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Video Editing Tips

Video editing brings us some of the most powerful moments in history up close. Without editing, our raw shots wouldn’t have much feeling to them. We rely on editing to make sure that our speakers appear human, our animals seem wild, and our oceans look full of fish.

Combined with great original shots and the right lighting, video editing makes some of our most important moments approachable and understandable. There are a few tips and tricks for doing this. It’s not totally intuitive!

The internet doesn’t have official editing styles yet, because it’s still young. Here are the basics to get you started as you develop your own style.

Edit Out Filler Words

Start by cleaning up the video, ridding it of filler words like “um.” Speakers do their best to limit filler words, but there always seem to be a few left! Once you’ve got these words taken out of as many scenes as possible, run through the full footage a couple more times. If you can, take out a script and highlight the most important sections.

There are filler words, but then there are also longer sections of text that don’t pack as much punch as others. Keep a highlighter handy and prioritize your shots. You’ll want to focus on the most meaningful words later.

Cut on Words

When you’re ready to start editing in earnest, start by creating scenes. Cutting on words allows you to give some emphasis to what is being said. It’s good practice for the web because of how time-crunched readers are on the internet.

Don’t add seconds or minutes of clapping or theme music for this type of video. Leave that for film.

If you’ve got to edit out parts of a production, it might be a good idea to have a writer or speech editor look over the parts you are working on. Make sure you’ve left enough information for everything to make sense once you’ve done your cutting work.

Expose Body Language

Carefully zoom in on appropriate parts of the speeches that show body language. Framing is an art, but most people like to give a solid border of an arm’s width or so around the edge of a person at a minimum.

Get several pairs of eyes on your subject and the footage you are editing to make sure that the scene doesn’t feel cramped or dizzying as you zoom in.

Body language is important, so include as much as you can. But place special emphasis on body language for the most important parts of speeches.

Focus on Close-Ups and Medium Shots

For the web, it’s not recommended to use as many wide-angle shots as you do close-up and medium shots. Remember that many, many people will be viewing your footage on phones or small tablets.

It’s good practice to make the scene pop off a small screen where possible. If you do a full panoramic, chances are that your audience may not really be able to see much of it given the screen size.

Choose Camera Angles Wisely

When in doubt, you should let your work sit a bit and come back to it with another pair of eyes. We can become so sensitive to what we’re working on that we miss important concepts. Let ideas roll around in your head a bit before you commit to a scene or cut if you’re unsure.

Choosing camera angles wisely means showing the best emotions possible. Remember to capture the character of the people you are showing and the range of colors in the room. Try to keep design principles in mind when you are filming.

These basics will get you started in video editing with feeling and purpose. If the trends on the internet are any indication, there will be lots more to edit in the future! To make your videos stand out, you should remember the human element at all times.


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