For Beginners

In this insightful video tutorial, you'll learn the basics of video editing as we show you just how simple it can be.

Note: the instructor uses Adobe Premiere Pro in this demonstration, but you can follow the same basic process and tips whether you’re using Final Cut Pro or any other video editing software.

1. Prepare Your Video Clips Ready for Editing

Whether you store your video clips on your computer’s hard drive or on an external hard drive, the first thing to do is locate all of your .MP4 or .MOV video files and import them into your video editing software. This can be done simply by selecting, dragging and dropping the files directly from their location.

2. Understand Your Video File Formats

Shooting your videos in C-LOG will give you a flat picture profile that's perfect for colour grading in post-production. C-LOG video footage is comparable in a way to .RAW photos in the sense that it allows you greater creative control at the editing stage.

If you’d prefer to spend less time editing your footage, you may prefer to shoot your videos using a different Picture Style, such as Landscape, Portrait or Monochrome, as these require less adjustment in post-production.

For enhanced quality, and the option to crop in on certain parts of your video clips, it’s a good idea to shoot your videos in 4K. This means that the horizontal resolution of your clips will be roughly 4,000 megapixels wide, which will give you greater creative control. Remember, however, that 4K video files take up a lot more storage space.

3. Sequence and Trim Your Video Clips

Once you have imported your video clips you can start dragging and dropping them onto your timeline in the order you want them to play back. This is a creative process and your sequencing should be tailored in a way that tells your story best.

Using the ‘Cut’ tool, you can shorten each clip, whether from the beginning or end, to make sure you keep the bits you want and discard the bits you don’t.

4. Edit the Look and Feel of Your Video Clips

When you first import your video files you may find that they look a little flat – especially if you have shot in C-LOG. This is where your effects and basic correction settings come in. By adjusting simple settings such as exposure, white balance, temperature, saturation and contrast, you can bring your video to life and get the look and feel you want to tell your story.

Try not to overwork your exposure settings, as it can lead to blown out highlights or muddy-looking underexposed clips.

Tip: It’s much more difficult to adjust exposure in video than in photography. For this reason, it's best to get your exposure right in-camera when shooting each video clip.

You may also want to adjust your sharpness setting if you have shot your video in C-LOG. But be careful, similarly to your exposure, contrast and colour settings, if you over-sharpen your footage, it can look unnatural.

5. Copy and Paste Your Video Settings

Once you have colour corrected your first video clip you can copy and paste the same settings to your other clips. This will speed up the editing process and also help achieve a more uniformed look throughout your final video.

Keep in mind however that you may still need to make a few small tweaks to some clips, as your exposure may vary from clip to clip.

6. Add Dynamic Transitions to Make Your Video Flow

Transitions change the look and feel of your entire video by adding a style to the way each clip flows into the next.

Whether you choose a cross dissolve transition, where one clip dissolves into the next, or a ‘wipe’ transition, which gradually reveals the following clip, the goal is to enhance the overall flow of your video.

7. Export Your Video at the Highest Quality

Once you're happy with the sequencing and colour correction, you can start preparing it for export. You can do this by going to ‘File’, ‘Export’ and then ‘Media’.

A menu will present you with a selection of different export quality options. These are designed to optimise your video for specific platforms, such as Facebook, Youtube, Vimeo and Twitter. Generally speaking you will want to export your video at either 1080p HD (high definition) or 4K.

Once you've selected your export quality setting you can name your video and save it to your preferred location. To save space on your computer’s hard drive, you may prefer to export it to an external hard drive.

Tip: Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter automatically compress your video when you upload it. For this reason it’s important to upload at the highest quality setting. You can do this quickly by going to your video Bit-rate Encoding settings and changing it from the standard ‘VBR, 1 pass’ to ‘VBR, 2 pass’. You can also select ‘Use Maximum Render Quality’ to ensure smooth rendering, and 'Use Previews' to give yourself the option of selecting a single scene from your video to use as a thumbnail later on.

Then simply hit ‘Export’ and your video will be saved to your selected destination, ready to be uploaded to the platform of your choice.

Learn more about videography with this tutorial series.