Hey all, I write short articles for MakingBetterVideos.com. Recently I have written some on the topic of the basics of editing good video. Here are some of the thoughts I have had so far.

Good Editing Tells a Story
No matter what you are editing, the goal is to tell some sort of story to the audience. And good editors do not only rely on the dialogue or narration to get a story across; they use their edits. In fact, some of the best videos out there are basically silent films, which the directors used only shots and cuts to tell a story. Here is a good example of a video that uses basically editing to tell a story along with an article on how to edit better stories.

Good Editing is Organized

The most practical thing an editor can do to edit better videos is to be organized while editing. Most of the time this will enable the editor to put videos together quicker and easier. As a simple example, having an organized raw footage bin will give an editor access to the right raw footage that is most fitting for a particular scene. There are also ways to organization a timeline that makes it easier to make fine-tunes at the end of a project. I write more about video editing organization here.

Good Editing Keeps Things Simple
I am talking particularly about transitions and graphics here. There are some many pre-made effects loaded in out editing software these days. And honestly, if you want to have professional looking video, you should probably stay away from most of them. There are really only two editing transitions one should use: a cut and the dissolve. But if you are not careful you can overdo the dissolve as well. Study up on when to use dissolves before using them.

Graphics are the same way. Unless you are a professional motion graphics editor, keeping graphics simple in the areas of font, color, and movement is the best way to go. Otherwise you end up with something looking like it is from the 1970’s. Here is an example of professional edited video that uses simple graphics.

Good Editing has Good Timing
Timing is an aspect of editing that is probably the hardest to teach, but one of the easiest to spot when not done incorrectly. Basically, good video will have a good flow to it’s edits, or as others put it, “good pacing.” One of the best ways to develop this is to edit to music that fits the speed of your video. Even if you video isn’t going to use music, go ahead and try laying some music in the audio track to edit along with. It helps me. Also, most of today’s videos are edited faster. I think on average about 5 seconds a clip. Here is a video that has beautifully edited timing. I thought that video was really good.

So there are some of the basics I have come up with so far. Let me know what you think. Can you think of any other basic editing tips for making good videos? This is what I came up with so far, but I am sure there are more. MakingBetterVideos.com is constantly recruiting new writers for their videomaking resources if you have a lot to say about editing videos.

Thanks for your time. Good luck.

Austin McCraw