So, you’re finally ready to learn how to start video editing? Maybe you’ve found a creator that’s inspired you to pick up your camera. Maybe you landed a job somewhere and have to get started like… yesterday.
Whatever the case is, video editing tips are definitely easy to come by and, luckily, we also have plenty to offer.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about how to start video editing.
Tech You’ll Need
Before you start editing, there are a few tools you’ll need:
- Camera (yes, you can use your smartphone)
- SD card
- Hard drive
The other big thing you’ll need is video editing software and a computer. If you’re looking for a new Mac, you can read here to find out which is best for video editing: https://setapp.com/how-to/the-best-mac-for-video-editing
The other thing to note is that none of these have to be the best or most expensive thing you can get your hands on. In fact, it’s best to start out cheap and then upgrade if you find this is something you love to do.
Your memory, however, isn’t something you should cheap out on. Getting a high-speed SD card is going to directly affect your video’s quality and frame rate, so it’s important to get one that says “extreme pro” or something similar. You may also want to splurge on getting one with a lot of memory so you don’t run out.
The same goes for hard drives. The last thing you want is your hard drive to crash in the middle of exporting footage when you need it.
Hard drives are, however, optional. When you first begin video editing, you may find that it’s not something you necessarily need.
Expensive headphones aren’t mandatory either, but they’re definitely helpful. You shouldn’t feel pressured to go out and get an expensive set of headphones (unless you want to), though. That old pair of earbuds you use all the time will be just fine for starting out.
Now it’s time to get down to business.
Create a Workflow
Once you have all the necessary tools, your next step is creating a workflow. This is going to be completely custom to you, though professionals like Peter Mckinnon, Casey Neistat, and countless others on YouTube have shared their expertise.
Do some research before you dive in, and then pick apart their workflows to create your own. You’ll also find that, once you’ve gone through the process a few times, you’ll begin developing your own editing style.
While doing more research is going to be crucial for you, here are a few basic steps to get you started:
1. Prep a Bit
You don’t have to take this step, but having a rough idea of the shots you’d like to get while filming can help a lot, especially when it comes to the story you’re trying to tell. To prep, you can go all out with a full storyboard or keep things simple with a few notes and the order you’d like to film your shots in.
Also, don’t be afraid to shoot things more than once so you have options to choose from.
Once you’ve filmed, it’s time to come back and get everything pulled together. Watch your clips, delete takes you don’t like or want, and then rename the ones you’re going to use.
When you’re renaming files, it’s good to come up with your own system. You can keep things simple with names like “Scene 1” and “Scene 2,” or you can get creative and come up with titles based on how the story progresses.
If there’s a clip you have to include, like for sponsored content, it may even be smart to create a keyword for those clips when you’re renaming everything.
2. Create a Rough Cut
Once you have all your content pulled together, it’s time to create your rough cut.
What this basically entails is laying all your clips out (in order) on the timeline in your editing software and then chopping everything up to resemble the final result. Remember, though, your first draft doesn’t need to be perfect. In fact, it shouldn’t be!
The aim of the rough cut is to get everything that’s in your brain out into your video. Once you’ve done this, then you can go back in and fine-tune your edits.
3. Keep Things Simple
When you’re finally ready to go back and create the final version of your video, it’s best to keep things simple in the beginning. The main focus for your first few videos should be creating a flow that works for you and fine-tuning that.
Once your flow becomes second nature, then hone in on getting your shots and edits the way you want them.
Things will change as you progress, though, so if you want to change parts of your workflow then you should!
4. Remain Realistic
If you’ve already spent years watching filmmakers on YouTube (again, like Casey Neistat or Peter Mckinnon), you might find yourself trying to create content like theirs.
While it’s not impossible for you to create shots similar to theirs, it is completely impractical to think you’re going to nail those transitions and perfect your time-lapses the first time around. If you aim for this the entire time, it’s going to become less fun and may even lead to burnout.
Keep things simple and have fun. The less you think about perfecting your projects the better. Your videos are undoubtedly going to be good, but absolute perfection is unattainable — especially when filmmaking itself is so subjective (not everyone is going to love your work and that’s OK).
How to Start Video Editing
The biggest thing to know when you’re learning how to start video editing is to just go for it. As we said, you might not get the same shots as someone whose been filmmaking for 10 to 15 years, but you’re going to get there in no time if you keep practicing.
Keep it simple and you’re going to accomplish more than you thought you even could.
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