Top 5 Video Editing Tips

John The Video Guy discusses his top 5 video editing tips to make videos pop. Watch the video or read the post below to learn more.

We see videos all the time. Whether they are on a website, through social media, or even on the TV. But what makes a video great? How can we make videos better? In this post, I review 5 tips that I’ve discovered to make great videos even better.

#5 – Space Out Your Best Shots

When I started out in my first full time video editing job, a lot of the videos I made were short 60-90 second highlight videos. And what I came to realize over time is that the more I spaced out the best shots, the better the video ended up looking in the end.

I think this can go for not just short videos, but for longer videos as well. It just happens to be more noticeable in shorter videos.

When you stack all of your best, cream of the crop shots together like that, the rest of the video lacks. You have to give the audience a chance to digest the best shots and the highs and lows of the video.

“Video editing is like a dance. Lead your audience through your moves. (Cuts)”

– John The Video Guy

One way you can utilize this is to place your best shots on the drop of a music track, or on an emotional part of the story.

My favorite technique to separate my best shots is to add them into a separate video track. This way, they are completely separated from the rest of your clips. You can also use flags/markers as well to identify your best clips.

#4 – Cut On The Down Beat

Rhythm is very important when it comes to video editing. And one way you can take it to the next level is to cut video on the down beat to music. Or at least on a beat in music…

It’s amazing to me how often I’ll watch videos, and they are not cutting to the beat of the song. Especially music videos, ironically…

Nonetheless, this will put your videos on a whole new level. At least it did for me. Now I don’t even think about it anymore. I edit videos on the beat automatically, even when there isn’t a song in it.

If you are wondering, “What the heck is a down beat?”, see the graph below on music structure. The down beat is the first beat in a bar. (Every 4 beats)

A way you can take this even further is to develop patterns in video editing. Maybe you set up a pattern where you make a cut on every other beat. (2-2-2-2) Or maybe cut on the 2nd beat and then each beat after it for each bar. (2-1-1-2-1-1)

By doing this, you can control what the audience expects (or doesn’t expect), as they will get use to the pattern over time. There are a lot of creative opportunities by controlling and developing patterns in video editing.

#3 – Don’t Over Do It

This kind of goes without saying, but even I’m guilting of doing this once in a while. 😉

The main takeaway that I learned in this tip is that humans can only see one thing at a time. So if the transitions or cuts are too over the top, people aren’t going to process it well and they might even get annoyed.

Fancy video effects or transitions should help bring out and enhance the video. So the best way to moderate this is to try to take a step back and watch it as if you haven’t watched it before. You can even get another person’s opinion on it as well.

Alternatively, try to reserve video transitions and special effects for key moments in your video. Either on the drop of a song or during an emotional storyline moment.

#2 – Emotion Above All Else

When it comes to the number 1 thing to cut on, it is emotion, period.

Emotion is the absolute driving force behind video and art in general. When audiences see something emotional, they instantly connect it with their past experiences. And it is at that very moment when your video becomes more than just a video to them. It becomes something personal.

Similar to a mirror, your video acts as a reflection tool to connect the story you are editing to other people’s past. And that is the most powerful video editing tip of all.

Someways to use this is to focus on the characters in your scene. Understand how they feel and study their body language. Pay close attention to their eyebrows or how they react to the things in the shot.

#1 – Cut Around The Blink

Okay if that wasn’t enough, I have one more for you. Cut around the blink.

This tip and a lot of the ideas in this blog post come from the book “In the Blink of an Eye” by Walter Murch. I highly recommend reading the book for anyone in the video editing and film industry. It is very insightful advise from a film editing legend.

What cut around the blink means is what it exactly means, actually. Make your cuts around the actor’s blink. But what makes this so powerful is the psychological reasoning behind the technique.

In film school, you will often learn to cut on action. When something moves, cut on it. But this goes a step deeper into the subconscious behavior of why we blink. We blink thousands of times a day. Sometimes we can control when we blink, such as in an eye blinking contest. But what happens when we don’t pay attention?

When we are concentrating or watch something, we hold our gaze until we are done or satisfied with what we have seen. Then we often blink and turn to go to the next thing. So the way you can think of blinking is that a blink is a real life cut. The change in attention calls for a cut to happen.

Don’t believe me? Next time you have a conversation with someone, watch their eyes and see what happens at the end of the conversation. The reaction is always the same.

Conclusion

So there you have it! My top 5 tips to make great videos. Use these tips and adjust them to fit your needs as you see fit.

Don’t agree with my picks? I’d love to hear from you. Leave your comments below on the top tips you think make great videos.

Thanks for reading!

Published by johnthevideoguy

I am a Cleveland based video editor and videographer. My mission is to push and share the innovation of video technology through my experiences and the ideas of others.

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