How to Make Great Video: Video Editing

Video production tips

Part of an on-going series about how to make great videos, without needing specialized tools. Read more here.
Last time, we looked at some slightly more advanced ways to get great quality audio. So now, you should have a completed video! Well, almost complete. It’s tempting to just post as soon as you’re done filming, but a little light editing can make a world of difference.
For a professional shoot, we’d now go into what’s called “post-production”, where all the editing magic happens. We’re not all professional video editors, and we’re not going to get that fancy. But there are some simple tools you can use to make your video feel more polished.

Some Very Basic Video Editing Techniques

The easiest thing to do may be trimming. Most likely, your video starts earlier than you want it to, when you turned the camera on and got into position. It probably ends later than you want, too, since you had to stop the recording.
So let’s get rid of that. Most basic editing software includes a trim tool. Trimming is shortening your video by trimming off the beginning and the ending of your video. Or you can take a clip.

But say you need to get rid of something from the middle of the video–you made a mistake or someone interrupted you. That’s what the chopping tool is for. But be careful. If you chop out a section, make sure you get back to the same screen. If you’re using a camera and you have to chop, you’ll want to find a way to cover it. Otherwise, you’ll magically to a new position on camera, and it’s going to be really jarring. One option is to insert a title card so that when you come back to the shot, it’s natural that you’re not in the exact same position.

Slightly Less Basic Video Editing

What if you have access to slightly more advanced tools?
We’re not talking full professional software. But these days, there are a lot of free and inexpensive video editing tools out there. And there’s still some fairly easy edits than can make your final video feel a lot more polished.


Adding music can do a lot to establish a mood and add energy to a video. It’s also helpful for covering some flaws in the audio, like slight background noise. Make sure you adjust the volume so you can still hear yourself talking over the music.
But be careful. If you’re planning to make your video public, be sure to choose royalty-free music unless you want to court take-down notices.

Title Cards

Another nice thing to add is titles or end screens. Titles are a great way to emphasize part of your messaging. This makes your video feel a little more polished and also helps the end not feel as abrupt.
You can also use title cards in the middle to add emphasis, break up chapters, or cover awkward cuts.


Another good practice is adding captions. These can be done by machine transcription or by human transcribers, depending on how important exact accuracy is to you. Good captions will not only make your video more engaging and improve accessibility, it will also give you useful metadata for SEO purposes. That lets potential viewers to search for keywords that appear inside the video.


Speaking of metadata–don’t forget to fill out all the fields. The more metadata your video has, the easier it will be to discover. Think about the topics the video covers and what might lead someone to want to watch it. Then make sure your description and tags include those keywords.


When you upload your video, players will often choose a thumbnail for you automatically. You should customize your own thumbnail to pick the image you think is going to be most engaging and attractive for your audience. It could be the title slide, or an image from the middle of the video that you like. Let’s face it – what the computer automatically picks is rarely the image that will attract the most viewers. Make sure your audience doesn’t leave before the video even starts.

Adding Polish to Your Video

You’ve worked hard to record a great video. Now that you’ve added the final touches, you’ve got something you can really be proud of! Now get that video up where your audience can find it…and start thinking about the next video!

Like this post? Read from the beginning of the series.

Read more about video accessibility.

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