How To Edit Video Like A Pro

a man sitting on front of the computer while editing video

The magic is in the editing.

You might have remarkable footage of your event or organization, but if the visuals and audio aren’t stitched well together, you are in trouble. We have all been there!

Prior to starting Team Trust, I was a producer and editor for the Big Ten Network. It was awesome, and I had the opportunity to collaborate on a couple feature-length films that won Emmys.

While I didn’t get the Emmys — they went to the producers of those films — I did get plenty of lessons, and I want to share them with you to help you make content that touches hearts and encourages people to get involved in your organization.

These tips, I believe, can be implemented at no additional cost.

Believing Is Seeing

You should be able to envision what the video will look like before it comes to fruition.

At the very least, you should have some sort of answer to these questions:

– What will this video talk address?

– Who will be interviewed in the video, and what should they say?

– What will the B-roll (non-interview footage) be?

You may appreciate searching YouTube for relevant examples. We do this quite a bit, actually, and we’ll search keywords (i.e. basketball, healthcare, etc.) that reflect the vision.

That’s why you should define your objectives, target audience and core message. A script or outline could help, and a shot list will help guide your videographer.

Too often, we see organizations hiring a videographer without a plan in mind. They expect the videographer to solve all their problems with stunning visuals.

You know your organization better than anyone else, and you should know what’s important for your audience to learn, see and feel from your video.

Select the Right Tools

Once the videographer gets the footage, you might encounter a little snag: How is the videographer supposed to share the footage with you? It’s too big for Google Drive, and you don’t have any platform to share the material.

If you are sharing your footage internally, like with yourself and maybe your executive director, I think a hard drive is fine. You can get a 1 TB drive for $49. 1 TB should suffice for a couple of projects.

If you would like to share your footage with remote teammates or third parties, you might want to try DropBox. We’ve used it quite a bit, and our clients have found it helpful.

Beyond that, you’ll need the right video editing software. You don’t need a massive studio or high-tech gear to edit.

Adobe Premiere Rush or iMovie can do the trick, and they’re FREE. Adobe Premiere Pro is great, as well, and it’s used by most professional editors, my team included.

I would encourage you to you watch tutorials online or utilize free resources to troubleshoot problems. YouTube is great for that; it helped me pass a college stats class!

Folders On Folders On Folders

You will likely have plenty of footage, and you’ll need to keep everything organized.

It wouldn’t hurt to ask your videographer to organize the footage for you.

They could place interviews into one folder called “Interviews,” and they could name each clip with the interviewee’s name.

They could then place the B-roll into a separate folder, and they could create subfolders for groups of shots (ie a folder for “basketball game” shots and another for “mountain” shots).

Here’s how we organized our retirement project. For this project, we have more than 10,000 photos and months of video footage. It’s crucial to keep it all together, and it will help us easily access clips down the road.

A screenshot of a series of folders and subfolders in a hard drive.

Stories Stick

I would say 90 percent of all nonprofit videos I see are, well, forgettable.

That sounds cruel, I know, but these videos don’t make me feel, think or do something. Instead, they just make me learn how much an organization loves itself.

Perhaps a different, more effective approach is to focus on how much your audience benefits from you. The focus here is those you serve, not you.

If you want to create a video that resonates with your audience, strive for compelling storytelling.

Go for the heart.

When thinking about the interviewee’s life as it relates to you, identify the most engaging and impactful moments from your footage and arrange them into a coherent order.

We all have seen weight-loss commercials showing before-and-after images of a person. Think about the story you are trying to tell in that way:

– explore a person’s life before coming in contact with your organization (their struggle);

– then they started using your offerings (the transformation);

– and, lastly, they saw the benefits (the lasting impact).

Edit for Impact

As you’re thinking about the story, think about how you would like to tell it.

Should it be a fast-paced, action-packed piece? If so, I’d aim for a series of quick edits, where each shot is on the screen for a couple seconds. A little upbeat background music will be good.

If you’d like to let people absorb each moment in a more emotional vide, I would recommend letting some shots, especially ones where emotions are clearly present, stay on screen longer.

This was the case for our video of our friend, Scherrone.

We took a different, more action-oriented approach for adaptive mountain biking.

Talented editor Tom Cross talks about how mastering timing can create dynamic and engaging shot sequences that hold the audience’s attention and elevate the storytelling experience.

Further, my mentor Walter Murch recommends keeping these four things in mind when editing. In order of priority:

1. Emotion

2. Advance the story

3. The rhythm of the story

4. Following where viewers are looking

With limited time and resources, it’s crucial to make the most of every shot.

Trim unnecessary footage, remove distractions and highlight the most powerful visuals and messages. Don’t feel a need to use every shot or sound bit in your video.

Focus on the good stuff: your audience and your benefits.

These are same principles we follow, and we would certainly be more than happy to share them with you for a video project.

Published by Ryan Wilson

CEO of Team Trust

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