Avoid These 7 Common Video Editing Mistakes

Here are 7 common video editing mistakes that can be corrected in post production process.

Creating a video can feel daunting. There are many mistakes that will be made along the way.

But a lot of mistakes can be corrected with a few simple tweaks in post-production editing. Don’t let mistakes intimidate you- some of the best new video editing “techniques” have come from mistakes.

To save you time and energy, here are 7 common video editing mistakes that can be corrected in post production process:

1. Poor Audio / Inconsistent Audio

On your timeline, there will usually be two to three audio components. Music, voice and  clips audio. If you do not need audio from the original clip, the first thing you can do is turn that off. In Camtasia, you can turn that off by right clicking and selecting “separate audio and video” then just delete or hide the audio track.

Newbie editors often have their music track overpowering their other tracks. Make sure the music blends in with your voice talent, or sits just below the voice. Pay special attention to your final edit by focusing on the sound.

Pro Tip:

Close your eyes and just listen to your video. If it sounds off, it needs to be adjusted regardless of how amazing your footage is!

How To Fix:

Most video editors have audio control right on the track. Adjust the audio until the voice and music harmoniously blend together without one sounding more powerful than the other.

Sometimes, you may not realize there’s an audio issue until you’re in the post-production stage. One of the most common things to fix in video editing in post production is the audio coming from our subject who is speaking on camera.

For example, if they made three points in their video, but they were made in the wrong order:

Our narrator said, “With the newest version of our software you can do A, B, and C.”

But they were supposed to say, “you can do B, A, and C.”

Here’s what you can do:

Place your audio clip into your video editor’s timeline (in the gif below we use TechSmith Camtasia). Cut the offending clip at the beginning and end, and move it. You can use the audio waveform as a visualization of the words. If the person spoke clearly and concisely this will be easy. You can also learn some basic audio mixing tips if you want to delve deeper at this point.

Or if you don’t want to change what they said, but need to hasten their point, or cut out some embarrassing “um’s” and “ah’s.” In that case, you’re going to want to use the old standard of adding b-roll (extra) footage over your audio to hide any cuts. If you haven’t read our post on b-roll, give it a look to better understand this important video editing standard.

2. The Jump Cut

Every editing technique has its time and place. The jump cut is a tried and true way to accomplish the goal of editing, which is to collapse time. Jump cuts are used to save time and push the story forward. This style is often overused by newbies because they don’t know what other cuts to use. It’s especially evident when you take a single shot and just cut time out of the same frame, thus making the character appear as if they magically moved into a different position in the same scene.

Pro Tip:

Explore other editing options. Such as setting up another camera angle and cutting to a different angle in the same scene, or providing a transition so the viewer is less jarred.

How to fix:

There are a ton of different types of cutting styles out there and you’ll need to begin to understand how to use these as you move forward in your editing adventure. Take a look at the 8 essential cuts every editor should know blog post put together by Premiumbeat.com.

As you can see frame one the subject in the background is on the left, then in the frame immediately following the subject in the background is on the right. Trying to collapse time with this cutting technique is sometimes jarring to the viewer.

3. Incomplete Transitions

This video editing mistake happens when the length of your transition is longer than the previous clip. Often times an editor will place the transition between two clips and one of the clips does not extend long enough. The previous clip drops and briefly shows the viewer a black screen between the transition. Similar to the image below.

Pro Tip:

Make sure your previous clips are long enough or adjust your transition time.

How to fix:

Camtasia makes it very easy to trim your video clips. After you have set the proper length, just drag and drop a transition on. Often times you will see incomplete transitions using “wipe transitions”, this can be fixed by simply extending the previous clip.

As you can see the black space on the left side of the video is where the previous clip drops before the transition is complete.

4. Music Doesn’t Fit

Have you ever seen a video that has slow music but fast paced footage, or the opposite? Quick cutting techniques and quick camera movements need to have corresponding high tempo and high energy music. There is nothing worse than watching a sad emotional scene with Pharrell’s – Happy in the background. Make sure when you sit down to edit your video, you have your scenes mapped out so that your music choices fit the mood of your scenes.

Pro Tip:

Focus on your edit first, then find music that fits your edit.

How to fix:

There are plenty of stock and royalty free music sites out there for you to use. Most of them provide a way to filter by genre or mood, so that you can find the right track for the occasion. We’ve compiled a short list of sites for your use. Keep in mind that if your producing anything commercially, you may have to license these tracks for an extended period of time.

Premiumbeat: This site is fantastic for newbie video editors and is easily navigable. You’ll find a wide range of musical tracks to choose from, with artists continually refreshing the lineup.

Musicbed: A more professional site often used by filmmakers and commercial brands alike. This site features higher quality tracks often with supreme vocal talent.

Audio Jungle: Similar to Premiumbeat in that it offers a very wide selections. Great for social media and marketing videos.

5. Inconsistent Graphics

Nobody expects you to be a graphic designer, but you should make sure your fonts, font colors and sizing are consistent throughout your entire video. The biggest error newbies make when adding text and styling to their productions is using different fonts, different font colors and adding colors that distract the viewer from the content.

Pro Tip:

Select a font and stick with it. Use it throughout your video for lower thirds, title cards and more. Pick a color palette and stick with it. Change your creative where it fits. If you find yourself saying, “but it looks cute!” it probably needs to be changed.

How To Fix:

Take a look at some tutorials on how to add animation and effects to your graphics or text in Camtasia.

As you can see in this image the text is incredibly distracting if not just hard to read. Standard practice usually calls for a nice sans serif font that is legible and isn’t hard for the viewer to read.

6. Removing Sensitive Information

Let’s say you’re using screen recordings to give instruction or train new employees. It’s easy to accidentally capture private information in your screen recording. Software such as Camtasia, gives you the option to create an area-specific blur in your video. Now you can better conceal that information.

Pro Tip: 

When using the blur tool, think about whether it’s to hide or highlight information! The blur tool not only allows you to protect your personal information, but can draw attention to particular areas of your video.

How to fix: 

Take a look at this tutorial that shows you different ways you can “blur it out.”

7. Adjusting Your Frame

You’ve put the camera away, you’re sitting down and you seeing your video for the first time. That’s when you realize you left too much room above your subject’s head in the frame.

Pro Tip: 

Be aware of your subject’s background before hitting record. Take note of how much empty space is around them!

How to fix: 

If you filmed this at full HD (1920×1080), then you can edit your video in a 1280×720 timeline. That will maintain your aspect ratio and give you room to maneuver your shot.

Final Thoughts

If you’re just getting started editing video these tips will help you figure out how to avoid common editing mistakes and make your final piece look even more polished. The goal of your edit should always be to tell your unique story and sometimes that means you need to break some industry standards to make your piece more creative. These five tips are here solely for the purpose of helping your video look more professional. As you may know getting started is the hardest part. That’s why we put together a guide to help get you before you even start editing. Check out our post about how to make video: before starting your first video.

We’d love to hear your tips and tricks on avoiding video editing mistakes. Share your experiences with us on Facebook or Twitter.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in June 2017 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

David Patton

David Patton is the Media Coordinator for TechSmith. Follow him on Twitter @davidpatton6 Favorite things: Star Wars, iPhone, and Dr. Pepper Personal motto: "If you're at a buffet, be first and fill up your plate." Currently reading: The Art of Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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