Editing a video can be a tough and long process. That’s why learning a few editing tricks can be a lifesaver and save you a lot of time. But editing tricks can also make your videos more enjoyable and fun to watch, especially if your not a skilled editor. With these 5 editing tricks will make editing your videos with be faster and more enjoyable to watch.
While you may be a photography, many photographers transitioned into making videos, which leads to learning how to edit. While you might already do or know some of these editing tricks, you should definitely try them out.
1. Shorter is better, except when it isn’t.
One of the most known editing tricks is the length of the video. Most audiences have a short attention span, and with all kinds of media fighting for your time on the internet, it’s often a good idea to keep your videos as short as possible. While this is true for most cases, placing pauses at strategic places can actually make your videos easier to watch, and therefore maintain viewers for longer periods.
This is called “breathing room.” Instead of cutting from one interview audiobyte directly to another with no break for a long period, try adding 3-5 seconds of b-roll in between them, bring the music up to full, and then lower it back down to begin the next speaking section. Here’s an example below:
Adding breathing room can provide your audience with a mental “break” in the information they are receiving, and a small pause can also trigger the understanding that a new thought or subject is about to begin. When used in conjunction with changes or hits in music, these can add a fantastic flow to interview segments.
2. Use intro and outro video clips that have natural segues.
Following in the idea of using specific edits to subconsciously trigger an understanding in the viewer, editors will often use cross dissolves when starting or ending scene. Fade to blacks are used, as well as wipes if your name is George Lucas.
Next time you want to end or begin a scene, see if you have a clip that naturally leads the eye into the new subject matter. For example, a simple pan up at the beginning of the clip or pan away at the end of a clip can trigger an upcoming scene change. It feels more natural than a forced cut, but also combining the two can make for elegant transitions.
3. Master the J-cut.
A J-cut refers the shape of the letter J, where the lower part of that letter form goes further left than the top section. What this means in an edit is having the audio from the incoming clip play before actually seeing the video it corresponds to. Here’s what I mean:
Just make sure to not overdo it, as a second or two works fine. This mentally will feel natural to the viewer because in real life when a noise occurs, we often turn and look to see what that noise was. In editing terms, that means we hear something slightly before we see it, making a mental “cut” with our eyes from the original thing we were looking at to turn and see this new thing that is creating audio. If you pay close attention next time you watch a suspense thriller, you’ll probably notice this type of edit happens all the time
If that blew your mind and you’d like to read more examples of human observances and how they relate to video editing, I’d highly recommend reading “In the Blink of an Eye” by Oscar-winning film editor Walter Murch.
4. Clean up your dialog and save time.
In any video that you shoot, you’ll be surprised how many speaking errors and “ummms” fill time. People will slur their words to a point where you can’t separate one word from the next but it happens, quite frequently. But whenever you can cut out a long breath , an “umm” or a thoughtless comment, do it. The trick to this is to use very short audio fades. It requires some patience and finesse, but cutting out 8-10 of these in a single interview can save a few seconds, and those seconds can add up over the course of a long video.
Above are before and after screenshots of my timeline of the video clip below. Look at how many small cuts was made. Sure there might be a part that starts to sound a little weird, but we’ve found that most people won’t notice it as much as they would notice a person saying “ummmm…” In the video below, you’ll first see the clip with the mistakes edited out, and then the original version. I think it’s pretty clear which one is better.
5. Add markers to your music tracks to show places to make edits.
This editing trick is an old one but easily a favorite.
When working with your clips on a sequence that has some music, most editors will have the waveform of the audio displayed, and then try to match some edits to where the music hits on a beat or crescendo. This is great, but there is an easier way. If you simply play the music back in the viewer first and add markers to it, those markers will appear in your timeline. Then you can just line up your edits to the markers, and they will snap right into place.
When working with your clips on a sequence that has some music, most editors will have the waveform of the audio displayed, and try to match some edits to where the music hits on a beat or crescendo. This is great, but if you simply play the music back in the viewer first and add markers to it, those markers will appear in your timeline. You can then just line up your edits to the markers, and they will snap right into place. So easy!
These 5 editing tricks will make editing your videos with be faster and more enjoyable to watch but can be a good baseline for you to kick off your editing career. With the time you save you can do other things to help spice up your videos. What are some of your favorite editing tips or tricks? Share them in a comment below.
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