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Filmmaking Amateur | Video Editing for Dummies (Day Sixteen)

by Scott U
(Georgia, USA)

The main reason I like documentaries (or documenting stories) is the travel and adventure aspect of the work. I find that I am mostly excited about taking great photos or shooting great video. I like the going places and gathering the components needed for the story. I like writing too. But what I am most uncomfortable with is video editing.


There are several reasons for this. One reason is that editing requires a lot of sitting and staring at a monitor. Another reason is that I do not have as much experience editing as I do shooting or writing. So, every time I sit down to edit a video, I have to mentally work through this blank space in my head. It can be very frustrating in the beginning because I essentially find myself somewhat randomly throwing together video clips to see if their order makes sense. Plus, there is the huge amount of time needed to "study" my footage so that I know what I have at my disposal to tell the story.

I find myself wondering shortly into the editing process if there is another way to put these video clips together--second guessing myself throughout the process. I learn by failing - like a lot of people. I have had to delete an entire timeline after days of work because the story just wasn't coming together.

All of this leads to my confession for today; I am not a great editor!

Does anyone have a system that they use that has worked for them? Do you have a process or way of organizing that allows you to see the story more easily?

Any and all video editing tips are greatly appreciated!

Comments for Filmmaking Amateur | Video Editing for Dummies (Day Sixteen)

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Nov 25, 2011
Video Editing Tips
by: Desktop Documentaries

Hey Scott,

I'm sure a lot of people can relate to your situation. I think the video editing process is probably different for everyone. It all depends on how your brain works!

A video editor I know in Los Angeles once told me that video editing for him is like creating a dance on screen. There's a whole cadence and rhythm to each video or film that you create.

As for the video editing process, here are a few techniques I can recommend:

  • Watch your footage, write a script - This is for the more organized types. This process involves watching and logging all of your footage, marking the best parts and then creating a script (remember that a script may or may not have narration.. a script could simply be a description of what order you'll place your shots in). Of course, even with a script, it's bound to change during the edit, so a script is just a place to start.

  • Just Start! This sounds like the technique you're using. You have a general idea of your footage and you just start pulling shots into the timeline and "feel" out where there might be a story.

  • Create mini-scenes - You may not have the whole story mapped out in your head, so you start editing together mini-scenes and then string those stories together to make the bigger story.


Those are just a few video editing techniques.

For more on Video Editing, visit How To Edit A Documentary

Anyone else have a video editing technique that works for you?

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