Video Editing Tips

While I may not be able to get out and ride myself I have been able to live vicariously through the videos of others. Last week Adam went with his friends to the neighbouring ski resort of Rusutsu. He then asked me afterwards to put it together. Not all of the tips below were able to be applied for this as I wasn’t involved until after filming.


So what are my top tips for getting a great video?

Plan your clips in advance

Some video’s you may want to turn into a montage like the example above, in others you may want to tell a story. Regardless, you need to set the scene. This means filming ‘fill’: clips that are not directly relevant to the story or are not full of action, but give your film a sense of place. Think amazing scenery, the journey to the place you did a thing, your morning routine, or even just walking around, all these things may be boring to you or filming may be a low priority at that moment, but they can all help to give atmosphere.  I wish there had been a little more fill to use in Adam’s video.

What Video Editing Software to use

This is a tough one. I used to extol the virtues of GoPro Studio, but this is no longer an option so at some point I will probably fork out for a paid option. In the meantime I will continue to use freeware, which has some definite drawbacks…

(For Mac users: I hear iMovies is actually pretty good, but I don’t have first hand experience.)

GoPro Quik: I really want to like this programme. It’s available on your phone and desktop and in theory is super quick and easy to produce a high quality video. The problem is there is only one time that I have successfully created anything in it:

I find the app incredibly frustrating because I know how I want the video to be and it doesn’t provide me with enough control to achieve that. You also can’t use your own music.

Windows Movie Maker: Also now discontinued, movie maker did have good features and control, but could be quite imprecise.

Windows Video Editor: Presumably the replacement to movie maker it is pretty simple to use, it is intuitive in that you can do what you want to each clip separately, you can use your own music. Drawbacks: imprecise trimming of long clips, no fade or transition options, filters are either on or off and there are limited text options. However, this is what I used for the video in the start of this post, and it takes very little time to pick it up  so I would happily recommend it for home movies.

Youtube also has a studio area but it is in the process of an overhaul at the moment and it will still probably be better to create your video offline before uploading it.


You know when you go on a trip and there’s that one song that is on the radio at the time that just gets in your head and will always remind you of that trip forever and ever?

Want to use it in your video?

Well not so fast. There are a few things you should consider first.

  1. Is your video for private use?
  2. Do you want to publish it on Youtube or Facebook?

Ok, so lets assume that you want to share your super cool vid with your friends on youtube. You don’t want to put loads of effort into making a great video only to find that youtube won’t let you upload it because it contravenes copywrite.

You have 2 options.

  1. You can go to the Youtube Audio Library and chose a song to put in your video that you know is all good in the copywrite department. This is what we did for Adam video, and it actually doesn’t take too long to find something you like.
  2. You can check out the copywrite policy of the song you want in your movie, it turns out that not all popular music is barred. However, the copywrite holder may change their policy in the future which would result in your movie being taken down from the site.

If you just want the video for your private use then the copywrite rules aren’t really relevant, and you can still share with your nearest and dearest via dropbox and google drive for example

It’s important to get the music sorted early in the editing process (if you want any at all). This sets the tone for the film and you’ll start to get a sense of what clip you may want in which order. It can also guide you as to how long your video will be which will perhaps help you prioritise or determine how brutal you are with clip selection.

Clip Selection

This can be hard if you are sentimental about the event you have filmed, but I have some steps that I go through:

  • Show the purpose of the video; if its someones birthday show them blowing out the candles and opening a few presents. Chose your highlights, they are not necessarily planned, they can be funny or completely aside from the main ‘plot’. Did the dog run off with a cuddly toy?
  • Set the scene; are the whole family there? Is there lots of tasty food? Is there a big preparation process? These can also be highlights, for example if your video is a new years party then you might have a clip of people having a good time that was just a general part of the night rather than specific to  midnight. It’s also good to give a sense of the main “characters” in the film.
  • Make sure the video is representative. This means making sure that there are clips of everyone that was there that day in the final product, no one likes to feel left out, especially if you are sharing your video once complete.

Now compare the length of footage you have selected with the music you have and you will find you probably have about 5x as much!

Trimming your clips

Each clip you selected might be 3-4 minutes long but you actually only want to use 30 seconds of it in your video. In some circumstances, the beginning and end of each clip timing won’t be that important to you, in which case you can load all of the clips into your project first. But if timing matters to you, it can be worth trimming your clips first. This will give you greater control of the clip length once loaded into the project as well as making the project less memory hungry in your computer which will make the programme run a little faster. I would still recommend being lenient in your cropping at this stage to give yourself a little wiggle room in the final edit. It’s easier to remove more than start again.

Final Edit

This is where it all comes together, you decide what order to put your clips in and fine tune your trim points. Think about clip transitions falling on the beat of the music and highlights occurring at times where the music gets particularly emotional (like a crescendo or drop). It helps with this one to work slowly from start to finish, as going back and changing things at the start will effect timings further along the timeline.

Make sure you have ‘story arc’, think about having intro-story-out. The clips don’t need to be chronological, it is not a test of accuracy but a form of artistic representation, let yourself be a little abstract! Those fill clips are great for intros and also to create a break when your plot moves from one point to the next.

When you are done, don’t forget to export your video to save it as a .mp4 which you can then share with your friends and family.


So that’s it, you can definitely get more technical and it is really easy to spend hours and hours creating a 3 minute video. But if you want to bash out something fun then it needn’t be any more complicated than this.

H x

Do you have any other tips? Then comment below




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