How to Approach DIY Video Editing

Of all the careers to be explored and be had in the film business, editing is probably the one I have the most respect for.

Professional Editors

Adobe Premiere layout sampleWhatever producers, directors, camera people, and a myriad of other professionals screwed up en route to post-production, needs to be fixed and made look like it was the plan all along by the editor. This is where everything from continuity mistakes, to awkward acting, to forgotten white-balance, and missing cutaways gets patched, jerry-rigged, and re-invented. A good editor is as much a storyteller, visionary, and technician, and as she is a fixer, healer and diplomat.

Since we are interested in a DIY approach, I would like to talk about editing as task, less as an art from.

Video Marketing in general, in addition to engaging a writer, hiring an editor is the second investment I would strongly urge you to make.

Workshop March 2016 Nina’s Recommendation: a Hybrid Approach

Actually, let me expand on that a bit. If this was my money, and I was shooting an into-camera delivery video piece for my website, be it that I was introducing my own company, or I was looking for testimonials, the two places I’d spend money (or favors-to-call-in, or barter leverage) on would be at either end of video production: Head and Tails.

Head: a creative director/writer/strategist to make sure the DIY time and money spent on video marketing was going to where it makes sense in the overall approach of your companies marketing. Because: even the best editor in the world, can’t safe a horrid script, or the wrong content approach.

Tail: an editor to help you find and craft that message from what you shot. An additional benefit, which to me alone is worth the money, is that editing and learning to edit is a ginormous time-sink. A professional editor is worth their time-savings alone.

DIY Approach

New apps and software, as well as software updates can change the edit landscape fast. Your iPhone and Mac come pre-loaded with iMovie. It’s okay, it’s serviceable, but you will reach its limits fast. Si2-USE_phone hands edit 2-COLORCORRECTmilarly PCs come pre-loaded with Windows Movie Maker, which is an even more limited software than iMovie. In general I strongly recommend editing on your laptop and to use the in-phone editing just for either ‘emergencies’, or to get the hang of trimming clips (cutting off the start and end) to make a clip nice and tight and get to the good stuff immediately, after all you only have a few seconds to engage your audience before they click away.

If you’re interested in some more detail on current in-phone video editing apps, check out this article from January 2016: Most apps boil down to personal preference. I’d download a few ‘freebees’, try them out on a few test clips and take it from there. I recommend to start with the following:

Free iPhone app store:                                 Video Trim & Cut (free) & Cute Cut (free for short clips), Pro version $5.99

Free Android Google play:                           PowerDirector

For a beginner these apps are ok. You can trim and cut video clips and create transitions. You can add different video clips and design simple graphics and import photos and music. Some have built-in filters and templates, and mostly they are pretty corny and not made for corporate storytelling.

What you cannot do is have multiple video tracks (layers) or split audio (keep audio from one video while showing another) and output is limited too, so no custom files sizes or formats.

In general what you want to look for – as a minimum – in an editing software or app, is the capability to do the following:

  • Trim & Cut
  • Transitions: dissolve, cross dissolve, fade in from black or white, and fade out to black or white
  • Add a title
  • Add a photo
  • Add music
  • Have multiple video (visual) tracks so you can see one track, but hear the audio from another
  • Output to save to a folder of your choosing

For definitions and explanations on the list above read our NEXT blog entry on May 6, 2016.

Adobe Premiere CC is professional edit software within the Adobe Creative Cloud package and the current industry standard. It’s well worth learning if you’re interested in editing and investing some real time and creative juice. Adobe Premiere is subscription based and belongs to the entire Adobe bundle, which features Photoshop, Lightroom, InDesign, After Effects, etc.

Software & App Summary:

Free iPhone app store: Video Trim & Cut, and: Cute Cut (free for short clips), Pro version $5.99

Free Android Google play: PowerDirector

Free Mac: iMovie

Free PC: Windows Movie Maker

Paid Mac & PC: Adobe Premiere CC (Creative Cloud).

Happy creating!