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Video production is no longer an array dominated by only cinema or agency pros. Pretty much anyone from a small brand to your Instagram friend is now shooting videos and sharing them with the wider world. 

And if video shooting — thanks to smartphones and other easy tech — is getting easier to manage, video editing comes with more challenges. Of course, unless an edgy raw look is something you’re going for as a brand (business or personal). But once you master a few easy tips and know which software to turn to, editing becomes almost as easy as one, two, three.

This post will feature five video editing tips that will help you give your videos a more polished look without requiring you to spend hours on full-scale video editing.

Let’s go!

1. Pick the right editing software for your projects

The choice of video editing software is a very personal thing. It really depends on what features you might need, your budget, your tech skills, and way more.

For instance, After Effects might not be the most suitable solution if all you need is just to polish up your YouTube unboxing video. But it's definitely something you want if you’re editing a music video.

So we’ve gathered all the things you need to consider when picking the most suitable video editing software  — all to help you make a smarter choice:

Downloadable vs. online

The very first thing to think about is whether you want a video editor that you should install on your laptop/PC or that you’ll work with the cloud.

Typically, downloadable editors require much more resources from your machine. It’s also less convenient to switch from one device to another and share editing access with your team.

So unless you’re dealing with some serious editing materials — say, full-scale cinematography — an online video editor is the easiest way to go. All you need to work with online editors is an internet connection. 

Text overlay features

Chances are, you’ll need to add various texts throughout your video. So make sure your video editor of choice supports this feature. And not only does it have to allow you to add text, but it also should come with plenty of options for changing the font, colors, and adding various effects. 

 

video editing text overlay

 

Smooth scene transition, or the art of montage

Even if you aren’t working on the next Hollywood blockbuster, your video editor should empower you to create smooth scene transitions. And for that, you need more than a simple cut.

So make sure to pick an editor that comes with various transition effects to cover everything you might need from swiping to fading.

Quick & easy aspect ratio change

Repurposing is everything, especially in the video world. You want to streamline how you optimize your videos for various channels, so if your editing software can change aspect ratios in one click, that’s the dream. 

This is one of the most important aspects of any video editor, but we’ll get to the details later on in this post. 

Filters & overlays for on-brand experience

If you want to create a branded experience or simply have a signature style, you can easily do that by adding filters and overlays to any video. 

This brand book classic is not just a consideration for large brands; any brand should have a recognizable style, so make sure your video editor supports these features and offers plenty of overlays to choose from. 

Wide selection of stock footage and sounds

Chances are, you will need to use stock footage or add certain sound effects you can’t make on your own at some point. This is when you may need access to a library of stock content — and the more libraries that come with your video editor, the better.

We know brands whose entire visual experiences are built on stock footage, and they are in no way translating less personal vibes than others who invest in video shooting.  

2. Pay attention to text 

Enriching your video footage with text interceptions can help you:

  • Build a better video structure (especially important with tutorials, educational videos)
  • Move your story forward (a simple “5 years later…” phrase can help you convey a message that would’ve taken more screen time to translate)
  • Signpost important moments and information you want viewers to remember (videos that feature deals and special promos should definitely have that in writing as well)

But be sure to consider a few things before you add text to your videos:

Choose the right size

If your text is too small, no one will make the effort to read it. If it’s too big, it might interfere with your visuals. So pick an optimal size, where you choose readability first, but also ensure there are no obstructions from the background.

Use readable fonts

While it may seem tempting to go all creative with your choice of fonts, once again think of the viewer first. 

Don't forget about margins

It’s likely that you will be repurposing your video for various channels, so keep this in mind when adding your text. Make sure you’ve set the right margins that will keep your text safe from any aberrations whenever you’re changing aspect ratios.

Consider read time

If viewers don’t have enough time to read your text, it makes no sense to add it. So if you’re using a phrase that consists of more than two words, make sure it has enough screen time to even be read.

3. Optimize your video for different platforms

The types of videos people like changes depending on the platform. If Instagram is all about visual aesthetic, LinkedIn is more driven by informative content.

Consequently, it’s not always possible (or wise) to repurpose each and every video for each and every platform. 

So while it may be harder to optimize the entire content of your video to a given platform, you definitely have to work on the most important aspect: Size.

Essentially, there are three main video formats you should adhere to:

The horizontal 16:9 ratio

This is the all-time classic for videos across almost any platform. If you don’t want to get black fill-ins for your empty spaces when you upload videos to YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, this is your go-to size.

The square 1:1 ratio

The Instagram favorite square video gained its prominence thanks to this platform. But it’s also a perfectly suitable size for uploading your video to Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. 

The vertical 9:16

This is what we can call an ideal size for mobile-driven Instagram and TikTok platforms. So if you’re placing your bet on one of those social media networks, definitely go with the vertical aspect ratio and worry about optimizing it for other channels later.

4. Spend extra time on the background music

Imagine a video that has no background music and only comes with a voice or a voice-over. Sounds kind of terrifying, right? 

Unless you want to create an odd effect with your video and keep viewers wondering how they should feel about your content, adding background music to your video is super important.

Quality background music...

  • keeps viewers engaged, creating a more entertaining atmosphere
  • delivers a more holistic experience to the viewers
  • helps to amplify, downplay, and break down certain parts of the video and/or evoke the right emotion
  • It has the power to be the most memorable thing about your video. Remember that infamous Intel jingle?

 

But once again, there are a few good rules to follow when you’re choosing background music for your video:

  1. Make sure your music of choice doesn’t come with any copyright issues. Choose royalty free music from a trustworthy music library. You don’t want your video to be taken off the web simply because you didn’t go copyright-conscious.
  2. This goes without saying, but your music should actually support and amplify the mood of your video. If you have a jumpy montage, a fast track can amplify the speed. But if there is a mismatch, the soundtrack might hinder your videos’ performance.
  3. Align the music with your audience’s characteristics. If your video is supposed to target a group of youngsters, you might not want to use rusty, outdated tunes in the background. 

This post further reveals how to go about adding music to your video.

5. Include captions or subtitles

Adding captions and subtitles is especially important if you plan to publish your videos across social media, where 92% of viewers are what’s called silent viewers, meaning they watch videos with the sound off.

 

Video editing for captions and subtitles

 

So no video can make a proper splash on social media, and even YouTube, Vimeo, and other video-centered platforms if it doesn't have captions.

While it’s always smarter to use auto-caption generators that should be included within your video editor, you should still run some manual check before airing the video with subtitles, ensuring:

  • Even structure: uneven lines can hinder the viewing (and reading) experience from your video, so make sure all the lines are evenly aligned across the screen.
  • Good readability: your viewers should have enough time to read the subtitles so let them sit for as long as possible, considering what happens on the screen. We suggest that you try to keep your captions up to 140 words per minute.
  • No obstructions: you have to place your captions around the bottom area of the screen, keeping them away from obscuring key elements of your video.

Ready, edit, go!

With the right software, video editing should not be any more difficult than your pre-production and shooting. And all the tips we’ve highlighted here can actually be automatically followed if you are armed with the right video editor.

So make sure that you’re making a wise choice whatever video editing tool you pick. And we hope this post does clarify some of the most important features to consider.

About the author:

Maria Rozhdestvenskaya is a Content & Video Marketing Strategist at Wave.video, a robust video marketing platform for making, editing, and hosting video content.

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