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10 Effective Video Editing Tips for Beginners to Improve Easily

If you’re looking for simple skills that will take your content to a professional level. 10 video editing tips to make the most out of your footage effectively
Stephen Robles
Video & Podcast Creator
Last Updated:
April 21, 2023
Reviewed by
Ortal Hadad

Video editing allows you to fix, change and put your creative stamp on your work. 

If you want to give your viewers the best watching experience, it’s crucial to edit your videos. It helps you tell a story with your work and can make a massive difference in the quality of your content.

If you’re new to editing, we’ve got 10 tips for video editing to get you started. Expanding your skills will help you create the narrative you’re aiming for.

Why is video editing important?

An unedited video is like a book without a cover – it’s missing an essential finishing touch that brings everything together. If you don’t edit your videos, your content can give off the impression of being less professional, lower quality, and more amateur. About 3.7m videos are uploaded to YouTube each day. This makes it all the more important to stand out from the crowd with well-edited content.

Recording video footage is the first step to telling a story or spreading a message. Editing makes that content enjoyable for the viewer to watch. Every editing decision you make, from a cut to background music, can enhance the viewing experience. This will help you achieve better audience retention rates and grow followers. 

10 Best Video Editing Tips for Beginners

It’s hard to learn how to edit when you’re a beginner. There’s so much information out there, and a lot of it’s pretty complicated! This list is for you if you’re looking for simple skills that will take your content to a professional level. Our 10 video editing tips and tricks will show you how to make the most out of your footage effectively.

1.  Remove unusable footage

What is unusable footage? Well, it includes everything from mistakes like misspoken words to shots where the background noise is too loud to hear the speaker. Although you can sometimes save footage, cutting these sections is usually the best solution. After all, you don’t want a reduced-quality video because of a few rough sections.

You can remove footage by selecting the problem area – for example, the beginning of the recording when you set up the camera and adjust the angle. Video editing software will allow you to delete the highlighted section. With Riverside, this process is simple - you can easily remove sections of your video with our text-based editor. We use Ai transcriptions of your recording where any text you delete in these transcripts, removes the matching video and audio in your actual recording. You'll get precise video cuts in less than half the time.

 2. Pace the video well

Pace refers to the speed and consistency of your video. A common problem video makers face is balancing their video’s pace. While it’s natural for a video to be faster in some places and slower in others, a constantly changing pace is uncomfortable to watch.

You can create a sense of pace by using cuts. Slower-paced scenes will usually be longer, with fewer cuts, while fast scenes have more cuts that are closer together.

When you’re editing, consider the rhythm and atmosphere of your video. You should aim to move viewers smoothly from one scene to the next. The speed of each scene should match its tone, such as a fast clip for an urgent message. 

3. Balance audio levels

Audio is just as important as visuals when it comes to video editing. Distorted or unbalanced audio can even make a video unwatchable, so don’t forget this tip when you’re editing!

You must try your best to capture high-quality audio when recording. It will then be easier to balance your audio in postproduction. Balanced audio simply means that the audio levels in your recording don’t suddenly spike or dip too sharply, which can cause discomfort for your listener.

To balance your audio, prioritize the sound of people talking. Make sure the audio levels of speech in your video are fairly consistent. You’ll need to listen out for imbalances in the audio between different speakers. When recording with multiple people, some audio tracks can come out louder and clearer than others. It’s a good idea to make these as consistent as possible in post production.

Once you fix voice levels, adjust music and sound effects to create a smooth, clear listening experience.

Read more: Best Audio Editing Software for All Levels and Budgets (2024) 

4. Record in separate tracks 

A track refers to the audio recorded through a person’s microphone. Whether you have two people or twelve in your video, record each person’s audio individually. Multitrack recording is a great idea because it gives you more editing flexibility. 

For example, you can control the volume of each person’s audio separately. If one person sounds much louder than another, you can create more consistency in noise levels. You can also cut sections from or mute individual tracks to eliminate unwanted sounds like distortion and background noise.

 Learn more: How to Record Audio and Video Separately For Smooth Syncing 

5. Use cutaways

Cutaways are when one shot changes to another to show a different person or location. They are one of the most common effects used by editors to alter the pace of a scene, draw attention to something, or keep a viewer’s attention. They will be an essential part of your editing toolkit!

An example of when to use a cutaway is during a conversation. Here the shots change to show who is speaking or reacting. Cutaways create a sense of dynamic movement in a scene.

6. Trim your clips

Clips that are too long can have the unfortunate effect of losing your viewer’s attention. A scene that drags on, or periods of extended silence between people talking, creates a kind of dead space in your video.

You don’t want to give your viewers reasons to click away from your content. To keep them engaged, trim your clips. By this, we mean paying attention to the beginning and end of a scene, conversation, or atmospheric shot. Is there anything there that isn’t needed? Ideally, you only want to keep footage that’s essential to your video's pace, story, or atmosphere. Anything else you should snip away!

7. Add Captions

There are several reasons to add captions to your video. They make your content more accessible to those who speak other languages or are hard of hearing. Captions can also help clarify speech in your video if the speakers have strong accents or are in noisy locations. You might be surprised that captions have even more benefits. They can help boost your rankings in search results, and they can make your video’s message more memorable.

 So, how can you add captions? 

Aside from manually entering them, some software will create captions for you. Alternatively, you can create your own captions from transcripts, which are text files of all the spoken words in a video. 

Did you know you can transcribe videos straight after recording with Riverside? Riverside producers accurate transcripts in over 100 languages with just he click of  a button. Learn more or try transcribing your own video!

8. Color correction

If you’ve never heard of color correction before, don’t panic. You might have done some color correcting before when editing photos. It simply refers to editing contrast or brightness in your video to make the coloring appear more natural.

Why is color correcting important? Color correction makes your footage resemble the natural colorings of the world. This makes your video more pleasing to the eye, as well as more watchable. 

 9. Use a variety of shots

Varying your shots is a great way to keep your viewer on their toes. Switching angles, such as from a close-up to a wide shot, is visually engaging. When you record your video, aim to shoot a scene from at least two angles. When you edit, this will give you lots of scope to switch between shots.

However, you should be careful with this tip. Switching shots too many times creates an uncomfortable, dizzying effect. To keep your video slick and exciting, use varied shots sparingly.

10. Cut during action scenes

You can make cuts by removing footage to progress a scene more quickly, or jump from one shot to another. YouTubers frequently use cuts to remove pauses in videos and create a fast pace to their content. However, just using cuts isn’t the answer to increasing viewer engagement. In fact, knowing when to cut is essential.

A useful tip is to cut during an action scene, such as someone walking down the street. You could cut the footage partway through the action, then show the person further down the road or from a different angle. This type of cut is highly effective because it gives the impression of movement within just a few seconds. The watcher’s mind will naturally fill in the gap between one shot and another, creating a fluid feel to your video.

Dos and Don’ts of Video Editing

As well as tips and tricks for video editing, there are some habits every good editor should practice!  To avoid falling into any traps in postproduction, check out these dos and don’ts of video editing. 


Focus on storytelling

When editing, it is essential to have a vision or end goal. This helps you be purposeful with your cuts, angles, and scenes. Focus on the story you’re trying to tell or the message you aim to spread. By doing this, you will naturally create a more consistent video.

Check your analytics

Take a look at the insights into your viewers’ behavior. Do watchers tend to click off after the first minute? Which parts of your video do people tend to skip? You should search for patterns in your analytics. This will give you an idea of what to edit. For example, you could shorten the length of your videos to retain attention.

Review the next day

It can be hard to schedule a time to edit. Many content creators make the mistake of rushing their edits so that they can post a video on time. If possible, finish your edits at least the day before you need to post. This gives you time to sleep on your video and review it with a fresh brain. Having a clear perspective of your work will help you better understand how a stranger will see it.  


Overdo jump cuts and sound effects

It can be so tempting to go overboard with editing. It’s easy to get hooked on the thought that more cuts or sound effects will grab your audience’s attention. But it’s all about getting the right balance. If you add too many effects, you’ll bombard your viewer. Remember that sometimes less is more.

Use the wrong music

You might be wondering how music can be “wrong”. Well, it comes down to the atmosphere of your video. For example, putting calm or light-hearted music over a dramatic action scene can take away from the tone of your video. You must also be wary of which music you use, so you don’t incur a copyright violation.

Forget to save and backup your work

There is no worse feeling than making some great changes to your video in post-production, only to find that you saved nothing. Set up automatic saving on your device, and back up the latest version of your video on an external hard drive. This way, your work will always be safe.

How can I get better at video editing?

The road to becoming an editing aficionado can take some time. As a beginner, the very best thing you can do is practice! A great way to do this is by recording some footage to experiment with. This could be intended for a video or as a learning experience. 

Make sure to shoot your practice footage from multiple angles, both indoors and outdoors, with more than one person in some scenes. This will give you lots to play with in post-production. From there, experiment with our 10 video editing tips and see how they change your recording. Once you are familiar with the basics, you’ll be able to show off your creativity in your edits.

FAQs on Video Editing Tips

What should you avoid in video editing?

When it comes to editing videos, there are a few mistakes to avoid. Errors that beginners commonly make include: using copyrighted music, poor sound quality, shaky camerawork, and unbalanced audio. If you can avoid these common pitfalls, your video will have better quality. 

What are the stages of video editing?

Video editing usually consists of several stages, including: reviewing footage, cutting and pacing, balancing audio and correcting color, and previewing the final version. However, over time most video makers develop a personal editing process. The more tips you learn, the more you can customize your editing workflow.

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