Kate G: Peer Production – How to Edit Video


Have you ever thought about making your own webseries? Got a great idea you really want to bring to fruition? Of course you do, you’re a writer. So do it. Nowadays, anyone can make a webseries or a short – yes, even you.

Many people believe that they aren’t able to do what they want because they lack money and they don’t know anyone who will do what they need for free. At this point I say, well, then just do it yourself.

There are some things that you can’t do all alone. You can’t film a fifty person epic battle all by your onesies. But there are many other things that, with enough time and determination, you can accomplish alone. I’m going to point you toward the places where you can gain the knowledge and skills you need to succeed when no one else can or will help you.

Let’s start with post production. This may seem a little backwards, but without anyone to handle editing your video work, all you have are a lot of cool home videos.

Video editors take all of your raw footage, select your best shots and meld them together seamlessly, sync to music and sound, fix any issues that occurred during production, correct color imbalances, add cool titles, add animation, and more. This can seem overwhelming to a new editor, but trust me, with enough time and determination, you can do this. Start small.

You will need professional editing software: Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro, or Avid. They can be expensive, but you can get them on a trial, and if you’re a student, at a discount.

Can’t afford those? Well, Windows Movie Maker can do a pretty decent job depending on what you’re going for. And I also googled this list for you: Free Video Editing Software. You’re welcome. I can’t vouch for anything else on there, so you’ll have to fiddle around with it yourself.

There are a number of good books that can teach you the professional programs, but for free online video training I recommend Creative Cow for Premiere, After Effects, and AVID.

Izzy for Final Cut Pro.

And if those don’t work for you, I use the pay service Lynda.com for all of those programs and more.

Some additional programs that help:

1. Image editors like Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, or any of these free image editors. I hear good things about Gimp. These programs will help you create still graphics that you can use in your video editing programs.

2. Adobe AfterEffects will help to create visual effects. I recommend Video Copilot for even more AfterEffects tutorials.

Get some footage and start playing around in one of the video editing programs today. A number of these tutorial sites also offer downloadable footage so that you can follow along. You don’t need to get super fancy with your visual effects yet (or ever depending on what you’re doing). I started out ripping footage off DVDs and syncing to music. Anything that gets you going.

Long after you’re done shooting, your video editor (or you) will be plugging away at post production. It’s an arduous process which is intense on both the computer and the editor, but it’s also completely doable and immensely rewarding when you see your finished product.

Oh and as a video editor myself, here’s a tip for all of you directors or would be video editors out there. Do you remember the time when you were filming and your brother came home, slammed the door upstairs a few dozen times, then carried on a conversation with your mom? Remember how you said “We’ll fix it in post”? Your video editor does. Because it took them forever to fix it.

Reshooting something might take you ten minutes. Fixing it in post will take you ten days. So save your editor and yourself some headache and please prepare. Barring that, reshoot it when you see it during filming, and if that fails placate your editor with lots of money (ha), praise (genuine helps), and back massages (this always works). And if you’ve done it to yourself, drown your regrets in your beverage of choice and get to editing. It’ll all be over soon, and then you’ll be able to watch your very own series.

Author: Kathryn Graham

Los Angeles-based television writer, TVWriter Contributing Editor, and lover of women. e-mail: kathrynagraham@gmail.com