1. Create a Project Directory
When it is the first time for you to edit a large project the temptation can be to put everything on your Desktop and try to ‘wing it’. In a few words; this is not a good idea. Each time you start an editing project you need to create a ‘project directory’.
This is not rocket science. Create a project folder, in the folder create more folders for the likes of Music, Photos, Footage, and so on. Next take all of your material and put each one into the right folder. Giving each file a brief label is also a good idea but if you really don’t have the 4itme for this don’t worry. When it comes to the actual project file (you may be using Premiere or iMovie, it really doesn’t matter) you can just place it straight into the directory without creating a sub-folder.
Now that you have created a Project Directory, your project is going to feel a lot more organized and everything will be easily accessible. There is nothing like being able to find what you want straight away.
2. Copies Are Your Friend
Our hearts miss at least one beat when we even think about a hard drive that has done the unforgivable; failed. Here is a vital tip: keep yourself a copy in a different location. Cloud storage could work, but it can take up a lot of time when you are dealing with video. Keeping one copy on your computer and another on a different hard drive is often the best route.
Once you have finished the project but still want to archive everything, keep the files on a different hard drive altogether and delete them from your main computer. Granted, you may never suffer from a failed hard drive, but it really isn’t worth taking the risk.
3. Cut The Rubbish
Putting a clip on your timeline the way it stands is the easiest thing to do. But the easiest route is not always the best route. Find the best moment and then trim the rest. Who really wants to watch a boring open field before the big moment? Think of your audience and edit with them in mind. Get unlimited video editing.
4. Make Wise Tool Choices
You need to think about control when you are deciding on a video editor. If you simply need something that will allow you to put a few clips together and add titles then you will likely find that the YouTube video editor or the likes of Windows Movie Maker or iMovie will provide all the tools that you need.
However, if you want to layer videos or do other more complex ventures, you are going to need to look at a tool such as Adobe Creative Cloud’s Premiere Pro (this is actually what is used to edit the latest movies, like Gone Girl). Do keep in mind though that these types of editors require a learning curve. It can be a better idea to start off with an introductory editor like Final Cut Pro X or Sony Vegas and then move up.
You will also find that there is an abundance of tips on YouTube and Vimeo, all you need to do is a quick search.
5. Don’t Go For Jumpcuts
When you are filming an interview and the interviewee has that annoying habit of saying ‘um’ every two seconds it can be very frustrating. However, you do not need to despair as these moments can be cut and layers of extra video clips that are related can cover these annoying moments (these are called cutaways or b-roll). If you take your time over this your audience will get the impression that the interviewee said everything perfectly.
Doing this will require a more advanced editing system such as Adobe Premiere or Final Cut (Final Cut Pro X keyboard shortcuts). You can’t do video layering in iMovie but you can with Prosumer editors.
6. Capture The Sound With A Second Source
The sound will always be better with something other than the camera. If you can, use a separate recording system and a better microphone for the audio. If you know someone who is skilled in live sound then get to them to do the recording separately and then you can sync the audio (you will need a non-linear editor for this). This can be done by matching the waveforms by eye, clapping, or making use of the likes of PluralEyes. You will also find that Adobe Premiere CC has a similar built-in tool.
The typical low-end editors will not be up for this task. If need be, get a microphone that can be plugged into the camera itself. This is an easy solution that will give you better audio, the bottom line is to do whatever you need to do so that you don’t have to use the on-camera microphone as your primary sound source.
If you really want to provide great audio then take a look at the best shotgun mics.
7. Keep Your Shots Varied
You want to focus on keeping your content interesting for your audience. Instead of keeping in the same shot for the whole video, try to get more interesting angles. It can be as easy as recording the interview with two cameras and switching between each (this also works well to cover up those annoying ‘um’ moments).
All that being said, cuts do need to be used sparingly. Don’t be tempted to cut every other second. One good rule to use is to make use of cuts when people pause during speech or based on the music beats. If you have a cutting habit that can bring on an epileptic seizure, you are definitely overdoing things