Lights, Camera, Action: Video Editing Skills You Need To Know

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We’re seeing more and more video enter websites these days, whether it be to market a business, operate as a vlog or simply to style up a site, a web developer really does need to branch out and have at least a small skill set in video.

No matter what you’re trying to achieve, there are simple steps you can make to ensure your video feels and looks professional.

Choosing a Computer

First things first is you need the right equipment. It’s likely as a developer you’d already be well equipped for video editing.

A faster computer will be much more preferable, comfortably dealing with large files being chopped and rendered.

You’ll need large amounts of memory if you’re going to regularly edit, so it could also be worthwhile purchasing some additional memory.

Choosing an Editor

That of course starts with the editor you’re using. Now, video editing software can vary hugely in price dependent on what you need it for. A vlogger for example, isn’t going to need anything that allows for CGI, not unless they want the most kick-ass vlog of all time anyway, so a basic video editing package is probably enough.

The more complex you get though, the more expensive a package will be. Knowing what you require is the first thing you need to get started. Additionally, knowing your own capabilities will also be useful in this process.

Choosing an editor is relatively easy from there. There are tons of sites that offer help on these things. Brands like Best Online Reviews have dedicated pages to video editing, offering advice on the market’s most popular editors and offering articles and advice on how to make a decision.

Once in the editing suite, there are a number of key rules to take into account, particularly if you’re trying to convey a message. If you’re creating a small marketing video for your business for example, your video should be short, snappy and to the point.

Choosing a Length

A number of studies have shown that the attention span of an audience begins to wane. In fact, it’s alleged that Millennials have an attention span of just five to six seconds when it comes to adverts, meaning you need to capture their attention in that time, instantly convey your message and ensure it doesn’t go on beyond around 25-30 seconds.

If you’re approaching something that’s a little longer, where you’re trying to tell a story, you need to ensure every scene progresses that story through the edit. Ask yourself at every stage, “what does this tell me?”

If the answer is nothing, then cut it out. It’s as simple as that.

Naturally, if you’re making anything longer, perhaps research what your audience want. If this is a next step in a blogging career for example, speak to your audience and understand what they want.

Knowing Your Cuts

When it comes to mastering the edit, knowing your J Cut from your L Cut is a must. A J Cut is essentially a cut where you hear the audio before you see it visually. So you may hear a car crash before you see it. An L Cut is is the opposite, where you see the visual before hearing the audio.

They’re two important things to know, particularly if you’re getting started with video editing. Practice getting these right and knowing when to use them before moving on to creating the likes of montages, cutting on action and match cutting.

More advanced cutting include jump cutting which essentially allows an editor to jump forward in time.

This is commonly used in interviews to move them along, cutting out any unimportant parts. This is usually best done with multiple cameras.

Another cut useful, particularly if you’re reviewing products or even places within a blog is the cutaway.

A cutaway is allows you to continue a narrative but highlight specific details about a location or what you’re trying to say. For example, you may be reviewing a phone doing a piece to camera, before cutting away to specific details of the phone itself.

Learn Your Keyboard Shortcuts

Learning keyboard will help you on your editing journey, speeding up the process and generally make life easier.

The best thing to do is print of a cheat sheet and just get to know them as you learn more and more about editing.

Common shortcuts will quickly let you render, undo, paste and save, while you’ll also be able to complete some more complex functions at the tap of a key.

As you become more advanced, there’s the possibility of buying an editing keyboard, but that’s only necessary if you’re spending some serious time in the editing suite.

Learn How To Implement Music

If you’re planning on putting music into your video, don’t leave it as an afterthought.

So often the audio is left until last, but have a clear idea of the music you wish to use and how you wish to use it. Think about whether you want to fade in, fade out and also explore whether you’ll need to pay for the music you wish to use.

All the above are things you need to think about with editing, even if it’s in the most basic of ways. That’s the beauty of editing and as you progress it’s always worthwhile going over old work and seeing where you have improved and where there’s still room for it.

It’s all about walking before you can run. Even the best loved vlogs on YouTube only use the basics yet to far, while most marketing material also keep it fairly simple. Master the basics and it really is another string to your bow.

John Culotta
John is the chief editor here at WebDesignDev. He is a creative who enjoys writing, research, and all things design related as well as (formerly) a full-time musician. As an entrepreneur, he has many years of experience in designing websites, packaging, logos, photo editing, and the development of his own top-selling products on Amazon and Shopify. You can see his motivational Instagram account or connect on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter.

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