Getting Started with Video Editing

Overview #

There are many video editing tools out there, and you should use what you are most comfortable with. If you have no experience with video editing, this page includes tool recommendations and basic tips to help you get started.

Beginner-Friendly Tools #

These tools are easy to get started with but may lack some useful features the Advanced Tools have. Check out our DKC guides for these free tools:

Advanced Tools #

These tools are some of the most powerful you can find for this type of project but may be overwhelming for a beginner. Some of these tools require purchase or subscription. Check out our guides to find out more:

Tips and Tricks #

  1. Record more footage than you THINK you need. Let the camera run a bit before and after you start speaking, and do multiple takes even if you think you nailed it. It is always better to have extra footage that doesn’t get used than to start editing your video and realize you need to go back and rerecord.
  2. Use descriptive labels while editing. It might be easy to keep track of footage and files when working on a smaller project, but the more complex the video, the more important descriptive labels are. It is always better to get into the habit of using descriptive labels from the beginning.  
  3. Learn keyboard shortcuts for your software. Every video editing software has keyboard shortcuts for commonly used functions (play, trim, divide clip, etc.). These are extremely helpful while editing because they speed up the process tremendously.  

Common Mistakes #

  1. Using inconsistent Audio. Make sure to check your audio levels throughout the editing process. Nothing is more alarming than watching a video and being scared by a sudden jump in audio, or being annoyed by the volume changing often.
  2. Music doesn’t fit the scene. Be sure to select appropriate music or background noise for your video. One way to avoid this would be to focus on the edits first, and then go back and add audio after.

Accessibility Considerations #

  • Always include closed captions
  • If you are using an auto-caption service (like YouTube) go back and clean up the captions after they are generated
  • Describe visual elements verbally 
  • Share a transcript (a document containing all spoken text in the video) along with your video
  • When recording, place a microphone close to the speaker so you can record clean audio
  • When recording, place lighting in front of the subject so they can be clearly seen
  • When recording, avoid intense backlight that can make it hard for your subject to be seen
  • Include flash and strobe warnings when necessary
  • Make sure any graphics and text have high contrast with the background (use white text if the background is dark, for example)
  • See our Accessible Video guide for more info

Want More Help? #

Reviewed by Anastasia Zanyuk 06/01/22

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