Editing Tips for Social Video

For my last blog post of video month, let’s get into some of the details and talk about editing. There are a lot of different editing software out there, and they all do things a little bit differently, so I’m not going to give you precise instructions for how to do things. Unfortunately, you’re going to have to look up the how-to yourself. But what I am going to do today is give you some ideas of editing tricks you can use to make your videos better and more interesting. And all of these can be done on ShotCut or iMovie (the two simple, free editing tools I recommend).

Add Background Music

Background music can make your video more engaging to listen to and it seems more professional. iMovie already has a database of royalty-free music you can use, but Bensound has a good library for if you’re using ShotCut or just don’t like anything in iMovie’s database.

Use Cuts

Nothing looks less professional than a lengthy “um…” or a long pause between points. Use editing to cut out those pauses and make it flow better. (Just don’t cut it too close, or it will feel jumpy and disorienting.)

Add Images

If you have a point that could be illustrated with an image, put the image in an overlay so people can see the image while hearing you talk. This also works well if you’re doing a video that has several numbered points – you can put up a brief title card-style image to introduce each point. (I do this in my “The Art of Being On Camera” video.)

Use Title Cards

This is a technique that I don’t personally use, but other people have seen success with. Try putting an image at the beginning with your logo and the title of your video, and then one at the end that says “Thanks for watching!” or something similar.

Have a Unique Intro/Outro

Creating a unique greeting and farewell that you use on every video is helpful for branding and creating a consistent experience with every one of your videos. If you’re doing long videos or anything on YouTube, I highly recommend a theme song – a short, 10-15 second music clip with accompanying video that stays the same every video – but if you don’t want to go that fancy, you don’t have to. A good example of this is the YouTube channel The Game Theorists, who do have a theme song, but also start every video with, “Hello, internet, welcome to game theory!” and end with, “But hey, that’s just a theory – a game theory. Thanks for watching!” Something as simple as that can make your videos seem more professional and intentional.

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