Top Video Editing Guidelines

Following best-practice editing tips will help you create better videos.

You may make your movies flow together smoothly, in a traditional way, without resorting to several transitions by following specific easy video editing rules.

Of course, laws were designed to be overlooked, and creative editors use their artistic license to the farthest extent possible. If you’re new to video editing, study these tried-and-true best practices and use them as a basis on which to build your talents.

Focal Lengths Can Be Changed

It’s simple to switch between close and wide viewpoints when you have two images of the same topic. So, if you’re shooting an interview or a long event like a wedding, switch focus lengths now and then. A broad picture and a medium close-up can be cuts together, allowing you to trim parts out and rearrange shots without noticeable jump cuts.

Match the Situation

The beauty of editing is that you can blend film shots that are shot out of order or at different times so that they appear as one continuous scene. The elements in the photos must, however, coincide with doing this sorcery properly.

A subject who exits the frame to the right, for example, should enter the next shot from the left. Otherwise, the issue looks to have turned around and is now walking in the opposite direction. Alternatively, if the subject is holding anything in one image, don’t cut to a photo of her having nothing.

Insert some b-roll in between if you don’t have the correct footage to make matched cuts.

Cut on Elements That Are Similar

In Apocalypse Now, there is a transition from a whirling ceiling fan to a helicopter. The sequences are drastically different, but the visually identical aspects combine for a fluid, imaginative cut.

In your videos, you can do the same thing. Cut from the flower on the wedding cake to the groom’s boutonniere, tilt from one scene to the next by tilting up to the blue sky and then down from the sky.

Cut on the Move

The eyes are diverting from seeing editing cuts by motion. So, if you’re going to cut from one image to the next, attempt to do it when the subject is moving. Cutting from a motionless head to a door about to be opened, for example, is significantly smoother than cutting from a turning head to an opening door. A motion cut also joins the two acts seamlessly if the motion between the two video portions is related.

Keep Your Plane

Imagine that a horizontal line separates you and your subjects. Now, while capturing the scenario, stay on your side of the line. You can preserve a more realistic perspective for the audience by viewing a 180-degree plane.

Use b-roll between cuts if you’re editing material that breaks this guideline. This way, the shift in perspective won’t be as noticeable—if it happens at all.

45-degree angle

Always aim to pick photos that look at the subject from at least a 45-degree difference when editing a scenario shot from multiple camera angles. Otherwise, the pictures are too similar and appear to the spectator as a jump cut.

Encourage Yourself

Every cut should have a purpose. It would help if you had a good cause for switching from one shot or camera angle to another. “The camera shook” or “someone walked in front of the camera” are examples of simple motivation.

However, your objectives for editing should ideally be to further your video’s narrative storytelling. Look for strategies to position the cameras or fill frames while filming to help with subsequent editing. It’s usually easier to act deliberately during video capture than deduce brilliance from undirected footage.

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