Our movie editing post was so well received that we are increasing the chapter on editing to our movie eBook and giving readers a preview here. Read on for plenty of advice and encouragement.
You have decided the time is right to try movie editing for the first time. Well done! This is a positive step on your creative journey, so let’s help demystify the important first steps you take as a newbie movie editor.
Yes You Can!
Taking that first step in the right way is important. Whether you are making a movie of kittens in the garden, or therapy rats at work, or a sponsored post, making sure those first steps are done properly matters. You set off with a clear purpose and gain confidence as you learn. One of our #DKVideo challenge entries took ‘editing a movie’ as her skill building challenge because she was determined to tame the editing monster – and she did!
Take That First Step
To start movie editing you need to know how to use your editing software. Basic editors are not complicated and Mac and PC work flows are very similar. Both Windows and Apple programs will include the following options for you to explore:
- A timeline where you build your movie
- The ability to trim and manipulate your video clips
- Options to add text, filters, colour and/or music
- The option to add a voice-over (Mac) (PC)
- The chance to upload to Vimeo, YouTube, a blog, or social media.
TOP TIP Give Yourself Permission to Play
A good editing program will need to be explored, so give yourself time in the movie playground to see what you can do. Allow yourself to make mistakes, push the software as hard as you can. You will discover what works and what doesn’t, and most people can’t break software, even if they try. YouTube, and company web sites, are great for tutorials on specific software programs. You can find some comprehensive PC software recommendations here. A good Mac roundup can be found here.
Good Movie Editing Means Having a Plan
You can use our storyboard printables to help you plan, or jot notes on a pad, or use a smartphone note-taking app.
Here’s a step-by-step of how we approach editing a movie. You will start in the same way and then develop your own way of working as your skills grow.
- Add the shots you really like into your timeline. This will be your main story and focus.
- Preview it to see how it looks, then keep editing. Aim to keep your shots shortish (around 3 seconds to start with) for a dynamic feel, but never be afraid to extend a shot if you feel it works for you.
- As you edit, stay focused on your plan but don’t overthink your first run-through.
- Keep going, keep editing your movie into a rough cut that tells your story.
When you have a rough story in the timeline, take a look.
- Does it stick to your plan?
- Does it tell your story?
- Is your rough outline is shaping up in a way you are happy with? If so, move on to the next stage.
- If not, give your storyboard some further thought. Maybe take a break before you return to the editing screen.
Beginner Movie Editing Tips – Stage 2
You have a rough cut of your work-in-progress. It’s looking good and the story is shaping up. Give yourself a pat on the back!
Now is the time to review your remaining unused footage and see how these shots fit in with your plan. Look for your close-ups and distance shots to add visual variety and focus interest. Decide where you will add your extra footage to enhance your story.
Play your movie and review. If you are happy that it sticks to your plan and reflects your intentions get ready to take the final step. It helps to step away and clear your head before jumping in to the last stage so take a walk, surf Instagram, have lunch.
Adding Polish To Your ‘Final Cut’ – Stage 3
The final stage is giving your work a professional finish, even if you don’t aspire to serious stuff. A kitten movie to delight and entertain may be one minute long, with cute text and backed with a bouncy soundtrack: a sponsored post may include a purchased soundtrack, sophisticated text effects, and last a little longer to present a product well. You can make both!
- An effective video for a sponsor can make a big impact. Our tutorial for the Pioneer Pets Clamshell filter is short, informative and functional. The company found it helpful, and it now appears on the Pioneer Pet website.
A few ways to add movie editing polish:
- Consider adding transitions. Restrict yourself to just a few, and you will see how effective a soft fade, or page curl across the screen can be, used just once to make a point.
- Adjust colour if anything looks dark or over bright
- Speed up or slow down a segment of film – often a ‘tortoise and hare’ symbol.
- Add text. For FB movies remember many people have the sound off,
- But for other places, think music! Think copyright too. Look for royalty free music like Incompetech who work under a Creative Commons licence, Audio Jungle (paid). YouTube has a royalty free library, and AdWeek have a list of recommended sites here.
PRO TIP for Sponsored Post Newbies
Ensure you add the American FTC statement front and centre to a video for a sponsored post. This is very important if you are reviewing a product or device, especially if your market includes the USA. This disclaimer is a legal requirement that you should see on every blog where an item or service was provided to a writer/blogger as remuneration (payment). Great tips here.
OK that’s all there is to it! Now go and practice, and edit and practice some more, and then make a movie.
We aim to make a very basic how to start making movies post in the near future – does that pique the interest of our readers? Let us know!
Movie Tutorial Author