It’s time to do it. Take that plunge. Your vacation videos are waiting. For the novice who’s ready to jump in and learn video editing for the first time, here are some tips to help you along the way.
Shooting and editing your own video, is becoming easier and easier. Having a really good video editing facility in your home is not expensive at all. Those of you who have miles of raw tape and are now ready to take your first steps into editing it down couldn’t have picked a better time for getting started. In this article, we will assume you already have the necessary gear needed to shoot your footage, and we will go over some steps you need in order to make your raw footage look polished and professional with basic computer needs to get started editing.
One of the first things you need to consider when you begin to learn video editing is the bare basic gear you’ll need. First, of course, is a computer – either a Mac or Windows PC will do. It will probably be OK to start with an older one, but newer computers are more robust and faster. Video editing and compression take up a lot of processing power, and slower CPUs may struggle to keep up. Once you are comfortable with the process, you can do some research to see which computer upgrade best suits your needs.
You’ll need a program that will save your footage on your computer. Windows has Movie Maker and Apple has iMovie; both get the job done.
You need to connect your camcorder to your computer either via a FireWire cable, which is most likely on your Mac, or a USB cable, which will be on both a Windows PC and a Mac.
Open either iMovie or Windows Movie Maker, go to your camcorder and start capturing (procedure varies by program and version; don’t be afraid to open your help menu to get your bearings.)
You can save your raw footage in its entirety, or you can save only what you really want.
Now you need to edit your raw footage down to something useable. If you’re new to editing, take your time and don’t worry – if you cut something you did not want to or you make a mistake, you can always undo it. What you basically want to do is cut out the long rambling shots, and the stuff that’s unnecessary to tell your story well.
Save and export your finished movie. Deciding on what format to use for saving your final work will depend on what you want to do with it. QuickTime is standard for Mac computers, but Windows PCs can play QuickTime too. AVI is a nice solid choice, and you can play it on either format.
Video editing is one of those tasks that require both right-brain and left-brain activity because it combines both technical knowledge and creative skills. At first, editing is going to feel quite complicated, and you might become frustrated by the technical detail. You know what you creatively want to perform, and can’t seem to make it happen. Don’t worry, even the hard-core pro started out confused by all the minutiae. Take it one step at a time, one finessing tweak at a time, and eventually you’ll find editing is one of the most satisfying hobbies you can do on a computer. Once the editing bug has bitten, you’re going to find you’ll spend a lot more time tweaking some shots, and realize others don’t need as much attention. Just jump in with both feet and get editing, you’ll love it as much as all of the Videomaker staff, writers and readers do.
John Devcic is a freelance writer and videographer.
As always, Videomaker has a large collection of technical and technique conversations going on 24/7 on our Forums in our online Videomaker community. Go there first, and our many varied readers and users can help you out.