Editing is the primary feature that sets video apart from every other type of visual content. Unlike theater, painting, or photography, video/film is a medium that exists both through time and within the subjective point of view of an artist, instead of just one or the other. Like a stage production, video is made up of action that unfolds over a certain duration. Like a still image, it captures an ultra-specific perspective within a set frame. But through editing, these dual facets merge in an absolutely singular way: By showing audiences a series of choreographed perspectives over one continuous span of time.
All of this boils down to a single, simple concept: Editing allows you to show audiences exactly what you want, when you want.
The development of editing took more than a century to reach its current state. Take a look at early films from the 1910s and 20s for examples of how video editing had to gradually evolve over time – and to appreciate what we are able to achieve now with just a simple click. Today, thanks to digital technology, advanced editing techniques are accessible for every aspiring content creator. But the easier editing becomes, the more important it is to maintain an extremely high standard of quality for your branded video content.
Here are our five best tips and tricks for content marketers, to help your videos stand out from the pack and make a strong impression on potential consumers everywhere.
Even before you begin the editing process, there are a wide array of different pieces of editing software for you to choose from. Like any craftsperson, you must make your selection with great care. Depending on the scale of your project, your budget, and your general editing proficiency, different tools will suit your purpose in different ways – and biting off more than you can chew will inevitably come back to bite you in return.
If all you need are the bare essentials, programs like iMovie, Windows Movie Maker, or even YouTube’s free video editor will be enough. At a higher level, you’ll require more advanced (and expensive) software like Adobe Creative Cloud’s Premiere Pro, which has even been used to edit feature films. Adobe Premiere Elements and Final Cut Pro X are great “prosumer” options that fall somewhere in the middle, for those with a basic understanding who still want to create top-notch video content.
The least fun part of editing–and one of the most important–is organizing all of your raw footage, audio, etc.. Every editor has a different organizational system that works best for them, but no serious pro would ever leave all their files in one messy heap. Needing to carefully pick through a drive like a hermit crab might set you back hours – and even worse, can result in your overlooking key pieces of content amidst the flurry!
As boring as it sounds, the best first step is always going to be watching (and listening) through everything that you have. At the same time, you can start sorting files by their content and their quality; then, when the actual editing starts, all of your favorite takes will already be compiled for convenient perusal. Consider sorting all your files into different folders, and then demarkating them with a strategic naming system or (if your software allows it) color coding. The less time that you need to spend sorting which footage is what in the moment, the more you can focus on the editing itself.
We’ve mentioned them already, but just in case you don’t know, “cuts” are the moments when a video switches between different pieces of footage – or moments within the same footage. While cuts do ultimately serve a utilitarian purpose, the simple act of switching between shots, scenes, or perspectives is still a creative choice. The manner that you choose to cut–when, where, and how–is one of the biggest decisions that a professional editor must make.
Carefully consider whether you want to emphasize or obscure each cut. If you are trying to make an important point, a dramatic, high-contrast cut (for both visuals and sound) is a powerful way to redirect your audience’s attention. But if you are trying to keep your video content flowing smoothly and unobtrusively, experiment with cuts that are less noticeable. These can be especially useful for covering up errors or slight changes in your footage. For example, rather than linger on a speaker’s face for an unbroken stretch of time, try cutting away to a title card, and then back to a wider angle on them. This will add a subtle sense of kineticism without breaking your pacing or flow.
Almost everybody has heard of slow-motion before; think of “speed ramping” as its much cooler, next-generation cousin. With speed ramping, you can sleekly shift your footage from regular speed to high-definition slow- or fast-motion, then return back to its original speed again within the same shot. The result is simple, but effective – just double-check in advance that your footage is being recorded at 120 frames per second (or more) to guarantee a smooth, non-flickering image during playback.
Speed ramping is a great way to draw attention to specific aspects of your content, especially actions that might otherwise be too quick and/or subtle for audiences to notice. If you have to break down various steps in a process that your brand’s product is involved in, speed ramping can illustrate that product’s usage while still conveying an overall sense of efficiency. Additionally, it’s a terrific tool for improving the overall pace of your video. Wherever your footage slacks or moves too quickly, try implementing a quick speed ramp to get things back on track!
We’ve already discussed the importance of choosing your music carefully whenever you create video content. An expertly-curated soundtrack can add oodles of production value to your video, even if the music itself is just a public domain track. But even the best possible score needs to be precisely integrated with your editing if you want to unlock its full potential. Otherwise, these two elements will co-exist awkwardly, without furthering your brand narrative.
As a general rule, don’t continually cut on the beat unless you want your video to feel like a music video. Doing so once or twice can be effective for making transitions pop, but as is the case for all stylized editing, the effect wears thin with repetition. And remember, if your video includes both music and dialogue (or other diegetic sounds) you also need to make sure that your audio mix is up to scratch – don’t drown out important information just because you think audiences will appreciate your song selection.
Taken together, these editing tips and tricks will help you elevate your video content at its most structural level. Just remember, the best editing does not call attention to itself – instead, it fits the content around it so perfectly that audiences cannot imagine it any other way. So the next time that your brand has a video to make, discover the perfect intersection of editing and content by collaborating with Lemonlight for high-quality, affordable video content!