Here’s what often happens, a new vlogger is determined to edit so they sit down, grit their teeth, and after some frustrating hours they have an edited video – and even though it’s not quite the way they want it they are so frustrated that they post it anyways. Then they put off editing for months because it took so long and was soo frustrating. So when they finally sit down to edit again they don’t remember anything they did before and it’s even more frustrating because they know they did it, but can’t find it!! [Do you get the feeling that I’m speaking from experience?]
You need to lower your perfectionism for a little bit. Instead of expecting a fully polished and edited video your first time, pick one thing you want to do – perhaps a title slide at the beginning. Master that one skill and be proud that you did. Then the next day or week edit another vlog. Add the first skill you learned – title slide and learn a second skill – perhaps adding some music. Post it and be proud of it! Then the next week add a third skill, etc. etc. etc. You will cut your frustration time way down and be editing like a pro in no time.
Don’t be scared of editing. Just jump in and do your best. As long as you remember to save the original file you’ll have no problem! Even without a lot of video editing experience, anyone can create a professional-looking video if they just follow the right principles. Before long you’ll be an editing pro!
13 Vlog Editing Tips
Here are our top vlog editing tips to help you start getting the best out of your vlogs:
1. Start with the End in Mind
Have a mental image of how you want your finished video to look before you shoot any video. This will help a lot in deciding what shots to take and what shots not to take. It’ll help you determine what kind of equipment you need, what kind of assistance you need and it’ll help you set your budget. By knowing exactly what you want in the end, you’ll avoid the all-too-common problem of not having one shot and having to get all the equipment out again just to take that one shot. Sometimes when that happens the whole video gets scrapped because we’ve run out of time.
2. Learn the Basics of Shooting Video
No matter how good your editing is, you can’t make bad filming look like a great film. One of the “secrets” to video editing is starting with good footage to begin with. While you don’t need to take a 6-month course in cinematography, it can really help to read up on the basics of how to hold a camera, how to pan a camera, different angles you can use, and how to take different kinds of shots.
3. Don’t Use Too Many Transitions
One beginner mistake is to use too many different kinds of transitions, especially flashy ones. Airplanes flying in and wiping out the screen, the first scene exploding into the second scene, etc. are effects that can be used occasionally. Your videos will actually look a lot more professional if you just used crossfades, fade-to-black or fade-to-whites. The simple cut is still the most used transition. Pick one and stick to it.
4. Break Up Your Videos (Informational)
If you’re shooting informational videos online lessons, for example, try to break up your videos. Anytime you switch to a new topic, fade to black and show a title shot for 3-5 seconds with the title to the next section. This helps break up the clip and prevents people from feeling like they’ve been sitting and watching the same video for 20 minutes. Instead, they can feel like they’ve been watching 4 different interesting 5-minute clips.
If you’re going to publish the videos for youtube viewers to watch I would recommend that you just make 4 different videos. You can keep them shorter, have more content published, and keep people coming back for more.
5. Audio is More Important Than Video
For informational videos, audio is more important than video. Even if your video quality is low, people can still understand you and get the benefit of your product. However, if your audio can’t be properly heard, you’ll immediately lose your audience.
Again, the secret to great audio comes before the filming. Invest in a good mic. Good wireless lapel mics are very common, inexpensive and barely show up on the camera. Camera mics are notorious for picking up extraneous sound.
6. Learn the “Remove Noise” Filter
Background noise is often picked up, even if you’re using a high-quality mic. For most beginning editors the “remove noise” filter will quickly become your most used and most loved audio filter. This filter allows you to take a small sample of “empty” video audio to sample for noise. It’ll then create a noise profile and take out noise from all of your video.
There are different degrees to which you can remove noise. If there’s a lot of background noise, you usually won’t be able to get rid of all of it. Removing too much noise can result in strange pops and other audio artifacts. All that said, however, the “remove noise” filter can still be a lifesaver for anyone working with audio that has background noises.
7. Pick One Primary Editing App
Don’t hop from between different video editing software. While it’s a good idea to dip your toes into a few different programs to get a feel for what you like, you should pick one as quickly as possible to really learn the ins and outs of the program.
Each program will have different filters, different tricks, different rendering filters, and different shortcuts. Being able to edit video quickly means learning the ins and outs of one program, not to learn a little bit about many.
7. Learn the Keyboard Shortcuts
Learning keyboard shortcuts will shave hours off your editing time. Nobody expects you to learn all the keyboard shortcuts for any given program, but you should learn all the keyboard shortcuts for commonly executed commands. Shortcuts for things like Play, Pause, Stop, Play Backwards, Split, Copy, Paste, Cut, Insert Marker, etc should all become second nature to you. The 3 seconds you save by not having to reach for the mouse add up very quickly.
8. Supplement Video Editing with Pictures
You can add a lot of punch to your videos by having nice slides for the credits, transitions, or ending. You can even add pictures and screenshots over your video or with a picture-in-picture effect to make your video more visually interesting. You can get large stock photos from sites like Shutterstock and iStockPhoto. Learn how to use whatever photo editing software you have. You will need to use large size pictures and graphics if your finished video will be HD; otherwise, your images will be blurry.
or Supplement with Photoshop and/or After Effects
Two programs that most video editors also work with are Adobe Photoshop and Adobe After Effects. Adobe Photoshop is the world’s most popular graphics editing program. Being able to create and edit graphics is important for creating title screens, for creating images to add to videos.
Adobe After Effects is a powerful motion graphics program. Unlike a video editing program, a motion graphics program specializes in special effects. It works much like Photoshop, with layers and effects, except it works on a timeline. In After Effects, you’ll be able to create just about any special effects you can imagine, export it and add it to your video editing program. You usually can’t create very many special effects in an editing program. Likewise, though you can edit in After Effects, you’ll usually want to edit in an editing program instead. (It’s much faster.)
9. Learn the Basics of Color Corrections
Learning how to use tools like White Balance, Levels and Curves can make your video look much sharper and more color balanced. Because of lighting, sunlight or just the way your camera works, your film may come out with more blue, red or green than it should have. The whole clip will have a “cast” of color overlaid over it. Color correction allows you to remove this color cast and restore the clip to how the colors really looked.
In addition, color correction will allow you to increase and decrease brightness and contrast to create a video that really pops, rather than a video that might have slightly dull colors or light. Learning to use these tools well takes just a few hours to half a day of reading tutorials and experimenting.
10. Background Music
Background music can really add “vibe” to a particular clip. In an intense moment, playing suspenseful music can help really get the adrenaline flowing. I personally don’t like music that continues through the whole video; just to highlight certain parts. The trick to background music is to select the right music, but make sure it’s subtly in the background enough that it doesn’t interfere with the talking on screen and isn’t consciously noticeable by the audience.
You must use royalty-free music – especially if you want to make money from your video.
Check out our post: How to find Music for a Youtube Vlog, for more information on free music for your videos.
11. Stick to Basic Fonts
Unless you’ve studied typography, it’s usually much safer to stick with proven fonts like Arial, Tahoma, Garamond, Helvetica, etc. It’s also easier for people to read when they are watching a small video on a mobile device. Selecting type is an art and science in and of itself. Beginning editors who use outside the box fonts usually end up making their videos look amateurish rather than creative.
But what about the creative fonts you see in the opening of your favorite movies? Those fonts were constructed from scratch by professionals to match the vibe of the movie. Yes, creative fonts can really add spice to a video – But there are so many things that go into choosing and creating fonts, that unless you really know what you’re doing, it’s safest to just stick with proven fonts.
12. Making Notes in Your Edits
For any projects that take more than a day or two, you should carefully note what’s what with markers. Markers are little bits of text you can put above your timeline. For example, you can put “Mark talks about zebras” in the part of the speech where Mark is talking about zebras.
This can help you find the exact spots you’re looking for on your timeline much faster. It doesn’t matter as much for short videos, but once you’re getting into complex projects the many hours spent trying to find the exact moment in a clip where something happens can end up taking a lot of time.
13. Understanding Compression
When you’re first getting started, it doesn’t really matter if you understand compression. But if you want to produce videos to the exact quality and file size you want, then understanding compression becomes quite important. It’s not just a trade-off of video quality to file size. You also have issues like whether you want square pixels (for computers) or rectangular pixels (for widescreen TV.) You have issues like interlacing or not, which can change how certain things in your video looks.
Most people will usually only need to produce one or two formats. In other words, you’ll primarily be editing for web videos. You really just need to learn enough to find the one or two compression settings that you can use regularly.
If you follow these vlog editing tips, for editing your videos, you’ll be able to create high quality, professional-looking videos yourself without having to spend thousands of dollars on the project. And if you really don’t want to edit you can find somebody to outsource it to.
And one last tip watch the video below as there are some great tips in there.
If you’re interested in finding more vlogging tips check out our 11 Vlogging Tips for Beginners post.