How to Edit Videos: Best Tips for Beginners

If you’re a professional video editor or a non-technical person looking to create content for your business, learning to edit videos can be a really handy skill regardless. Be it YouTube videos, short films, or even documentaries, and you can use this skill to put out content that engages with your audience along with educating & entertaining them. 

How to Edit Videos: Best Tips for Beginners

Video editors are among the last people to go through a film before its release & hence contribute a lot to the final product that’s released for audiences. They are as vital as the director in deciding the rhythm & tempo a film maintains throughout its runtime. 

With so much in its favour, it only makes sense to know about the various tips & tricks that will help you make editing seamless & more productive.  

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Rather than teaching editing from scratch, these tips will help cut down the time taken to edit a video in half, enabling the video editor to make their videos quickly. So let’s get started. 

How to Edit Videos: Best Tips for Beginners

Be realistic

Before creating content as a video editor, you need to set realistic expectations and decide which tools you’re going to use alongside the end goal with the videos. 

Video editors shooting in 4K get high-quality footage. Still, it comes at the expense of frame rate & the resolution putting a massive load on the editing hardware, making it extremely frustrating at times. It's vital to see what best can be done with your current system & plan accordingly. 

Organise everything

One of the best tips to follow as a video editor is to organize the footage & data you need into a single place. If you’re editing videos made of multiple, smaller clips, digging through each file in different folders can be a really painful process.

Labelling the files (images, audios & additional footage) properly and then putting it all together in a folder can help you find them easily when needed most. 

Follow the 321 rule

Not saving your work and maintaining proper backups is a pain all video editors have faced at some point in their life. If there’s something worse than the apocalypse, it's probably losing out on your work after spending hours on it.

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Experts swear by the 321 rule – maintaining 3 copies of your footage across 2 different places, at least 1 of which is off-site. Having 2 physical drives & regular backing up of data to cloud services like Google Drive or Dropbox is highly recommended. 

Experiment relentlessly

The biggest blessing for video editors in the 21st century is that with all the technology at their disposal, they can experiment to their heart’s content without worrying about the footage getting messed up. You can add quirky transitions, trim & tighten clips however you feel like & that’s why being creative helps a lot.

A great video editor experiments relentlessly with everything before narrowing down on the final product. There’s a reason they’re paid well, as it's all about experimentation. 

Edit for a story

Storytelling is a handy skill for any video editor. Considering that it's a communicative medium, films or videos must tell a story or evoke certain emotions to connect with the audience. Apart from all the transitions & cuts, make sure your videos are dramatic & aesthetically appealing for the viewers.

Using the right video maker to your advantage by combining your technical & creative acumen is the recipe to success for a video editor looking to get paid for doing things they love. Storyboarding your ideas & painting a visual picture of how you want the final product to be can help ease your work a lot more than editing without a plan or storyboard in place. 

Keep it simple, silly!

While transitions & VFX are fun, you need to also think about your viewers before creating a video. Good video editors focus more on putting their message/story across in the simplest & easy-to-understand manner. Knowing where to experiment & draw the line is extremely crucial.

That said, don’t let it stop you from being creative but save the dreamy stuff for where it's required. Make every visual/text clean and easy on the eye for best results. 

Using B-roll

B-roll footage can be essential, irrespective of whatever you’re trying to create. You must’ve noticed the moments in on-camera interviews where the camera shifts from the interviewee to the interviewer, with the latter nodding thoughtfully. This is done from afar & used to remove any stutters or gaps in speech without any noticeable jump in the footage.

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Video editors should use the B-roll footage wisely without overdoing it, as it helps turn any momentarily poor shot into something useful. 

Maintain an efficient workflow

Be it a video editor or a coder, having an efficient workflow makes their work simpler & more productive. Be systematic & organize all your projects and folders to use them again and again, whenever the need arises.

Create homes for the audios, images, video clips & graphics, where you collate all the material to be used in creating your video or film quickly. You can even get your data on external hard drives so that the computer memory stays intact. A hard drive with USB 3.0 or ThunderBolt connectivity enables easy file transfers as well. 

Learn to use keyboard shortcuts

You must’ve come across pro video editors using Avid keyboards & even well-worn Macbook keyboards covered in pastel colours. Such devices only exist because keyboard shortcuts are incredibly crucial to the process of editing.  If you’re just using the mouse and fumbling around, it wastes a lot of time. 

Learning basic controls & keyboard shortcuts can help make life much easier. You can even purchase equipment like gaming keyboards & editing-specific mice available in the market by doing a quick Google search. 

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These are some of the top tips & hacks that can help video editors learn how to edit videos as a beginner with ease & create awesome content. We hope that the article was helpful for you. 


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