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.

Movie Editing with Silver Kitten

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.

  1. Add the shots you really like into your timeline. This will be your main story and focus.
  2. 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.
  3. As you edit, stay focused on your plan but don’t overthink your first run-through.
  4. 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.

Movie Editing Tips and Tricks for Directors

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!

Silver Kitten
Movie Tutorial Author
and Inspirer

Dash Kitten Silver Kitten the Business Cat

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23 Comments

  1. The Swiss Cats

    October 15, 2017 at 8:10 am

    Those are great tips, thank you so much ! Purrs

    Reply

  2. FiveSibesMom

    October 13, 2017 at 3:03 am

    This is such a wonderful “go-to” for newbies…and a great refresher for veteran videographers, as well (such as the FTC statement!) Really great job on creating a wonderful video reference!

    Reply

  3. meowmeowmans

    October 12, 2017 at 3:27 pm

    Silver, these are such great and helpful tips! Thank you for encouraging us all to take the plunge with video!

    Reply

  4. Sweet Purrfections

    October 12, 2017 at 3:24 pm

    Great post! This is one of my goals for 2018! I’ve done basic movie editing, but it was on the old Movie Maker. I need to try out some of your recommendations.

    Reply

  5. Beth (@dailydogtag)

    October 12, 2017 at 3:23 pm

    Every time I read one of your video posts, it pushes me a little closer to taking the plunge myself. I know that I need to make the time to learn how to edit.

    Reply

  6. Shelby @ For The Love of Paws

    October 12, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    I love these tips! I wish I was brave enough to do videos of my boys, it’s definitely something I hope to start in the coming year!!

    Reply

  7. Cathy Keisha

    October 12, 2017 at 2:20 pm

    Wish we had time to play with video. Right now TW has a calendar to proof.

    Reply

  8. Enviro_Dog

    October 12, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    Great information.I haven’t made a movie combining still shots and I have only made two movies using video from my phone. It took me a lot of time to figure out how to add a title and how to convert it to a usable form. I also found out that for a blog post it is better to have it uploaded into You tube first. There is definitely a learning curve and I could use the help. Thanks!

    Reply

    • Dash Kitten

      October 12, 2017 at 3:54 pm

      It’s definitely the way to go. We always upload to Vimeo, and YouTube then add from there.

      Reply

  9. 15andmeowing

    October 12, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    Great post. I need to get brave and try to record something.

    Reply

  10. Melissa Lapierre

    October 12, 2017 at 11:36 am

    Pawsome post! Every now and then I take short videos of Mudpie, but they’re certainly nothing professional looking!

    Reply

  11. Tenacious Little Terrier

    October 12, 2017 at 10:31 am

    I’m getting ready to make a video of some new tricks and I’ll definitely keep your advice in mind. Especially about the FTC disclosure. I disclose on the post and on the website that hosts the video but I guess I need to include it in the video itself!

    Reply

  12. Ruth Epstein

    October 12, 2017 at 8:53 am

    WOW and am going to have come back and read it all again, I would love to be able to do movies of Madam. Thanks for all the info

    Reply

    • Dash Kitten

      October 12, 2017 at 11:12 am

      You CAN do this! It’s a lot of fun too!

      Reply

  13. erinthecatprincess

    October 12, 2017 at 5:45 am

    EXCELLENT, you inspire so much with these posts, you do and I may well have a go between now and Christmas…
    Toodle pip and ACTION!
    ERin

    Reply

  14. Happy-Go-Doodle

    October 12, 2017 at 4:38 am

    Your post is written with so much energy and encouragement! I love your “give yourself permission to play” tip. That is the key to unlocking creativity. Thank you!

    Reply

  15. Kitty Cat Chronicles

    October 12, 2017 at 4:22 am

    Thanks for these super helpful tips! I’ve been getting more and more into video editing, both for Kitty Cat Chronicles and my music business. It has been a lot of fun! It can definitely be overwhelming and scary at first though. Your advice is great and will be helpful to any video maker!

    Reply

  16. Golden Daily Scoop

    October 12, 2017 at 3:44 am

    What a great and informative resource. I really need to sit down one afternoon and learn how to make a video and add all those bells and whistles. Bookmarking your fantastic post!

    Reply

  17. Debbie Bailey

    October 12, 2017 at 3:03 am

    This is great information! I’m actually shooting my first real video today and I will be coming back to this post for reference along the way for sure. The timing couldn’t be better. Printing out your storyboard file. So perfect! Do you have recommendations for easy to use editing software? That’s the part I’m worried about most.

    Reply

  18. Three Chatty Cats

    October 12, 2017 at 1:54 am

    This is fantastic info! And being a film school graduate, I think you nailed everything! I definitely need to add more videos to my blog, and your post has renewed my interest in doing so. Now, if the cats will just cooperate so I can get some good footage. Although, a good blooper reel is always fun…!

    Reply

  19. Lori Hilliard

    October 12, 2017 at 1:38 am

    Excellent article for those of us who are just dipping our paws into the world of film making. I would definitely be interested in more on this subject, including a basic “how to” guide for making my first movie. Any chance of a series of these articles bundled together?

    Reply

  20. Kamira Gayle

    October 12, 2017 at 1:35 am

    I remember reading about this challenge. You always had fun road trip videos with Dusty. Good memories. I just recently got the Windows Movie maker software and tried a slideshow video to start out. Not too bad. I’m going to have to continue with your tips so I can have a great video to post in the near future. Thanks for the tips.

    Reply

  21. Lola The Rescued Cat

    October 12, 2017 at 1:34 am

    I need to take the pkunge and get better at video. I think it would add a lot to my blog. I have to tell you I just love the Lord of the Rings Twist on your graphics. 😉

    Reply

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