Editing is an art form. Good editing can make a video and bad can break it. When a beginner sits down to edit it can be hard to tell where to start. I have a few tips for the beginner video editor to make your videos meet the Good Clean standard.
Don’t get fooled by bells and whistles
When you open an editing program you’ll see all these amazing transitions, special effects, and other specialty items. If you’re a good editor – odds are that you won’t ever use most of them. While these features look fun and are a great way to “beef up” an editing program, they aren’t used in the majority of video and film today.
Modern Video Editing
Watch any movie or high end Televisions show’s editing and they use a clean “cut” in between shots. Meaning that no transition or wipe is used between shots. A clean cut is less distracting for an audience and shows that the editor knows how to properly manipulate film and isn’t relying on a funky transition to cover for them. Watch a movie and see how it’s edited and notice how there isn’t a fancy transition being used.
The Golden Rule of Video Editing That Beginners Don’t Know
Here’s the rule: NO WIPES. This is practically pounded in to film students’ heads from day 1. There are a couple of reasons for this. Wipes use the tech that is available, which means that once the tech advances a wipe can easily date a video and limit it’s shelf life. The second is that it screams amateur. Because it’s distracting for the audience and takes away from your video.
The Transitions That Can Pass for Professional
There are a few transitions that I think can be used ( but used sparingly). A dissolve or cross dissolve is a nice way of going from video to a graphic. A fade from or two black is also a good way of starting and ending a video. But other than these simple transitions try to steer clear of anything else.
But This Pro Used a Wipe…
Before I get a comment from someone pointing out some production used a wipe let me point out a few things. Lots of productions that make videos with a short shelf life use big flashy graphics and transitions. They can get away with this because they know that the video has a limited shelf life (and is edited by professionals who know how to properly use a wipe). If I am going to take the time to make a video, I want it to have as LONG a shelf life as possible and don’t want graphics or transitions that can make it seem old or irrelevant.
To get more of an idea of how wipes look bad check out this video: