(If you aren’t new to making video, read this and share it with a newbie.)

You newcomers will soon find that making video isn’t as difficult as you think. Sure, there’s quite a bit to learn before you get a thorough grasp of the basics. But once you understand them, you’ll find that (with some diligent effort) you can produce quality programs just like those on TV. And like any skill, you’ll find that videomaking is only going to get easier–not just because you’ll develop your skills as you gain experience, but because equipment is getting easier to operate.

There are many companies actively trying to design and manufacture video equipment that enables people to edit with a minimum of effort and training. These companies are concentrating on making the interface more user friendly; fewer buttons and more power is the name of the game. For many of these companies, computers are at the core of this effort. Recently, PCs have become more user friendly while achieving the power required to handle digital video. Other companies are refining the basic video products (camcorders and VCRs) and transforming them into highly automatic agents of our creative vision.


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Nonetheless, you’ll still have to learn how to operate the gear. One area that you won’t be able to evade is the time required to edit video. Once you begin, you’ll quickly realize that editing takes a lot more time than shooting. It could take as many as ten minutes of editing time for each minute you were actually capturing video. First off, you must log (review) all the footage you’ve shot. This alone is a time-consuming process. There aren’t any shortcuts, other than using the fast forward button. If you have a good memory or keep detailed notes while shooting, you’ll be able to avoid reviewing footage that you won’t be using.

Another function that consumes time is choosing the exact beginning and end of every scene. This can be an exacting process, if you want high production values. Exact editing is one of the things that separates the amateur from the professional. TV viewers have grown to expect certain pacing in the way a program flows. Some video gear allows the editor to be frame accurate. There are 30 frames per second, so that’s accurate up to one thirtieth of a second.

The process of refining your edits is sometimes called trimming, which is another time-consuming process. You may have to watch each segment of video many times to locate the exact place where the edit should occur. Each edit involves the end of the previous scene and the beginning of the next, so you may be adjusting two scenes to make each edit.

After you’ve made your decisions, you’ll want to preview or actually execute the edit several times to be sure that it flows. Prior to watching the edit, you are calling upon your imagination to judge the edit. Once the trimming is complete, you’ll actually see how well your imagination worked. Usually, for beginners, additional adjustments or retrimming may be necessary. Even after this adjustment, you may find yourself tweaking things again after you see the edit in the context of the whole scene. Eventually, you’ll watch the entire program, quite possibly spotting edits that need a few final adjustments.

Depending upon the length of the program and the number of edits per minute, you could be spending quite a bit of time making hundreds of edits for a quality video. Compared to the instant gratification of shooting video, editing delivers delayed gratification. Videomaking is a craft and like any other, good work requires diligent effort and plenty of time and patience. It’s well worth it.

There is no feeling quite like watching your completed work, especially with an appreciative audience. The fulfillment that you get is tremendous. Don’t be afraid to plunge into the rewarding but challeging process of editing. Remember–if you’re new to this, Videomaker is here to help.

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