How to Edit a Video (Step-by-Step Guide)

How to edit a video (step-by-step)

If you already know the basics of filming video footage, you might be asking yourself: “How do I edit a video?” 

Learning how to make video edits using software such as Camtasia can lead you down an internet rabbit hole, one that can make the very idea of video editing seem like a daunting task, especially for those just starting out. However, learning how to edit videos can be as fun as it is rewarding.

Knowing how to record and produce a video from beginning to end is a useful skill to have. Not only are videos a great way to communicate a range of ideas and delve deep into a subject but they can be used by people in any industry or profession. Even teachers can create educational videos that can be made accessible and interactive to further engage their students

But, no matter what kind of video content you want to create, having a solid understanding of video editing is essential. To help you with the process of editing a video, we’ve put together this video and comprehensive guide covering everything you need to know to create jaw-dropping videos.

While every project you work on will have slightly different editing requirements, the fundamentals of video editing will largely remain the same.

When it comes to video editing software, there are many different editing suites to choose from. In this guide, we’ll focus on Camtasia, an easy-to-use screen recording and video editing tool that’s perfect for beginners and professionals alike. So, if you’re looking to create a video for your business, for your YouTube channel, or just for fun, this guide will teach you how to edit camera videos with Camtasia.

So, let’stake a deep dive into what you need to do before you begin and how easy it can be to edit any type of video using Camtasia. We’ll also take a look at some of the best editing tips and tricks to create great video content.

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Before you start editing your video

There’s more to editing video content than meets the eye. First you should prepare your footage and understand what you want your video to achieve. As with many creative projects real success relies on, planning and preparation, so let’s take a look at some of the early steps you need to take before jumping into the editing suite. 

Back-up media

The first and arguably most important step is to back up all your media and footage. If you don’t, then you risk losing everything you’ve already worked on, should an unexpected problem arise. 

It’s always best to back up your media in two or three places, including cloud storage and physical hard drives. This might sound over-the-top, but should anything happen to your computer, hard drive, or internet connection, you’ll be glad you were extra careful. 

Organize your footage

Once your media is backed up, you’ll need to organize it. This will save you time and effort when it comes to the actual editing.

There are many different ways to effectively organize your footage, and while you’ll likely find your own way, you should definitely consider taking the following two steps: 

Note the name of the shots

There are different ways to log your shots and these may vary from one project to the next. For relatively simple videos with only a few different shots, you could create a note on your phone with the shot name and a description of the footage. 

When it comes to larger and more complex projects, it may be more effective to create a spreadsheet for logging all your shots. Thanks to smartphone apps like Google Sheets, you can do this even when you’re not at your desk. 

Name your footage and media

Naming your footage and media is another way to ensure it’s easy to find and access when you start editing. One of the easiest and most popular filing methods to use is the YRMODA (Year-Month-Day) system, which will keep your files arranged in chronological order. 

With the YRMODA system, you can add tags to the file name to provide some context of what is featured in the shot. For example, if you filmed a sunset on March 13th, 2023, the file name would be 230313_Sunset.MP4.

Edit your own videos like a Pro

Camtasia is the best screen recorder and video editor on the market. Create content your viewers actually watch.

Download now

Set your goals for the video

Before you start editing, you need to have a clear idea of your video’s purpose. Think about exactly what your video is going to be about, who it’s for, and the tone you want to set. 

A family video showcasing your latest vacation is going to look very different from a training video aimed at colleagues and employees, or a product demonstration video for prospective customers. It can be really helpful to have a written script in front of you as it will help answer a lot of the questions that might occur when asking yourself these questions. 

Preview your footage and select the shots you want to use

Once you’ve organized your footage and know exactly what you want to achieve, spend some time previewing your shots and deciding which ones you actually want to use. 

This will save you the hassle of jumping between your editing suite and your video files to select footage while you’re editing, which will optimize your workflow. With Camtasia, you can preview all of your files right in the media bin. Just import the files you intend to use and then you can hover over them with your mouse to get a preview.

Pick the music you want to use

Finally, choosing music for your video is one of the more fun parts of editing preparation. 

While music might feel like a “nice-to-have”, it can have a considerable effect on your audience, including consumers. Giving your video its very own score will help keep viewers captivated, which in turn will help them absorb the information you’re providing. 

TechSmith Assets for Camtasia has literally millions of royalty-free assets such as video footage, images, and music you can add to your video project. Choose from the free assets included with Camtasia or subscribe for access to the full library.

How to edit a video using Camtasia

Jason Valade, Master Trainer at TechSmith, will give you some of the basic concepts and walk you through how to edit a video.

Discover how to edit a video using Camtasia

If you want even more content on making your first video, the full five-part course is available for free on the TechSmith Academy.

It features multiple video experts, including Owen Video (Thevideospot.net), Buddy Scalera (Content Strategist), Jason Valade, Master Trainer (TechSmith), and Amanda Robinson (Social Savvy Society).

Edit your own videos like a Pro

Camtasia is the best screen recorder and video editor on the market. Create content your viewers actually watch.

Download now

Add media to your video editor

It’s time to start editing! 

Start by importing your media files to the Media Bin iEven at this early stage, you should see the benefit of taking the time to organize your footage before editing. 

If you want to practice editing with the footage shown in the tutorial — including the intro and outro videos recorded on webcam, the screen recording with no audio, and the voiceover scripts — you can download the sample project from the TechSmith Academy

As you make edits to your video, it’s important to regularly save your project to keep it as up-to-date as possible. So, once you’ve populated your Media Bin, go ahead and save the file by going to ‘File’ and clicking ‘Save’. Alternatively, you can use the keyboard shortcut by pushing Control (Ctrl) + S on Windows or Command (Cmd) + S on Mac. 

There are plenty of other preset and customizable keyboard shortcuts supported by Camtasia. Learning all the keyboard shortcuts is a great way to optimize your workflow and become a more productive video editor. 

Bring in your screen recording

When editing a video, you don’t have to work chronologically from start to finish. In fact, Jason believes it’s more important to start with the “crux” of your video in order to make the editing process easier and more efficient. 

So rather than start by editing your introduction, you may find it easier to begin editing the most important part of your video, which in Jason’s case is the screen recording. If you’re working with the sample project, now’s the time to add the screen recording to your Camtasia timeline.

Next, start making “wholesale cuts” to get rid of all the unnecessary footage that was captured in the screen recording. These are the clips that you don’t need or want your audience to see, such as load times between screen changes.

Edit your own videos like a Pro

Camtasia is the best screen recorder and video editor on the market. Create content your viewers actually watch.

Download now

Make some cuts to your video

As you start to make cuts to your video, you can use the voiceover script as a guide for the parts of the screen recording that do and don’t need to be included in the final video. 

If you’re working with your own screen recording, you might find it useful to make notes while recording to log timestamps of footage that you might want to cut later. 

For example, if you’re interrupted for any reason while recording, you’ll be able to look at your notes when editing and know that the footage taken between 3m 31s to 4m 22s can be cut. 

Another way to keep track of the cuts you intend to make while you’re still recording is to clap three times if you make a mistake or get interrupted. As Jason explains in the tutorial, this will create an audio and visual cue that you can quickly recognize as a part of your video that you’ve marked to be cut. 

The objective here is to make your final video as tight as it can be by ensuring there isn’t any unnecessary footage that doesn’t contribute to the overall video. As a video editor, it’s your job to ensure that the audience only sees what they need to see in order to focus their attention – so if there’s any footage that won’t benefit your audience, it’s best to cut it out. 

If you’d like to experiment with more advanced editing techniques, you could even try adding some L-cuts and J-cuts to your video. Stepping outside of your comfort zone and playing around with different creative processes can be a great way to hone your skills. 

Focus your viewer’s attention

Every great video should focus the viewer’s attention on what’s important. This is why it’s useful to have a script, which can be used as a reference for knowing where to draw your audience’s attention.

This is where slightly more advanced editing tools, such as zooming and panning around the screen become useful. With Camtasia, you can also add visual annotations called “Callouts” to your video, which help draw the viewer’s attention to a specific part of your screen. 

Using Jason’s tutorial as an example, let’s say you wanted to show people how to log in to the YouTube Creator Studio. First, you would find the part of your video where you start talking about signing in to YouTube. 

You’ll see that there’s a “Sign-In” button in the top right-hand corner of the screen recording, but to ensure your viewers know where to find this button you might consider zooming in on the button and highlighting it with one of Camtasia’s Callouts. 

By doing this, you’re guaranteeing that your viewers will see exactly what you want them to.

Edit your own videos like a Pro

Camtasia is the best screen recorder and video editor on the market. Create content your viewers actually watch.

Download now

Add the audio to your video

Once you’ve cut down your raw footage and have identified the places where you need to direct your audience’s attention, you can start adding audio to your video. To do this, go to your Media Bin and drag it to your Timeline to add it to your video. 

If you’re working with the sample project files, you’ll notice that the voiceover audio file might not match the length of the screen recording. To synchronize the voiceover with the screen recording, there are two things you could do. 

First, you could cut the video footage down further to perfectly match the length of the audio. However, this might make the video a little too fast, without giving your audience the time they need to digest the information you’re providing. 

It’s probably better to cut the audio in different places instead. This creates smaller voiceover snippets that can be matched with what’s happening in the screen recording. 

It might sound complicated, but it’s remarkably simple. All you need to do is find the breaks in the voiceover, split them up into smaller soundbites, and move them down the timeline as needed.

Or, for even easier voiceover editing, try TechSmith Audiate. With Audiate, you don’t have to try to edit confusing wave forms. Instead, Audiate transcribes your voice over track so you can edit it just like text. Best of all, Audiate and Camtasia work together seamlesslly, cutting your video editing time significantly!

It’s worth remembering that while recording your voiceover and your screen at the same time may save time in the short term, Jason recommends recording your audio separately as it provides more flexibility when it comes to editing. 

Doing this can also work to make your final video more polished and professional, as you can record multiple takes of your voiceover before deciding which version is best. 

While this particular step could be considered ‘optional’, knowing your audience is the key to deciding whether or not it’s worth going the extra mile. For example, you might want to spend more time on your video if there’s a chance it’s going to be seen by hundreds of people, as opposed to only being shared with a handful of friends.

The same goes for deciding whether or not to add subtitles or closed captions to your video. If you know who your audience is, you should be able to gauge their needs.

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Bring in your webcam footage

Once you’ve got your voiceover synchronized with your screen recording, it’s time to add the intro and outro videos you recorded on your webcam (or the videos Jason recorded that are included in the sample project files). 

To add the intro, simply drag it to the timeline. You can either add it to the current video track or create a new track. 

Using Jason’s project as an example, his intro and outro footage had already been recorded and edited before adding the footage to the Media Bin. This means both his intro and outro were already perfect for his project. 

When it comes to filming yourself on a webcam, Jason recommends doing a couple of test shots to make sure everything on the screen looks as good as it possibly can. When taking your test shots, be sure to look out for the following:

  • Lighting
    Perfecting your lighting is important for any video, and it’s worth noting that natural light is always better than artificial light. If you can, try filming yourself during daylight hours in a well-lit room, ideally facing a natural source of light, such as a window.
  • Backdrop
    Check to make sure the space behind you is tidy and uncluttered. This will help your audience focus on you and not what’s around you.
  • Camera Angle
    In an ideal setup, your webcam should be level with your eyeline. Not only does this make watching you feel more natural to the viewer, but it makes your video look more polished and professional. 

When filming yourself, you should also consider the picture quality of your webcam, especially if it’s your computer’s built-in one. But don’t panic, if you’re concerned about your webcam’s resolution, there’s one other device you might own that could greatly improve the quality of your footage: your phone.

That’s right, filming on your smartphone could be a better way to record yourself (depending on the model) than using your computer’s built-in webcam. Furthermore, buying a small tripod for your phone is more cost-effective than buying a brand-new camera.

Edit your own videos like a Pro

Camtasia is the best screen recorder and video editor on the market. Create content your viewers actually watch.

Download now

Produce and export your video

Once you’ve edited all your footage and your video finally feels finished, there’s just one more step before it’s ready to be shared with your audience: exporting it. 

When you export your Camtasia project, you’ll be turning all the tracks and layers of your project (the audio, the footage, the effects etc.) into a single and watchable file that can be easily shared. 

Jason recommends exporting your videos as an MP4and saving it to your computer’s hard drive. To do this, click the “Share” in the top right-hand corner of the Camtasia window, and then select “Local File” to export the video into a folder of your choosing. 

An important part of the exporting process to consider when working to a deadline is the rendering process. The time it takes for a video to render can vary significantly depending on several factors, including how long the video is, how many layers there are on the project, and how powerful your computer is. 

As a general rule, the longer your video and the more media it features, the longer it will take to render. 

Once your video has rendered and been fully exported, you may wish to upload it to an online platform such as Screencast, Google Drive, or even YouTube. Once your video is stored online, not only will it be easy to share, but it will be backed up as well.

Bonus video editing tips

Record your video at the right size

Knowing what size to record a video in is one of the more technical factors that can catch people out. When it comes to making and editing simple videos, there are two rules that will ensure your videos and footage are kept the right size. 

If you’re creating a video that’s going to include a screen recording, the first rule to remember is to record, edit, and export all your media in the same dimensions. It doesn’t matter if that’s 720p, 1080p, or 4K as long as you’re consistent with the dimensions across your entire project. 

There’s a chance that not all the footage will have been filmed or recorded in the same dimensions. So the second rule is: If you need to change the size of a clip, always change your big numbers to small numbers (1080p to 720p) and not the other way around (720p to 1080p). 

Keeping the dimensions of your media consistent and only resizing large dimensions to fit smaller resolutions, will ensure your videos look great across a variety of platforms and devices.

Edit your own videos like a Pro

Camtasia is the best screen recorder and video editor on the market. Create content your viewers actually watch.

Download now

Use b-roll

B-roll iscrucial to enhancing the overall quality and impact of your final video. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, B-roll refers to the supplemental footage that is used to complement the primary footage (the A-roll) visually. 

In movies, for example, A-roll is the main footage that tells the story whereas B-roll is all the footage that’s used to bridge the gaps, such as establishing shots, atmospheric location shots, and shots of inanimate objects. In the sample project that Jason put together, the footage of him on camera would be considered the A-roll and the screen recording would be the B-roll. 

By using B-roll in your video, you’re bringing in more visuals that will help keep your audience focused. When used well, B-roll footage can help reinforce a point, provide context, and act as a transition from one scene to another.

In turn, this can help tell a story more effectively by conveying a message visually, rather than relying solely on dialogue and narration. But most of all, it can make your video more aesthetically pleasing, which will help keep your audience captivated. 

Pick the right transitions

Camtasia has a wide range of built-in transitions that can be placed between two shots. These visual effects work to not only make the final video feel more polished but to help it move smoothly from one shot to another, which helps improve the video’s flow.

With so many transitions to choose from, you might find it hard to choose one effect over another. If your goal is to create a video that looks professional, Jason recommends using ‘Fade’ transitions rather than the more animated options, such as a ‘Page turn’ or a ‘Circle stretch’. 

These professional-looking transitions are perfect for corporate media and internal communications, whether that be an instructional video for your colleagues or a training video for new team members and staff. 

Regardless of the transitions you decide to use, be sure to use them somewhat sparingly. Too many transitions might make your video feel chaotic and look amateurish. When using fade transitions, Jason feels it’s best to only use them at the very beginning and end of a video, or when there’s a significant change in the video’s content. 

For example, if you were to create a customer story video, you probably wouldn’t use a fading transition between every customer. However, if you were to ask customers about different products, you might use a transition to help visually separate the conversation between one product and another.

Edit your own videos like a Pro

Camtasia is the best screen recorder and video editor on the market. Create content your viewers actually watch.

Download now

Don’t over-edit your video

As with most creative processes, it is possible to over-edit your video. While this doesn’t necessarily apply to cutting and trimming your footage, it definitely applies to adding effects and annotations. 

When you’ve got too much happening on the screen, not only do you risk making your video look messy, but you also risk overwhelming your audience to the point of dispersing their focus and losing their attention.

Remember, when you’re editing a video your primary objective is to make it as easy as possible for your viewers to follow, understand, and absorb the point you’re making. 

Avoid the curse of perfection

It’s all too easy to get caught up in the quest for creating a perfect video (which can lead to over-editing), but when you’ve got a tough deadline, striving for perfection is going to make editing much more difficult. 

However, there are ways to speed up your workflow that will make it easier for you to create a near-perfect video with Camtasia in very little time. For example, having organized video templates can cut down the time it takes to edit a video. 
The same can be said for writing a video and voiceover script (as you’ll make fewer mistakes when you know exactly what to say) and being aware of your process as an editor. The more you practice and the more you learn, the better your videos will be and the faster you’ll be at producing them.

Edit your own videos like a Pro

Camtasia is the best screen recorder and video editor on the market. Create content your viewers actually watch.

Download now

Edit a video, the FAQs

How to edit videos on iPhone?

To edit videos on iPhone, you can use the built-in iMovie app. Simply import your footage, select the clips you want to use, and then use the editing tools to trim, adjust, and add effects to your video. Once you’re happy with your edits, you can export your video in a variety of formats and share it with others.

How to edit TikTok videos?

To edit TikTok videos, you can use the built-in editing tools in the TikTok app. Simply select the clip you want to edit, and then use the editing tools to trim, adjust, and add effects, text, music, or filters to your video. Once you’re happy with your edits, you can post your video to your TikTok account for others to see.

How to edit Youtube videos?

To edit YouTube videos, you can use the Camtasia video editing software. All you need to do is import your footage, select the clips you want to use, and then use the editing tools to trim, adjust, and add effects, transitions, text, or music to your video. Once you’re happy with your edits, you can export your video directly to YouTube, or export it locally before manually uploading it.

How to edit videos on Windows?

To edit videos on Windows, you can use video editing software such as Camtasia, which offers a user-friendly interface with powerful editing tools that make it easy to create professional-quality videos. First, import your footage, select the clips you want to use, and then use the editing tools to trim, adjust, and add effects, transitions, text, or music to your video. Once you’re happy with your edits, export your video in a variety of formats and share it with your colleagues, friends, and family.

How to edit video on mac?

The Camtasia editing suite offers a range of powerful and intuitive features to help you create professional-quality videos on Mac and Windows. To start editing, simply import your footage and use the editing tools to trim, adjust, and add effects, transitions, text, or music to your video. Once you’re satisfied with your edits, you can export your video in a range of formats and quickly share it with your audience.

Justin Simon

Global Content Strategy Manager at TechSmith. I play a lot of golf and watch a lot of football.

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