7 Video Editing Tips and Tricks for Beginners (With Examples)

Video content has quickly become one of the most preferred methods of reaching a wide variety of audiences.

The format works wonders for any purpose: advertising, educating, entertaining, or just connecting with people. 

It is so impactful that it has massively replaced all other forms of media in the marketing industry. 

Expert marketing professionals have so much faith in this format of content that video ad spend is expected to exceed $78 billion by the end of this year.

For these reasons, video editing is a valuable skill to learn today. But making interesting videos of good quality is not as simple as it seems. It’s a complex and time-consuming process.

Video editors use a wide variety of tools, technologies, and techniques to turn raw footage into the refined, creative, and interesting final product that reaches the audience. It calls for a LOT of imagination, persistence, and practice.

So, where do you even start?

If you want to make the most of your time and effort spent editing videos, we have some helpful, practical video editing tips and examples for you to follow as a novice.

Let’s get started.

1. Start with a Beginner-friendly Video Editing Tool

As someone who’s new to video editing, you need to select the right tool. Your software should not overwhelm you but guide you. So, opt for beginner-friendly software that prioritizes ease of use and intuitive design that makes it easy for beginners to pick up.

Adopt a step-by-step approach to video editing. Start with smaller, simpler projects. Even those that seem too easy in theory could be quite challenging in practice. That’s where true learning comes from. These initial projects will lay the foundation for more complex, larger-scale video editing tasks further along your journey.

Movavi, Wondershare Filmora, and OpenShot are excellent examples of easy-to-learn video editing software for beginners.

Movavi Video Editor Interface
Movavi Video Editor Interface

Once you’ve mastered the basics with a beginner-friendly tool, you can smoothly and confidently transition to more advanced software, such as Adobe Premiere Pro or DaVinci Resolve.

Most video editing tools offer comprehensive training materials and guide documents, too. Let these resources gradually walk you through the process.

Another issue beginners often face is hardware-software compatibility. Most newbies have limited resources to invest in expensive machines. If you choose a super resource-intensive tool to begin with, your hardware might not be able to cope. That’s why it is best to pick something lightweight and easy when you’re starting out.

2. Study the Video Editing Theory

Much like everything else in life, video editing is something you need to understand and educate yourself about before you can start with the practical. It’s not just a matter of picking up any video editing tool and clicking some buttons.

So, what exactly do you need to study?

Here are some examples.

First and foremost, you must equip yourself with the core concepts, techniques, and skills that form the foundation of video editing. These include video editing fundamentals such as:

Next come the technicalities, e.g., rendering, exporting, compatibility, resolution, and file formats.

Learn how to analyze the video content you consume. Pay attention to the use of camera angles, lighting, sound, music, special effects, and other editing elements. Watch and learn. Observe closely to develop an aesthetic sense. Watch behind-the-scenes (BTS) footage or interviews with experienced editors to gain insights into their processes and techniques.

Network with other video editors through online forums and communities; watch product demos or tutorials; absorb knowledge from diverse sources. Pick up a book if need be!

Figure out how you’re going to learn the art of storytelling because that’s essentially what video-making is all about. Work on your ability to craft compelling narratives that captivate your audience and convey your vision.

Mastering the software you use to edit videos is also very important. Explore its features, functions, settings, and troubleshooting techniques. Find out what you can do to optimize its performance.

3. Practice Makes Perfect

No matter how cliché it may sound, practice really does make perfect. Consistent practice guarantees improvement and leads to excellence. The world (of video editing!) is your oyster; experiment to your heart’s content. Try different tools, techniques, transitions, effects, graphics, styles, fonts, and sounds.

A great way to practice is by incorporating feedback from your peers and seniors into your work. Their honest input can help identify all the changes you can make in your work. This will help you improve your methods and reach your full potential.

Practicing will also help you adapt your editing approach to suit different social media platforms.

For example, Instagram reels, TikTok videos, and YouTube shorts all have their unique requirements and editing styles. So, try your hand at editing all kinds of video formats. This will ensure that your skills keep progressing and expanding. It will also help you identify what kind of work you enjoy the most and want to focus on in the future.

Another thing that practicing helps you develop is subtlety, something that every editor wants, but few are able to reflect in their work. It comes with loads of practice. You cannot be sloppy. The transitions, effects, cuts, and all other applied edits should be invisible to the naked eye so your audience can truly appreciate them. Keep practicing these small things.

4. Learn Essential Keyboard Shortcuts

To succeed at video editing, you don’t need to just be good; you also need to be fast. You must use shortcuts in video editors if you want to deliver your work on time.

At their cores, all video editors function on similar principles, and knowing the keyboard shortcuts for them is half the job. While the specific shortcuts may vary across tools and devices, the functions remain the same. They are valuable tools that can make your editing experience more efficient and enjoyable. Embrace shortcuts instead of thinking you’re too good for them.

The real beauty of keyboard shortcuts lies in their customisation. Many editing tools allow you to tailor these shortcuts to your unique editing style and preferences. You can create a personalized editing language that matches your needs.

Here is an example of a customisable keyboard shortcuts menu from Movavi’s video editing tool.

Sample Video Editing Keyboard Shortcuts
Sample Video Editing Keyboard Shortcuts

5. Value Text and Stock Media

You don’t have to force the original footage to work somehow. Instead, embellish it with interesting text and high-quality stock footage. These simple supplements can make your videos more powerful and markedly improve the viewing experience.

Make sure you use stock media wisely, though. These elements should add value to your visual story and message. They shouldn’t take away from it or cause distractions. When used right, they can save time, cut costs, and provide relief from monotonous footage.

Take your time to practice how to properly and flawlessly integrate all these external elements into your work.

When using stock media, make sure you have the right permissions, whether for personal or commercial purposes. Credit the original creators where needed.

A lot of popular sources, e.g., Pixabay, Pexels, Unsplash, and Shutterstock, offer both free and paid content. Many video editing tools come with in-built media libraries, too, for stock video, graphics, and music, as well as unique font styles.

The different types of royalty-free media available on Pixabay
The different types of royalty-free media available on Pixabay

There’s also no shame in using templates; they can save you a lot of time. But don’t just copy and paste them. If you’re working for a specific organization, for example, then you have to make changes to the templates so they fit the brand style, tone, and design guidelines.

6. Don’t Ignore the Audio

A video without proper sound can lack a certain depth and impact.

Good audio breathes life into any video, creating a captivating and immersive viewing experience. It makes a story that flows well and captures audience interest. Audio lends a voice to your visuals, so you must pay attention to it.

To harness the full potential of audio, you must learn proper audio processing alongside your video editing skills.

This includes techniques like proper syncing, ensuring that audio and video tracks align seamlessly. Adding sound effects to edits, movements, and popups enhances the visual storytelling, boosting engagement. You can further refine your audio tracks using tools like noise reduction, volume adjustment, and equalization.

Effective audio processing not only enhances storytelling but also heightens viewer attention and comprehension, leaving a lasting impression.

7. Organize Your Files and Assets

If you’re just starting out, this is the best time to develop a habit of maintaining a well-organized file and folder system.

A lack of organization can create a confusing and cluttered workspace. This can be disastrous when you’re working with a lot of different types of files, such as raw footage, edited clips, audio tracks, images, graphics, and the many, many “final version” files that we’re all guilty of. You don’t want to lose your best work to negligence or any other mishap, do you?

Organize your files in a way that makes sense. And be consistent with your methods, too. Your files should have clear, accurate names so they are easy to find and don’t get mixed up.

Take a look at this example of what a well-organized workspace looks like.

Sample of a Well-Organized Video Editing Workspace
Sample of a Well-Organized Video Editing Workspace

Backing up your data regularly is essential to protect against mistakes or accidents. You can do this on an external hard drive, in the cloud, or both. Keep the original files safe, and make sure they don’t get overwritten by accident, in case you’re forced to start over.

These principles should also flow over into your physical space. If you’re planning to work from home, set up a home office of sorts. Get a proper desk that’s the right height and size. With that, you need a chair that is comfortable enough for you to be able to sit on it for long periods of time. Not too long, though! Keep taking frequent breaks to stretch and walk around.

Organization is more than just keeping your workspace clean; it also helps you manage your time well, which is a very important skill for video editing.

Video editing takes a lot of time, especially for more complicated projects on a larger scale. A disorganized approach leads to time wasted over searching for, transferring, and redoing work. Some discipline will ensure efficiency, making it easier to meet deadlines.

How to Get Started

The first step to getting started with video editing is choosing the right tool for your needs. But how do you decide that? Here are some important factors you need to consider.

Once you’ve picked out an editing tool, you need to set up your hardware. Carefully check what sort of machine you already have. You can think about buying a new one (if your budget allows it) if your current hardware is not up to the task.

You can never go wrong with investing in an excellent monitor screen because that’s where you and your audience will be seeing all the magic happen.

And don’t forget some good headphones, too! If you’re going to be recording audio tracks yourself, you will need a quality microphone as well.

Think about the type of projects you want to work on and make plans based on that.

Once all that’s done, you can dive right in! Import your first video file into the editing software you’ve chosen, and you can begin.

Key Takeaways for Video Editing Tips

Video editing needs a mix of creativity, technological knowledge, and the appetite and patience for learning new things. 

Our list of seven fundamental video editing tips for beginners shows how complicated and rewarding this constantly evolving profession is.

Before you enter the fun world of video content creation, it’s important to know how to choose the right editing tool, understand the basic ideas behind both video and audio editing, and discipline yourself.

And last but not least: practice, practice, and more practice!

Picture of Edgar Abong

Edgar Abong

Edgar is a skilled software developer with a passion for building and evaluating software products. His expertise in software development enables him to provide in-depth evaluations of software products. He can draw out insights about features, functionality and user experience.

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