The Complete Guide to Shooting and Editing Videos

David - About Content Creation - October 24, 2020

Alright. So you think you've become a professional video-maker overnight just by reading my article about front-facing camera videos? Let me tell you something, which is really important.

Making videos from the beginning until the end is a tough job, not to say multiple jobs in one. You've learned a lot already, yet you still have no idea what it takes to turn your boring video into a captivating and well-edited piece of content.

Lucky you. In this article, I'll tell you everything you need to know about editing. I'll give you my tips, tricks, and recommendations to help you make great videos that people actually enjoy watching and sharing.

Let's see!

The Complete Guide to Shooting and Editing Videos - Illustration - Picture

The Guide to Shooting Videos

Editing videos isn't just about mastering a suite of software. Software alone isn't enough. You must prepare the editing process while you're shooting your video. The better you prepare, the easier it is to edit.

That said, it's also important to remember that a very bad clip is hard to turn into a great video, even with high editing skills.

These are my recommendations to help you start on the right track:

  • Adjust your microphone and recording software: The most important thing is to make sure you're not making your viewers' ears bleed. Every recording software has a sound visualizer. Make sure you always keep the volume within the green range. Yellow means that you're almost too high, and red is too much. You can play with the audio afterwards hence it's no big deal if it's a tad low here. Adjust the gain, and touch as little parameters as possible. If there's a discrepancy between mouth movements, frame, and sound, then the video will feel unpleasant.

  • Adjust your lighting setup: Ideally, you have two options.

    First, you can go with the sun's light, which is great because it's natural and it gives a beautiful tone and atmosphere to the whole picture. However, it makes you dependent on the weather, which is an issue if you intend to make videos on a regular basis because the weather's unpredictable.

    Second, you can buy a $100-$200 lighting setup that enables you to shoot inside even when there's absolutely no external light source. This has the advantage to let you shoot whenever you want.

    Bear in mind the most important points: Buy a softbox, have a large light source, and take several pictures from different angles and light intensities before locking everything to your preferences. That will give you a beautiful and flattering atmosphere.

  • The Complete Guide to Shooting and Editing Videos - Illustration - Picture
  • Adjust your camera: First of all, you should activate the grid on your camera to see exactly where you stand on the frame. Then, I recommend having your body in the center (second column) and your face either on the first line or in the invisible line which is in between the first and the second. You don't necessarily have to show your whole body, just make sure you tick these boxes.

    Second of all, lock the focus and exposure on your camera to have consistent focus and lighting from the beginning until the end. You seriously don't want to realize that, after an exhausting shooting, half of the video is dark and blurred. Hence lock these parameters to avoid future troubles.

    Finally, play around with depth of field. It often feels great to have the main character in the video stand out from the background. That works either via lighting your back to separate it from the background, or by using depth of field to make the background blurred while focusing on the character that's in front of it.

  • Write a structured script and love the camera: Make sure you always have an introduction and closer. Then, have distinct parts composed of titles, lists, and sentences to discuss your video's topic.

    When you're talking, never get your eyes off the camera's lens. This is like watching your viewer in the eyes. Do it all the time unless you're acting a scene.

    When you're speaking your script, do it line by line. One sentence at a time. It's easier to have multiple shots of each sentence to work on, as opposed to multiple long shots of boring paragraphs.

    When you're speaking your script, make a break between each and every line and keep watching the camera the whole time. That will give you room for editing and cuts later on.

  • The Complete Guide to Shooting and Editing Videos - Illustration - Picture
  • Clap your hands several times in the beginning: That's a given. It helps you and your software synchronize frame and sound if you're recording sound and video on two different devices. It's simple, super quick, and it will save you more time than you can imagine.

We're done with that part.

Let's move on to editing.

The Complete Guide to Shooting and Editing Videos - Illustration - Picture

The Guide to Editing Videos

Now that you've got the shooting right, we'll see how to make the most of your editing software.

Bear in mind that if you're not willing to put in the time and effort, forget about editing your videos. On average, 1 minute of video takes ~1 to ~1.5 hours to edit. Hire someone if you're not willing to spend 4~5+ hours per video edit.

My recommendations are:

  • Learn the shortcuts: That's important as it'll help you edit without touching your mouse, while saving a lot of time here and there. Learn how to play, pause, move forwards, move backwards, and cut using your keyboard alone. It's also useful to learn how to mute and unmute the sound of a clip to focus on the image without being distracted by the sound.

  • Activate magnetism: Magnetism is when your mouse automatically sticks to the visible and invisible guidelines of your editing software. For instance, the cuts, the beginning of clips, the ending of clips, the beginning and ending of sound curves, etc. That will spare you the hassle of moving your mouse by fractions of inches every time.

  • Lower the preview quality: While you're working on your clips, your editing software is creating previews of your video in the background to speed up navigation and enable you to click anywhere and have something to see right away without waiting. Most often, you can decrease the quality of the previews to increase the memory that's available for other treatments. All in all, your final export will be on point, and that will help you work a bit faster.

  • The Complete Guide to Shooting and Editing Videos - Illustration - Picture
  • Disable screen treatments: Nowadays, most laptops and computers have night vision, blue filter, and other sorts of eye-related pieces of software. Disable them all, period. If you keep them running, you won't be able to see the true colors of your video, and you might find yourself tweaking pictures for hours only to realize later on that you were working on fake colors. Spare yourself on that one.

  • Use marks: Ideally, put a mark at the beginning of each and every complete line of your spoken script. That will help you navigate quickly between your cuts while having a visual representation of your script's structure. That said, if you like to put visual elements or audio effects in your video, it's also a plus to have marks to see how much's done, and how much needs to be.

  • Color grading: That's a tough topic. Simply put, you have two options, and that's only my opinion. First, and this is what I recommend, adjust your image based on your skin tone only. In Final Cut Pro, for instance, there's a guide to help you adjust your skin tone quickly. In this case, trust the software, not your eyes. That will give your whole video a realistic atmosphere, which is great.

    Second, and this is up to you, you can use filters (a.k.a LUTs, Look Up Tables). These work like Instagram filters and help you give a specific feeling to your video, which is also a good thing.

  • The Complete Guide to Shooting and Editing Videos - Illustration - Picture
  • Have an intro and outro for your video: That's simply a nice-to-have. It gives a professional look to your videos. Let these two parts last between 5 and 10 seconds and you're done. Include all the details that you think are important for your audience (name? date? topic?).

  • Get the audio right: First, many software have "auto-repair" features. Trust your software. Most of the time it knows better than you what's the right thing to do.

    Second, add background music, preferably one that's copyright-free. Your voice alone is probably wonderful, or is it? But having background music changes everything. It participates in building the video's atmosphere while pleasing your viewers' ears.

    Finally, make sure that once again you're not flirting with the yellow-red zone in the sound visualizer.

  • Navigate smartly: Learn the shortcuts to go to the beginning and end of your video. Also learn how to go from a mark to another. Finally, and that's the secret tip, look at the sound representation of your video. It's extremely powerful to help you cut blanks and mistakes. It's easier to recognize a sound wave than it is to recognize a hundred frames compressed into one.

Did I even mention that learning all these things will take you days and weeks? Great, now you know! But at least, you won't have to discover these hurdles while making mistakes, you'll be prepared.

From the bottom of my heart, good luck!

The Complete Guide to Shooting and Editing Videos - Illustration - Picture

Wait a Second

Let me say it again. Making videos, from the beginning until the end, is a real job. Shooting, editing, and making every single thing right and pleasant for the audience is hard, and takes time to learn.

That's all for today!

That said, these articles might come in handy:

You've got some great tips to make and edit videos? Let me know in the comments below!

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Kelvin Reader

Nice article!

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David M. Author

Thank you very much Kelvin

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