How to Edit Video (With Step-by-Step Video)

Video editing can be intimidating. But it doesn't have to be. Learn how to quickly edit your own videos.

how to edit video header

Making that first video can feel like a struggle.

It’s hard to know where to start and which of the skills, techniques, and concepts you need to know to be successful.

However, learning how to edit video content doesn’t have to be difficult and you’re DEFINITELY not alone!

We’re here to help you survive your first video. In fact, we hosted a free live event and it is now available on-demand.

This video will walk you through exactly what you need to know to edit your own videos. While there are tons of mobile apps, desktop software, and online video editing tools, we’ll show you how to edit a video with Camtasia (Windows/Mac).

Click the video below to get started.

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

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

Get video editing software

Download a free trial of Camtasia to quickly and easily edit your own videos.

Download a free trial

Get the project files

Sign up for the TechSmith Academy (it’s free!) to download all the project files below that Jason uses during the video to practice your video editing.

  • A sample .mp4 video that has been completed and ready to post to an online service (Camtasia PPT Green Screen Experiment).
  • Raw (.mp4) and Camtasia ready (.tscproj) versions of both the intro and outro webcam videos (YouTube Intro and Outro Videos).
  • Raw (.mp4) and slightly edited for time for Camtasia (.tscproj) versions of the YouTube screen process.
  • Three versions (all in uncompressed .wav format) of the voiceover. Unedited, Edited, and Super Edited with White Noise fillers.
  • A royalty-free music track to use as background music, if desired (le-chat-gourmand.mp3).
  • A .libzip (for use with Camtasia 2018) of a few assets show during the broadcast (intro, outro, lower third)
  • Two versions ( in .docx and .pdf) of the script used for the voiceover in this project.

Watch the full course [FREE]

how to edit video course screenshot on techsmith academy

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), Danny Wittenborn, Product Strategy Manager (TechSmith), and Amanda Robinson (Social Savvy Society).

Full Video Transcript

And we are here with Jason Valade. He is a master trainer here at TechSmith, and we’re grateful for him, Jason welcome.

Thanks, Matt, thanks for having me, I’m really excited to be here.

Yeah, it’s awesome that you could be here. Now we’re gonna be talking about during this section we’re gonna be talking about video editing.

Because as we go through this process we’ve talked about why video is so important, we’ve talked about some strategies around getting video, in term of visually making it visually appealing, why visuals are important. If you go out to the rest of the Academy you can see stuff about actually recording video. But we know that editing becomes a thing right?

Right.

It is an important piece in the process of creation.

Correct, and a lot of people put a lot of worry behind it thinking it’s gonna take an exceptional amount of time. And that may be the case in the beginning.

But sort of what we’re gonna show today is well how you can maybe knock a little bit of time down to that build some confidence in some of that skill set. And be okay with the product that you put out to the public.

Absolutely, so anyone who’s gonna watch this today we’re gonna be using Camtasia, because TechSmith, of course. But the concepts Jason you’re gonna go through, they’ll apply to most video editors, correct?

Absolutely, yep.

So awesome, so let’s jump in here, because, this is gonna be, for those, if you’re tuning in this is gonna be a longer segment, so we’ve got some time we’re gonna go through this. But, we want you to just be prepared.

So, where do we start?

Start with organization

So I always start, Matt, with organization. And I actually learned this from several other friends in the video making industry and that was the more prepared you are to put things and content in places to find later, make editing an easy process.

So the first thing I’m actually gonna do is I’m gonna open up using a Windows machine here. I’ve got my desktop in front of me. The first thing I’m gonna do actually, is just make a folder.

Now I wouldn’t always necessarily put it on my desktop, but for today’s purposes, I will. And I’m just gonna label it ‘Live.’ That’s gonna be the name of our project today. And everything I associate with this, whether it be a project file, or anything like that, we’re gonna name with the same convention and put it in the same folder. Really helpful. So now that we have a folder to store all our things the next thing we’re gonna do is talk about a couple housekeeping items for when you’re recording.

Record at the right size

So when you’re recording a video if it’s going to have screen content, meaning capturing your screen, the general rule of thumb is to record, edit, and produce all at the same dimensions.

So in common dimension terms you’ve probably heard of 720p or 1080p, whatever you’re recording your screen set is.

In my case this screen is at 1080p, I wanna make sure that my recording is set for the same 1080p, that I edit in whatever software I’m editing in 1080p. And I produce it at 1080p, and that’s because I can control how the content looks on my machine.

But I don’t get to decide how other people are gonna consume it, or where they’re gonna consume it. So I wanna give them the best possible product that I can.

So I do know for a lot of people out there that this is one of those big, tricky things.

It is.

Because it’s like oh, there’s all these numbers. But if you just keep it consistent, that’s your advice, keep it consistent.

Yep, keep it consistent. And if you ever need to make a change going from a big number like 1080 down to 720 always going to be okay, don’t go the other way.

So don’t make it bigger, and then it should be proportional.

It should be proportional, that is correct.

Prepare the video editor

So we’ve got that folder set up and the next thing we need to do is prepare our editor with some caveats.

So as you said we’re using Camtasia today, but for this particular project the video that we’re going to create is how to upload a video to YouTube. And how to change the SEO search optimization settings. So that you get your video discovered.

Now in order to prepare for this, I had some other content that I created. And the content is simply this, I recorded a screen recording of what I had done, meaning just walking through the process with no audio. I set up a really good studio and recorded an intro and outro video on my webcam so I could introduce myself to people.

Then make sure that I had a real personable video. And then I also did a voiceover. So I had a script that I created for this project. Read it through multiple times, because let’s face it, I’m not perfect the first time through or the fifth time through. But I had all those components ready so that when I go to make my video those things are available to me.

So I love, we’re gonna jump back, if you missed this morning, Owen Video talked about this.

He said create your templates. You’ve got a template and in out with you on camera, you’ve got your middle section which is the meat of it. And then you’re laying an audio track so perfect.

Yep, and for those people that are always concerned about the time it takes to edit video, that is a key component. And watching our two guests so far today I’ve actually taken some notes.

I will be applying those to my future projects.

But yes being prepared with the template idea is always helpful. So right now we should be looking at my screen which is my Camtasia editor and right now this is simply an untitled project.

So in order to make sure we keep in the organization field, we’re actually gonna save this project real quick. And if you remember Matt, we labeled this project with the word ‘Live’ for the folder on the desktop. So we’re gonna name our Camtasia project or whatever you’re using also Live. So there is now consistency with the projects so that when I go to find something or move something I know that ‘Live’ goes with ‘Live.’

Add media

And let’s populate our media bin. So all this is for whatever particular software you’re using is the content that we’ve talked about before. So we’re gonna go ahead and import some media, and in the interest of time I have it stored here on my desktop. And by the way you will have those things available to you as well.

So after this event we will post materials that you can download. So if you want to actually play with this sample project that Jason’s built you’ll have the opportunity to do that. We’ll get that posted again after the event. After the event, perfect.

So the items I’m gonna pull in are just the things I talked about. This is my completed video that I had done, that I’m going to upload to YouTube, so we’re using that.

Some background music, that intro and outro video that we created on our webcam. The screen recording with no audio whatsoever. And my unedited voiceovers.

So we’re gonna bring all of those things into Camtasia and let them populate in the media bin. And then we’re ready to do the actual editing portion. So first and foremost we always want to save and make sure we’re going to keep the project up to date as often as we can. File save or for me I’m a short keyboard shortcut person so Ctrl S for anything.

I remember so this is gonna date myself, a long, long time ago back in undergrad I was working with a very early video editing software digital. And if you didn’t save every so often you were gonna lose it and so just good advice. If you get in the habit, you’re covered, so absolutely.

Bring in your screen recording

Okay so the first thing I do when I create a video and the caveat is, there are lots of ways to edit video. I’ve made several videos in my time. And this is what I found to be my best practice. So hopefully people can take from this what they can and apply it to their own situation.

So the first thing I’m going to do is I’m actually going to bring in my screen recording. And the screen recording is the generic, blank screen recording. Meaning there’s no audio, no sound effects whatsoever.

And I would make what I consider wholesale cuts. So wholesale cuts for me are, this recording is longer than what my actual project’s going to be at the end. There are probably some errors, there’s some load time between screen changes. I’m gonna make those gigantic cuts that I describe as wholesale cuts because I want to get this into the most perfect condition that I can for recording. So let’s say the template or the direction I’m gonna use for this video is actually the script.

The voiceover script that I made earlier to give me a sense of where I need to be. So even though my video is going to open with my webcam and close with my webcam I am going to start with the screen recording. ‘Cause it’s the crux of the presentation right?

Make some cuts

So I might make a couple of cuts here and there to make sure this load time. For us, there’s an authentication process that we go through so I’m going to actually just cut that out. And when people are done with this process today they’ll have all the raw and edited portions of this for them to play with. I would make significant cuts here and there.

If there is a oh, I don’t know a power failure, or I know I was interrupted in the process and my screen stayed blank, I would make indications during my recording to make sure that at three minutes or three and a half minutes there’s sections that I can cut out.

And so if you’re going through this, I mean you’re basically just every video editor has a tool that allows you to cut right?

It does.

So we’re just looking for whatever that tool is, there’s usually hotkeys, there’s items there that will allow you to do that. But you’re just gonna go through chop it up.

Chop it up, maybe crop the beginning and ending if it took too long. So cropping, of course, is simply going to the beginning or ending of a clip and pulling it in just to tighten it up and eliminate those extra pieces. That’s always important. at this point you also can do what I consider tightening up your edits. Which are when screens are loading. So I have spots here where the screen is taking a while a little pop-up screens that I just know are not going to contribute to the end of my project. So I can simply remove those as needed.

So it seems like the goal as you go through an edit is I guess getting to really some of things that Buddy said. Is show the things that are of the most important, show the things that are gonna give you the most value. But if someone doesn’t need to see it cut it out.

True don’t say something with 15 words when you can say it effectively with five. Same with your visual don’t give me 30 seconds of video when five seconds will do it.

Five seconds a video might be difficult but you know. Probably, it probably is, but same concept absolutely.

Focus your viewer’s attention

Okay, so once I’ve made the cuts, now obviously there are a lot more that I would personally make. But the next thing I want to do is look at my script and find out where I want to draw the attention of my viewer to.

This is where we’re gonna start employing things like zooming in on the screen, panning around, or what we use in Camtasia called call-outs. Some sort of screen representation that draws the viewers attention.

So I know in my video that my voiceover talks about logging into their creator studio on YouTube. So if we go to the section of my video where I start talking about signing in there is a sign-in in the upper right-hand corner of this screen. Well, I know where that is but I need to help my viewer find out where that is. So I might employ something very simple like a zooming in, a zoom into the upper right-hand corner.

So I’m gonna apply a zoom to my project. To make sure that I am drawing the attention of my viewer to that section of the video. That way I’m guaranteed to show them what I want them to see. At this point I can also enhance that attention by adding some sort of call-out, maybe an arrow, maybe a darkening of the screen. In fact for me I typically use the darkening of the screen as a option for drawing attention because it removes the rest of the extraneous information from the screen and allows for a good focal point to be done. Simple things like that takes the attention of the viewer right where you want it to be.

Don’t overdo it

So let me ask you this. So as you’re going through this process you know you’re starting to get into that kind of the enhancement piece of once you’ve cut it down, got it trimmed, is there isn’t too much that you can do? Like I noticed if you zoom in at a call, can you actually kinda overdo it?

I believe you can, I believe you can overdo it. And I used to be very guilty of that in the early parts of my video editing, and some may say I am now. But I would say adding too many annotations can do it. Everything from zooming in and adding a call-out, to maybe an arrow, and maybe a darken it, maybe it’s too much, absolutely. I think it’s good advice right?

Like we want enhance but you don’t want to overkill this?

Correct, yep. You want to give the information the best you can without, I think one of our guests was talking about do you need to give them information or do you need to entertain them? I believe Buddy was talking about that. And I like to strike a good balance between keeping it engaging but also getting them right to where they need to be.

So once we get to the point where we’ve made all of our visual edits and obviously we’re not gonna do them all right today. We want to start talking about the other components we brought into this video. So our screen recording, very important. But it doesn’t do anything for me without bringing in my audio.

Bring in your audio

So at this point we can go to our media bin or wherever you have your audio stored and bring the voiceover in. And what I want you to notice for this particular project the length of my voice over time does not match the length of my screen recording.

So there are a couple things I could do. One, I could absolutely trim the audio, or the video excuse me, to match the audio perfectly. Or I could leave some pauses in between so that people can absorb the content that you’ve just delivered to them and move on, and move forward. For us we would actually split our audio up in different pieces and match it with what was happening on the screen.

And that’s real easy to do depending on your software. You simply, you can find the breaks of where the speech was happening and split them up and move them down. I am a big proponent of recording audio separately. With a voiceover, and doing it in multiple takes, because sometimes you know when it sounds right to you.

And then another great tip is have somebody else listen to it, the analogy is if you’ve written a paper for school and you know what it says, but you hand it to someone else and they’re like this makes no sense whatsoever, same with audio. It’s great to have a check and balance system in place if someone’s available and willing to listen to your audio.

So there’s a philosophy clash here. Some people will say record it together, especially with screen recordings in particular. When you’re doing camera video it makes sense to record it at the same time. Some people will say record it first, the audio first and then build your video off of that. And some people will say record your video and then layer in your audio.

Thoughts on is one better than the other?

I always say know who your audience is. If I’m recording a video for say co-workers, friends, close family members, or someone I have a really good relationship with, I have no issue hitting record, recording my screen and recording my audio at the same time.

If the video is going to live on, if I’m gonna post it somewhere and we’re going to talk about hosting later in today’s event, I want to put a little bit more thought to it. I may step into our studio. I may take a little bit more time because if that video is going to live on, I want a certain polish and professionalism to it. So knowing your audience if 100,000 people are gonna watch it, you might want to spend a little bit more time on the video. If 10, they get what they get.

So before or after recording the audio to match the video or the video to match the audio?

I record audio to match the video. So I record the screen first then I do the audio afterwards that’s just how I.

Which is funny because I do the exact opposite.

We do do it differently.

I do the audio first and then I build out my video. So I can then chop the video, I always find video easier to edit.

And I like the sound of my own voice, so I like recording audio, so I save that so I could savor that piece later on.

Bring in your webcam

So we bring in the screen recording, we match our video to the audio that we’ve recorded, and then we want to start talking about bringing in the webcam video.

So in Camtasia it’s pretty easy, similar concept here is to just create space for the webcam to go at the beginning or the end. So I would scoot the content over and of course I have a locked track, that is why it wasn’t moving for me.

That’s funny. I do it this way only because the control I need over the screen recording is crucial. That’s why I do those wholesale edits first. But these pieces I’ve already recorded ahead of time and I’ve already edited. So they’ve spent the time, I’ve taken the time, people have watch them. I’ve adjusted lighting and all the things that I need to do to make sure that that introduction and that outro is perfectly suited for this particular project.

Thing about webcam, you always want to look at your lighting. you want to do a couple test shots, make sure it looks good. Also send this back and forth for people to view and make sure you notice what’s around you and your surroundings.

So look behind you set here today is beautiful. The set in the recording studio that I use pretty good, it looks professional. A nice, clean crop, nothing to draw the viewers eyes away from what they need. At this point I could decide whether or not I want to add say introductory slides. Which a lot of software has built in.

We actually in Camtasia have those available to us as well where I can give some sort of introductory slide that I have saved as a template. And this is another time-saving gesture, is to make sure that if you have things that are available to you, that you can program beforehand, it’s helpful to have those ready to go.

So that it’s nice and clean and makes your editing time shorter. And it adds just a nice little professional polish. This one will say the text and the live event. But it took no time for me to type that in and have it go into my webcam later on. We can also talk about adding transitions to soften those changes. Fades, slides, those sorts of things are available as well.

So as I’m looking at your product so far, so we’ve got a nice little graphic intro. We’ve got up the screen recording, you’ve got your camera. Noticing already the camera though, there’s a lot of black around it.

There is. So what’s happened is the format that I shot the camera in is different than that of my project. And we had talked about that a little earlier. The format I shot it in does allow me to make it change where I can form fit it to the screen and have it still have that high-quality look.

Had I shot this much smaller and tried to expand it, like we said you can go big numbers to little, but never little too big without it pixelating and looking a little bit fuzzy. This allows me to make that change as well. Same sort of thing in our outro.

I simply make it to fit the canvas. And just like that my intro, my webcam, and my screen recording are all the same size and allow it to look nice, and clean, and professional.

Don’t go down the editing rabbit hole

So this is where I warn people about the rabbit hole of editing. You can do a lot of edits. There’s numbers out there that people talk about how long it takes to edit, for how long of a production video.

It varies for each person.

For me what I try and do is make a very clean, simple edit of a video and then I share it. And we’re gonna talk with Danny later on about getting review and then concepts about that. If it gets past one or two people as a viable video it’s out and I wash my hands of it. If I spend too much time on the position of the arrow or the highlight, then it’s more about the video and less about the content you’re trying to deliver. That always should be the main goal. Is whatever you’re trying to deliver is the content to be effective, the video looking good and sounding good, it’s just like the 1a of your level one requirement.

So it sounds like from a time perspective at least ’cause I know a lot of people are concerned about the amount of time it takes to edit. And I’ve been down that rabbit hole where I spent days editing tutorials and things like that. So it sounds like one thing is know your threshold for quality. So that’s one way, again we’re not trying to be Hollywood here.

Avoid the curse of perfection

Yeah, the saying is do you need a perfect or do you need it by Tuesday?

The majority of people creating video in the business world need it by Tuesday.

There’s been many situations where I’ve worked with some of our customers where they come in on a Monday morning and their boss says I need a video, and I need it to be perfect, and I need it by lunch. And that’s the situation they find themselves in.

So applying a couple of tricks like having things saved in the library, or saved in a folder and available for you, ready to go as an easily editable template, shortens that editing time. Knowing your process shortens that editing time. And as much as I never was a fan of it before scripting what you’re going to say saves you time. Because you’re not up here fumbling for your words.

How to become a faster video editor

As we go through I know we’ve already got some questions about this, is just how do we, and we don’t have to address right this second, people are looking for how do we speed up this process so they can get faster and better quality, you know better quality but just mostly faster and not spending all day doing it?

Yeah, so I think the number one thing is to be familiar with the software that you’re gonna be using.

Some people are really keen and accustomed to using menu items like up here at the top of Camtasia. All the editing tools are here. But most of ’em, if not all of ’em, have an associated keyboard shortcut. Those are very helpful.

If you know your keyboard shortcuts, and most of them across Windows platform are pretty much the same for copy, and paste, and cut. Knowing those is really helpful. So keyboard shortcuts number one. Two, is knowing the rest of your software so you’re not digging for something. Shortening the processes.

Make a couple of fun videos, make some that are practice ones. Make something on a topic that you’re already super familiar with. Do you know how to open a new email address? Do you not a shop on a particular online shopping environment? Make those videos so that the first time is not your first time. You’re allowing yourself the ability to learn through that process. And thirdly employ some sort of template library if you can.

Whether it’s a single screen of a PowerPoint presentation that you’ve saved as a slide, most people have PowerPoint or something like that. Make a simple slide that you can use as an intro outro, pertinent information. Don’t overload it with words and that can shorten up your video time as well. Because then all you really need to do is record the primary content, add the intro and the outro, produce your video.

What a fantastic tip, especially with PowerPoint there’s so much you could do just with PowerPoint. Of course you can do it a lot of other tools, but if you know PowerPoint that’s a simple tool to get started with.

Yep, and it’s typically common. There’s Google Doc, there’s all kinds of things out there that you can do the same sort of thing in, absolutely.

Produce and export your video

And basically at this point when you’re done with your project, which we’re not. But we could be for this project. We want to get it outside the environment of the editor.

So we want to produce the video.

That’s where you decide a couple things. I always produce my video as a local file, an mp4 that’s saved on my hard drive, specifically in that folder that I created and then deliver to an online place that I’m going to have at that particular time.

Whether it be our screencast.com, YouTube or any other sharing site that I’m going to put it at. I want to make sure that I have a backup video for myself but I also keep a library in case I can make tweaks of that original project or the original video.

Or use clips of it in future videos that once again shortens my time because one, I labeled it appropriately and can find it. Two, the video is high quality because I put it out at the correct dimensions and have it locally available.

So you’re going to get your video out there, you’re gonna put it out on the web. You got to go through the rendering process and that can take a variety of time.

It can, yep. Rendering is one of those situations where it’s dependent on how long the video is. How much is in the video, how many layers, how much music, video, how powerful your machine is. It’s so many different qualifying factors that do that. I have a pretty good machine here, this video would probably take us oh I don’t know, four or five minutes to render. But make sure that you build that into your time of your project. If you’re recording an hour long video. Please don’t try to make an hour long video. But if you need to, you can.

Don’t do what we’re doing here live for the next four hours.

And that’s been discussed as well today, and it will be discussed forever, the length of video and how long you do that for. But you always want to think about how long it takes to render and you can practice with that, with those practice videos that we talked about. Make a couple videos, see how long it takes. Is it a cup of coffee video? Is it a go get lunch video?

How to edit non-scripted videos

So I want to talk, ’cause you’ve got yourself up here on screen, this camera video. I think you know screencasts are pretty easy. You can cut ’em up, and you can do fades and transitions between. But when someone’s recording themself on camera, ’cause this is what Owen Video talked about, having yourself on camera, just talking to the camera.

And obviously, when you’re doing something like this it’s scripted, you want it to be a set message for a good reason versus just talking off the cuff like we are today, what’s some tips for editing this? Because what happens, when I’ve done it, it’s me talking and making a mistake, and then I end up with like a jump cut. Is that okay or should I be looking for other things to do to make it look better?

I think for social media shares that are informal jump cuts feel okay to me, that seems to be a current trend that’s happening in video right now. For a video like this the actual unedited video that everyone will have access to of my webcam is three or four times the length of this. There were a lot of screw ups. For me I simply pause and I do what’s called spiking the timeline. I do a triple clap so that I can visually see, in fact on my screen here on the voiceover you can see these giant spikes of audio right on the timeline.

Those are all errors.

How to edit around mistakes

Go ahead make that track taller so people can actually see it, really see that.

So on track number two here you can see significant jumps and if I can play this back because I believe we have the audio for it, you’ll hear the clapping noise. And loud claps and it happens multiple times. People do this in different ways, but this is for me a great way for me to have a visual representation of where I need to make those cuts.

When I’m watching my webcam playback. It’s pretty obvious. I look exacerbated, I get angry. I’m like oh geez, or someone walks into my office because I failed to put a hey I’m recording, please stop coming into my office thing. I typically start every webcam intro outro in particular as a whole take. So there aren’t any jump cuts, personal preference. Do I think jump cuts could work?

Absolutely, I absolutely think they could work. If you’re pretty good at staying in frame. I talk with my hands, I move around a lot so my jump cuts might look like my head bouncing around, personally it doesn’t look good to me. But it could still work for other people as well.

So with that there’s a couple things I think I’m hearing. First of all these spikes, the audio spiking that you talk about, a great way to look at your timeline and edit to that because you know probably where you made a mistake. But the other thing I think about is if you don’t want jump cuts and you can’t do it in one take, heaven knows the video guys here can tell you I can’t do anything in one take. Then what? What’s your options? Because maybe it’s a little bit long and you want to be on screen for two minutes and that’s not gonna happen. You don’t have a teleprompter, something to read off. What can we do?

I speak my lines, hopefully I have ’em memorized or I’ve got it taped up near the the camera. If you’re pretty good and you got your camera at slightly above eye line and maybe a teleprompter which with me is a piece of scotch tape and a sheet of paper. The other thing I do is I simply pause, collect my thoughts mostly, and then continue. It allows for those gaps, it allows for the ability to make cuts that don’t look like jump cuts. And the other thing I can do is if I’m intent on using the entirety of that video, I just take my deep breaths and keep going.

The other thing you can do is fade that video in and out and or drop it down, and do like the PIP or picture-in-picture format. Where not only am I still on camera, and I’m talking to you, and I’m delivering information, but if I’m bringing myself to a corner or fading in and out I’m still drawing attention to the content on the screen. Which hopefully is the crux of that information. If it’s just a talking head video where it’s just me talking, I’m gonna probably rehearse a few times before I do it and then be comfortable with what I produce.

I think for all those out there I would say to add on to what your point is Jason is that it’s okay to have an error. I mean, if you’re going to some high end super client, you want this to be perfect, you got to deal with it, figure this out, but a summary is that natural stuff is okay. Things happen just as long as it’s not too much.

Use b-roll

The other thing is b-roll. And I know like we talk, b-roll for those who don’t know, we want to talk about it for a second ’cause I think it’s important to the editing process. Is if Jason on camera is a-roll, b-roll is stuff that’s maybe what he’s talking about. That could be the screencast footage. That could be if we’re talking about a mechanical process, maybe you’re showing that machine. Things like that to then enhance. And so then what you can do is you can cut between the two pieces and I’ll give one more piece of advice here. That I think is really important, is if you’re lucky enough if you were not editing at the same time size that you shot your video at. You’re editing smaller, you can always zoom in like you did with your screencast.

Use cuts

It’s a great point about the a-roll and b-roll that you talked about. There’s actually good information that we even produce out on our blog about things called L-cuts and J-cuts that are great ways to bring you between a-roll and b-roll. And especially if you’re talking about a process. You’re showing something around a studio, anything like that. If you’re able to even semi master something like that the video has such a professional look to it that people are gonna wonder how much you paid to have it done and you’re like yeah, actually I did it myself and you can too.

So Jason for a video like this final runtime I don’t know where we end up at but how long does it take to edit and get something that you were happy with?

For me for an audience that’s going to be widespread a four to five-minute video I would probably give myself in the editing process afterwards hour and a half to two hours, caveat I’ve done this a long time and my level of what I expect at the end is different than everybody else’s. The prep work that goes into this, it depends. Shooting the webcam video it was a half a day.

Voiceover a couple hours because I did multiple takes to make sure. But as you get better and faster all those times do reduce and you decide at a certain point what level of completeness you want the video to be at. And that can then allow you to make changes in all that production process. Five to ten-minute video afterward editing I give it about an hour and a half to two hours.

So there’s maybe some guidelines. Maybe it will take you take you longer and that’s okay.

Yeah, or faster who knows?

More video editing tips

Absolutely, so okay, so we’ve looked at it kind of this overall broad and kind of look at your project. Are there any other tips that you would give to get people going with their editing, to help them to be successful?

So the one thing I always want to encourage people to do is to make a decision on the fly when it comes to editing. If you see something that doesn’t sound right, doesn’t look right, cut it out. Most products like ours even allows you to undo or save versions of a project. If you think it doesn’t look right cut it out move on. That way you’re not spinning your wheels so to speak on a certain section.

And it goes to goes without saying, have someone check it out. Produce the video, share a snippet of a section that you want to have people review. But most of all editing video is a fun process. It is creative, you have control over every aspect.

If I run it from start to finish, even if you’re asking for someone to create content for you that you bring in. It can be a really fun process which is where you need to balance your time between when it’s due and the rabbit hole of features that you might have within your video editing software.

Videos are never done, they’re only due.

Is that kinda how it goes? They’re never done, they’re never done.

Scripting tips

I want to talk a little bit about script and the editing. So I know some people like scripts, some people don’t like scripts. But is there a role in the script in your editing process?

There is. For me, I tend to write a script that’s longer than I think I’m gonna actually need. So that as I’m listening back to it or trying to match it up with my video that I have sections that maybe are a little bit too long-winded.

And I can easily cut those sections out and feel comfortable with it. It also tends to give me a sense that a written page of documentation about a minute, minute and a half of screen time. So it helps me with my pacing. It helps me to make sure that the words that I’m choosing are appropriate.

And even if I don’t read the script verbatim I’m still within the same wheelhouse of what I want the content to be. I may rotate a word here or two, but as long as I’m still getting to the main points that I want it to hit, then I’m comfortable.

And I do want to say that I don’t always write a script. I do sometimes use bullet points where I’m familiar with the topic enough that I can read through the bullet points and make sure that I’m hitting on certain points.

Fantastic. So we got our video.

We got our video.

We’re produced it. Anything else that we need to know?

Make videos often

I would make sure once again you keep it organized. Make sure it’s shared out the way you want to be shared out. Make sure people review it, and make sure you make ’em often. Make sure you make ’em often. It is a perishable skill to edit a video.

You can’t edit one today and then take six weeks off and come back and feel like you’re still going to be confident. Do it often as you can.

So we’ve got a little bit of time before we get into Q&A but I want to just remind you guys if you have questions for Jason, things that you’re like saying oh but what about this? How do I do that? Feel free to put those in the Q&A pod next to the video player because we do want to make sure we’re addressing your time. And we have some time, we have some time to go through some stuff here.

Excellent.

So okay, so we look at a tool like Camtasia and there’s a lot here.

There is.

Pick the right transition

Let’s talk about, you talked about transitions a little bit earlier. Let’s look at transitions and I’d love your opinion about transitions because I have some opinions to share about transitions.

Sure, sure, so in a product like Camtasia which we have in front of us here, we have built-in a ton of transitions. The first two at the top are your classic, what I call classic fades. Fade through black and then there are a lot of what I call classic PowerPoint-style transitions.

Barn doors, spinning irises, and stuff like that. If you want my honest opinion, I actually typically only show those two transitions in Camtasia and that’s the two fades. And I would say 99% of the transition I use is a fade transition. I believe it has a professional look to it.

When I consume videos and I see a video that just starts abruptly versus one that fades in I know that that person at least spent a little bit of time on their edit which translates to me to be a more professional complete video. So I am a fade aficionado fanatic.

And that’s to say fading should not be applied liberally right?

Correct, correct, yep, you don’t want to constantly be changing over. Jump cuts are fine, switching between content. If you’re doing a like we were talking about an a-roll to b-roll switch you’re not fading between those two, that doesn’t make too much sense. I like to do it at the beginnings and ends. Or between major changes in content. Whether it be webcam to screen recording. If I’m not shrinking down that webcam I tend to fade it in it makes it a little bit softer. I’m a fan.

Create the right content for your audience

Yeah, absolutely. Now I will say one thing that I’ve noticed, and I’ve talked to some people who’ve worked in the video industry, in the film industry and one thing they say is that like for television, now obviously we’re not making television here, that changes occur every like two to three seconds or faster. Maybe even every second when you’re watching you know some show on Netflix or on the local station. That these shows are just constantly changing. Is that something you think as beginners we should be trying to do?

I don’t believe so when we’re talking about screen recording. That kind of motion is not going to allow for the content that you’re trying to deliver to be consumed and absorbed. That being said if your style of video creation is a little bit more I would call it frantic without trying to be negative, a lot more motion, there is something that your viewers can do that you can think about. And that is they can hit the pause button and they can rewind and move back and forth.

Because it’s a medium that they then have control over. So if your visual style, your video making style is more motion-based, give it a shot. I think two to three seconds is pretty dramatic when it comes to screen recording. But depending on what you’re showing it could work. If I’m showing you a process by like how to fill out a form when it’s the open enrollment time for your employer, I’m not gonna be jumping all over the screen.

However, if I’m showing you how to operate the pop machine, yeah I’m thinking I push the button, drop-down move around, I think that makes more sense. So it’s still knowing what your content is but keeping in the back of your mind that if someone needs to focus on something they do have the power to pause that video and rewatch.

Yeah, so again going back to this idea that’s been presented a couple of times now, is know your audience. Know who you’re talking to and make the video that’s for them, that’s gonna resonate with them. Not just the one that you like to make.

Make the ones you want to make as practice and then remember the reason you’re making the future videos. Absolutely.

Be more precise

Okay any other things that we should be thinking about from terms of things that we can do in our video editor that whether it’s in Camtasia or something else to make our edits maybe easier, more effective?

Yeah, the biggest thing I would recommend regardless of what video editor you’re using is if you have the ability to zoom in on your timeline to make very precision cuts, I recommend that. Yes, I do spike the timeline so I can quickly, visually change and cut different parts that I want to make the errors that I want to cut out.

If you can zoom in and see the granular detail, whether it’s frame by frame or second by second, do yourself a favor, learn that functionality of your editor and make those precision cuts. You will still get faster over time, but making those precision cuts will make your video have a more professional polish at the end.

Rather than clipping a word here or there and that means like taking the first utterance off a word or at the end which I have been guilty of doing before I took my own advice.

Arrange your workspace

Yeah absolutely, I also feel like arranging your workspace is super helpful. Like I had you bring up the audio so you could see it better. By just changing like whatever you see here to work with what you’re trying to do?

If you’re fortunate enough to work in a multiple monitor setup that is also helpful. Most video editors do allow you to take this area which is your canvas and separate it so that you can put it on a separate monitor. Which then allows you to have even more what we describe is real estate to work with your tracks and then you can see maybe a playback on another monitor at that full resolution that you’re going to produce at and see how it looks.

Maybe there’s some things you didn’t catch before. Maybe there’s a lighting error, maybe there’s a longer lag on a screen recording. But the ability to to arrange things so that it’s appropriate for you is helpful. Whether it be turning on or off side panels that you don’t necessarily need at all times because you’re really operating underneath the shortcut world. Learn your editor. Absolutely.

Very good. Well I know we’re getting close to our time and I want to make sure we’re answering your questions. So if you guys got questions go ahead and put them into the Q&A pod we’ll come over here to me so we can we can go through some of those questions for you guys.

Have the end in mind

Okay Jason, so again we talked a lot about tips and tricks. Shane says that editing always seems like the longest part of the process.

It does depending on what your end goal is. I have gotten to the point in my video creation where I think the prep work takes longer because I’ve made myself so comfortable in the editing process. But the prep work is probably what makes that editing process easier. Having the things organized, having a pre-recorded script done. All really helpful. The edits only take as long as you think you need to get to the product that you want to deliver. Watch the rabbit hole, don’t over edit. Get the product out, get feedback on it.

So I’d also say that probably not exaggerates, but it means that as you’re going into the we’ll call it content creation piece. The piece where you’re recording. Whether you’re on camera or on screen that you’re making sure you get what you need. I know when we were making some of the TechSmith Academy’s stuff the the last thing we ever wanted we were going on a blazing fast pace to try to get those things done in time. And last thing we ever wanted to do because the video guys were gonna kill me if I ever had to say to ’em we missed that. I mean we probably just made do before we went back and tried to recapture something.

There’s a lot to be said by having an outline. There’s a lot to be said and a lot to be said that you can not live and die by it, but know that there’s flexibility built into that and make changes. If you miss something, how crucial is it? Was it part of the storytelling that’s really important?

Thinking about Buddy’s session if he had pulled a couple pages of that comic would the story still flow? Maybe, but you want to make sure that you give yourself the best possible starting point and then allow for that freedom to make changes.

Yeah so what you’ll find in this QA and great questions everyone keeps sending them in is lots of how do I just faster?

And we’ve talked a lot about that. So I don’t want to spend too much more time on that. But as of course as things come up we’ll do it. So let me go to this next question.

How to create video engagement

How do we get employees or customers engaged to view our videos? So here’s a little add-on to that, we built a cool training library but ignore them and they call us anyway.

Yeah, yeah, that happens. So the way I would get around that is I would make a couple of different types of videos to start and solicit feedback. I mean if we’re talking about training videos that are 35 seconds, minute and a half long you can make different styles of videos and see which one gets more views than others. If they’re required, that’s another conversation.

But if you’re talking about engaging your audience be true to who you are, don’t fake the person that you think they want to see but try a couple different video types to see which ones resonate. If you’re deadpan monotone talking about SOP processes or something like that that may not be engaging. If your job is to engage that’s one thing. If your job is to deliver content that’s another. You got to marry the two comfortably and try a couple different ways.

Now I would just add to that from my experience that there are lots of elements to video that I think you can use depending what you’re trying to do.

Like music.

I mean there’s a whole rabbit hole we can go down about music and where music’s appropriate, where it’s not appropriate. But using visuals, finding things. I think I’ve heard a lot today about connecting with a person. And I think that if you look at the video that you shot you can see who you are. You can see the eyes, you know the old saying the eyes are the window to the soul. That soul doesn’t disappear because you’re on camera. And so using those types of things to build the engagement.

So I think yeah just thinking about those different types of process but what I want to clarify is you’re not saying make a bunch of different videos every time. No. But find what works then make more of them.

Find out which type of video works for you

Yeah, I usually go two to three different types and if number two is one that resonates I make that kind of video and tweak it a little bit here and there. Sometimes I’ll throw something new and random in. But it’s after I’ve delivered several videos from what the audience expects to receive.

Yeah I do want to tell a quick story that one of the customers that we work with they were making videos inside of their company, and they talked about at the end of the video, one of the ways that they engaged, this was an internal employee video, that they would put the outtakes basically. Or the mistakes, ’cause people make mistakes. They get in front of the camera, they get uncomfortable, they say things, you know. And they were putting that in kind of as fun. Never to make haha, look what you did. But more like yeah this is hard we recognize.

I think that’s a tremendous tool and if your work environment supports that kind of thing absolutely. I think it’s invaluable, I think it’s invaluable.

I would also say I think to this question because it’s a such an important question is context around the video. And I think we’ll talk about that later when we’re with Amanda Robinson. But it’s not all about the video right? ‘Cause if people aren’t going to it, it doesn’t matter how good or bad the video is?

Got to make it easy to find, very discoverable. If it’s something that they think they’re gonna gain, I think the question mentioned they’re always coming to us instead, why is that? Are they more comfortable speaking to you in person? Are you not the person that’s coming through on those videos? Are they easy to find, are they updated, are they relevant to what they need to learn?

There’s all these little things you need to consider when you’re creating a library of videos as you said. It seems like the last point is to train your users to take the action that you want.

First video out the door is how are you gonna use this system?

Make ’em aware and promote it, and get ’em aware of it.

What are the best practices of shooting a product sales video?

So a couple other questions here. We’ve got what are the best processes and practices of shooting a product sales video?

Wow see the guys who would be best to answer that are actually shooting this video for us right now. It’s something I’ve learned it is lighting is a huge component to that product video. Make sure that you are flattering with honesty.

Meaning you’re showing all the parts that you need to show that are relevant to the context of the commercial shoot so to speak. And make sure you have current information.

And if you don’t have information you need to be honest about that as well. Give the bullet points that are important and then get back to people that may have questions to make sure that their understanding of your product is apropos and timely.

I would also, I keep adding my thoughts in here, Yeah please do. But I think.

Get a good microphone

Don’t forget about the audio and Owen Video talked about that, get a decent microphone. we’ve got these nice lapels. Get a microphone that’s gonna support that because you know from what I’ve seen people will handle a little less quality of video, they still want quality video, don’t go make really bad video.

But they’ll take it, but if the audio is bad, your sale, it’s gonna make a barrier between you and your prospect right? It seems like that’s super critical, if you’re gonna start someplace in that process.

If a video has bad audio I will tolerate it for a very short period of time.

Get to the basic information quickly

The other thing I would say especially it seems to me in the sales, and I’m not making a lot of sales videos. I’m on more of the I received some sales videos but I do other types of videos, a lot of instructional videos, I would also say make sure that you’re really thinking about the time you’re asking someone to invest in you.

Very true, very true you want to get to the basic information as fast as you possibly can without dragging them through a long process. If it’s a 30 second video don’t make the first 20 seconds of fluff, get to what you’re trying to convey and then give them some sort of call to action.

You want them to do something with the information they just gained. Is it visit you on a website? Is it join you for a live Academy event? Make sure you’re delivering that crucial information early on and often if you can.

Yeah so definitely we’re not the sales experts.

Talk to Owen Video, there’s others who, maybe we’ll do another Academy event or video about that very topic.

How do I get like a clickable link in my video?

This last question’s really interesting, we might have some more come in here I’ll check but how can I link to a website or landing page that’s added that the viewer clicks on? So how do we get like a clickable link in our video?

In the video. With Camtasia we actually have something called interactive hotspots. And they are simply the ability to add a section to your screen. So if I had a oh I don’t know, we’ll add something simple like this shape, if I wanted to make the the spot clickable I would use our visual effects and an interactive hotspot and type in there, and there click for more information, or click here for more content.

The thing about those is those videos have to live in certain environments. You want be sure that you, if you’re gonna create a video that has something interactive like that, you test wherever you’re gonna host it to make sure that link is possible.

The other place that’s very common is to put it in the description or wherever you’re hosting those links are powerful and visually calling that out. I don’t know how many YouTube videos you may have seen that say link in description below, that is a common piece of verbiage that’s used and still effective.

Yeah, so again from a Camtasia perspective you can only really on your website, on something like, we have screencast.com, does not work to do this here and add it to YouTube.

YouTube, Google Drive, Vimeo, they all have their own players which then when you upload them it re-encodes the video so it plays well in their environment and it strips out all that interactivity. But the other thing is some of these sites now are adding this functionality to that where you just edit. Where upload the video and then you add it.

How to move all the elements with the timeline marker?

So great, that’s a great question. Something that I think is really important because if you have an action, you watch the video, you want them to do something, it you can put it right there. So this is a very specific question which I think is an excellent one. How is he moving all the elements with the timeline marker?

I’m not sure if this is in all video editors but in Camtasia I think what they were referring to is when I created space here at the beginning to put our intro in wherever I place the playhead if I even place it here in the middle of our timeline, if I hold my shift key down and click and drag the playhead it moves everything in concert to the right of that playhead and keeps it in sync.

So if I have things that are call-outs that are popping up at certain times, animations that are happening, it allows them to stay in sync. And then to bring it back I simply hold the shift key and drag it back until the media hits something original that is blocking its movement. That could be done in the beginning and wherever you need it to be. I do not know if that’s consistent with a lot of other video editors but it is something you can do in Camtasia.

Storyboard or no storyboard?

Perfect, thank you for that. So here’s another debate we could have about to storyboard or not storyboard? And if you do storyboard what do you use?

If I’m going to storyboard and the if is because I don’t always do it, I’m becoming a bigger fan of paper and pen, I really am. I will draw a six panel comic strip almost and that’s going to be if I am going to shoot multiple cameras or different environments I will use that.

Most of the time I do not storyboard. I am a down-and-dirty video recorder. I hit record I see what happens, I call it good. But that’s also as we keep saying, knowing my audience. If it’s some video I’m making for you Matt, sorry you’re not getting a storyboard.

If it’s a video I’m making for the entirety of the live event audience I’m gonna take some time, I’m gonna storyboard it, I’m gonna use my horrific drawing skills. Which I just heard earlier, is okay. Oh boy, and then I will script that out in a storyboard format as well.

So one the questions they said, the real question is what do you use to storyboard? I’ll point out that on the TechSmith Academy if you go to the course about storyboarding we do have some free template in there. You can print it off, it’s just basically panels. And you can, because I’m a big fan of pen and paper too, however interesting enough, if you look in the episode we actually have a storyboard and I create use characters that I drew in Illustrator.

And then I just was able to copy and paste them, make slight changes to ’em. So there’s lots of ways to do it. I think with storyboarding in particular, when your video starts to get complex, it’s really important because you want to start to work out what the camera is gonna see, where it’s gonna be placed. Especially if you’re working with other people.

So you don’t have to guess and the video guys here can tell you that I’m not very good at it always, and don’t always do it like I should. But ideally, it’s representing the story so that someone can get the vision of what you want on camera and you can see if it will work or not before you ever have to hit record.

I think the simple answer to any tool question is what’s the best tool to use for whatever it is? At the moment you’re at right now the best tool is whatever you’ve got in your hand, sitting on your desk available to you now.

You can grow, you can add things, you can add software, you can add cameras, and lights, and microphones. But use what you’ve got right now to get to the end state.

So there’s a few more questions we’re not able to get to, but Jason, he’s been in the chat, in the Q&A. We’ll have you hopefully go back and be able to answer some of these very specific questions. Jason, first of all we want to thank you for being here and going through some of this with us. If people wanna connect with you where can they find you?

I’m pretty active on Twitter. We’ll have to post it somewhere. It’s Jay2thaVee, J-A-Y number 2 T-H-A-V-E-E.

That’s the best way to get ahold of me, absolutely.

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