Video editing is the secret recipe that can take a great video and make it perfect. Whether you’re an independent content creator, an enterprise-level marketing agency, or just learning for fun, it may feel like a difficult skill to master. You have to balance the wants and needs of a diverse audience and different creators, as well as picking the perfect tools and software.
Well, don’t worry! With a little guidance, you’ll be editing like a pro in no time. We’ll show you how you can apply some simple tricks to take your video to the next level. Avoiding some common pitfalls will help you make a video that stands out from the crowd.
This article covers 9 of the most common video editing mistakes, explaining why and how to avoid them at every step. We hope that you will find it a useful resource on your journey toward better content creation.
Common mistakes beginners in video editing should avoid
1. Neglecting to create an outline and plan how you’ll tell a story
Every story should have a clear beginning, middle, and end.
If someone has clicked on a 10-minute video, they don’t want to be overloaded with information from the get-go. Rather, they want to see a glimpse or hint of what is to come later, thus giving a reason for them to keep watching. We call this ‘the hook’, and every video needs one.
For example, you can add hooks to your arsenal of Instagram stories hacks, dropping teasers of upcoming projects to pique your audience’s interest.
Likewise, the middle has to be engaging and maintain your viewers interest. This can include introducing twists and conflicts or using humor. This keeps your audience captivated all the way to the end.
Ask yourself, what is the turning point of the story? How do I present it to the audience in an engaging way? Is there information that could be revealed to the surprise of your viewers? A new character that can be introduced for dramatic effect – or humor? A decision that has to be made?
How do you accomplish this? Simple - start by creating a general story trajectory with a clear beginning, middle, and end. Then, fill in the gaps until the storyline is rich with content. That way, you can build up to the concrete ending you had in mind from the very start.
2. Making every single shot too long
Striking a balance between tempo and context is a tough nut to crack.
Often, beginner video editors show far too much footage to convey basic points. Dragging out clips longer than is necessary will no doubt bore your audience and cause your video retention to suffer. Try to find the perfect video length to maintain your audience’s attention.
You should constantly rewatch your videos to identify the slow sections. Then, ruthlessly trim those clips as necessary. The end product should be rapid in pace yet rich in detail. Decide if you want to use a screen recorder or use other visuals on screen. A variety may help to hold people’s attention.
Consider also using visual elements, such as on-screen text or infographics, to illustrate the points you are trying to make. It will only take a second for the human brain to register the information – just look at TikTok creators that tell entire stories in 6-second video clips.
3. Unorganized raw footage
Trimming your videos is not an easy task.
However, using the trim tool ruthlessly is a necessity if you want to create engaging content. Including deadweight footage can make your video seem unpolished to the viewer. They will think “they haven’t put the time in to properly edit this video, so why should I spend my time watching it?”.
Rather, you want your viewer to be totally engrossed in the video from start to finish. That means they should not be questioning your video editing skills at any point!
To achieve this, you should identify and remove any unorganized pieces of footage that seem out of place or add little to the storyline. If you’re struggling, invite teammates, friends or family to watch your first draft and provide feedback (free video conferencing apps will come in handy here).
The effect of this will be a much-improved final cut that will surely produce better watch time statistics.
4. Forgetting to autosave / backup a project
Picture the scene: you have spent hours in filming locations, passionately delivered your talking points, wrapped up for the day, and headed home.
All that’s left is to edit and render the video. You go to open the file and are met with ‘Can’t play. Error code 0xc00d36c4’, or something to that effect. It’s a gut-wrenching feeling for us content creators. Worse still is seeing your entire hard drive destroyed by water damage or fire.
All your effort is gone, forever.
I’m giving this warning now so it’s something you will hopefully never have to run into: Remember to Please. Back. Up. Your. Files.
How? You should be saving backup copies of your data in different physical locations and on different hard drives. Use a cloud-based file storage platform if necessary.
5. Not mapping out a timeframe and schedule for your project
How long does it take for a video concept to reach completion?
Of course, that’s an open-ended question, and it depends on a multitude of factors. What I’m trying to achieve by asking you is, how long do you think a video should take to complete?
Without a timeframe in mind, it’s impossible to work toward your set goals. You’ll find it hard to keep track of processes and things will inevitably fall behind schedule.
If you’re leading a team project, you should explore project management software like workflow apps, which help you manage responsibilities, priorities, and progress.
6. Poor use of music and audio
It’s no secret the extent to which filmmakers rely on audio to convey meaning. Just look at the top composers who earn millions creating original scores for blockbuster movies.
To understand why, we need to look at biological science. In short, music triggers pleasure (or fear) centers in your brain that release endorphins, thus affecting your mood.
By matching the genre of music to the type of content, your audience’s brain chemicals will be in sync with the tone you’re attempting to create.
So, by all means – make sure that you select the right music. For example, it would not be appropriate to blast heavy techno music over a graceful nature shot, nor would be playing soft ukulele music over a busy city setting.
Start by discerning the video topic, deciding on the proper tone, and then sticking to it. Feel free to use song changes to precipitate changes of tone, and use multiple songs so as not to bore your viewers. If you need help picking the right tunes, reach out to the musicians directly with collaborative digital communication solutions.
Finally, adjust volume levels as necessary – you want your audience to be able to hear you speak!
7. Using the wrong video export settings
Once you’ve finished with the video editing phase, the next step is to render your finished product.
At this point, you will be given a list of export options. Here, you can typically change the video’s aspect ratio and resolution, as well as the file size and type.
This is basic stuff – but you’ll want to learn which export settings are ideal for the purposes of your videos. Fail to do this, and you might find that your videos are sandwiched between vertical black bars, or completely unplayable on your chosen platform.
8. Not using pattern interrupt for increased viewer retention
In spoken conversation, we don’t talk at the listener, we talk with the listener. In recognizing this, the speaker does everything in their power to hold the attention of the listener.
For example, by emphasizing certain words, using expressive body language, and holding pauses for suspense.
You need to carry these conversational skills across to your video editing processes. Here comes the ‘pattern interrupt’. This is an abrupt visual change that jolts the focus of the viewer, prompting an opportunity to re-engage with the video. Be careful to use these interrupts only sparingly; they are effective but should not be overdone.
9. Using a video editor that doesn’t suit your needs and skill level
Dabble in video editing, and you will find there are many different editing platforms on the market. Some of these are free, some require an upfront payment, and some exist as a monthly payment service…
All of them seem to serve different purposes too, so you’re probably scratching your head trying to work out which video editor is best?
It depends on your needs and what you’ll be using it for. If you’ll be editing at a professional level, high-end tools like Da Vinci or Adobe Premiere will help you create industry-standard edits. They may take some time to learn, but the payoff will be worth it.
Meanwhile, if you do most of your editing on the go or through your smartphone, free editing tools like Capcut might be the perfect fit. And if you want a one-stop-shop that lets you record, edit, collaborate and share video, Veed offers a comprehensive suite of tools that will suit either individuals or teams.
Another great option is to reach out to those who were once in the same boat as you are now. You don’t need any fancy video conferencing setups, just a quick message with the basics:
E.g. What was your budget? Your experience? Did you encounter any hurdles? Etc.
Most video editors will be happy to point you in the right direction. Once you find the platform that appears closest to your needs, you should stick to it. You’ll find great online guides or Youtube videos to help you become proficient over time. After a few dozen hours of video edits, you’ll be well on your way to mastering the platform.
By nailing down these basics, you will be on your way to delivering exciting content for your audience. Good luck!