How to Edit Videos: A Beginners Guide


Learning video editing can be enjoyable. There are several reasons why you may want to learn video editing, ranging from a desire to have fun making home movies to wanting to upload videos for YouTube to video editing for work.

How Does Editing Affect the Quality of the End Product?

Video editing can change the feel of the end product. Blockbuster movies, like Star Wars, would not have been the blockbusters they ended up being if not for the work of the editors. Conversely, movies with blockbuster potential, like Justice League, were apparently ruined by poor editing.

As an editor, your responsibility is to find the right tempo and rhythm for the video. Much of it is artistic, but there are several rules that must be followed. There are also tips and tricks that can get you started producing a fantastic video.

Follow the 321 Rule

Regardless of what you are editing for, follow the 321 rule. You have likely felt the pain of forgetting to save a project you were working on after dedicating hours to it. You understand that it is important to save your work so you can go back and fix errors. But what will you do if your hard drive crashes and all of your raw footage is lost? This is an editor’s nightmare.

The 321 rule states that you should have three copies, two in different places, and one off-site. If your raw footage is on two physical drives and then on a backup, you will be covered.

Set the Pace through Editing

The length of clips you choose and the variety of shots will affect the feel of your video. You will decide how to shoot and then edit videos based on what you are looking to convey. What is the feeling you want to invoke in your audience?

Maybe you have an action scene. Speed up your shot using a video speed changer. Some software comes with tools to adjust the speed of your shot. It may be beneficial in some cases to use third-party tools or websites designed for this purpose.

As you go through the editing process, experiment with changing the length of shots. It might surprise you how adding or subtracting a second or two can completely change how your shot feels.

A video that has several long and slow shots might encourage the audience to take a more introspective approach to what they are seeing. Conversely, a video that is vibrant, exciting, and full of quick cuts could energize your viewers.

The music and sound effects that accompany the video are going to play a huge role in helping you set the pace. Framing, music, and other elements are key to the timing of your story.

Simplicity Is King

Even the most basic video editing program comes with several transitions and wipes. You need to think about your viewer and the film you want to present. When jumping between clips, you don’t need to use a transition. A simple cut is often enough.

This does not mean that you should not experiment with the different features your software offers. Experimentation with different editing tools is key to learning. But if you are going to use additional effects, pick when they are going to have the greatest impact. You might use a wipe to show that time has passed. You might fade to black to give finality to a scene. Whatever you do, you want the end product to look clean and to be easy on the eyes of your viewers.

Learn the Shortcuts

When you look at the keyboards of video editors, you will notice that they are full of stickers. These stickers signify editing shortcuts. Editing shortcuts help you get more done with less effort.

You need not put stickers all over your equipment. However, learning the shortcuts and maybe even using a gaming mouse that is mapped to do some shortcuts will make your life easier.


Editing is a challenging thing to get right. You may need to look over the same project multiple times until you get the feel you want to convey. A lot of it is trial and error. With time, though, you will find it easier to take your raw footage and tell your story.

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Professional Blogger. Android dev. Audiophile.

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By Sidharth

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