Video editing is an essential process of any digital video project and can be an overwhelming project to take on. This is not about cutting out footage that you do not like, but it is where you craft the video by including text, graphics and music to tie the whole video together. As a result, new video editors are prone to making some common mistakes, and here are 10 of them you should avoid.

1. No Planning

Before you start editing your video footage, spend a few minutes to think about what you want your end product to look like. Who is your audience? What is the point of the video? Will you use text, animations or graphics? Whether you’re storyboarding or just re-watching your footage, it’s crucial to develop a vision for the project, or at the very least, decide the beginning, middle and end. Write that down and try your best to stick to it.

2. Poor Organization

After importing all of your raw media elements into your video editing software, the next thing you should do is to organize your elements into folders and sub-folders and rename them according to titles, audio, video clips, pictures, sound effects etc. This organization will then allow you to easily locate your various elements when you start editing your footage.

3. Poor Audio Mix

Audio components play an important role in video productions. Voices communicate information and help tell the story. Music sets the mood and drives the pace of your video. For videotaped interviews, edit out distracting “ums”, “hmms” and “uhs”, including awkward pauses. This helps the interviewee appear to be a better communicator and will also improve your video. Also, if you’re using background music to accompany the interviews, bear in mind to not let the music overpower the vocals. Set your music levels slightly lower than you think you should when accompanying vocals, and bump them up in between dialogue.

4. Out-of-Sync Audio

When editing and moving your video footage around the timeline, there may be instances where shifts in audio tracks may get bumped out of sync. These shifts occasionally occur when working with clips at different video frame rates or audio sample rates, and it is important to remedy because out-of-sync audio is a major distraction to viewers. The remedy is pretty simple, just split the clip and bump it up or down a few frames to get the words and the lips back into sync.

5. Graphic Violations

Graphics can make or break your video production. If done right, they can make your project look ultra professional. But if done wrong, you and your video will look amateurish. These include using multiple fonts in a single graphic, having a low contrast of text and background or having texts that are too small, too large, or too swirly to read.

Therefore, when using graphics, keep these few things in mind:

  • Color: Stay away from using hard-to-read “hot” colors such as red, orange, pink or yellow for text as they’re very hard to read on screen. If you need to use these colors, place a drop shadow or outline on the graphic.

  • Length: Make sure your graphic is up long enough for someone to read through it at least twice.

  • Fitting on the screen: Use TV safe grids in your video editor to make sure your whole graphic will fit on the screen when viewing on a TV.

6. Overusing Effects

Oftentimes, it is very easy to get carried away with the hundreds of effects available with your editing software, but they are usually just distracting. When it comes to effects and flashy transitions, the golden rule is: less is more. Keep your edits simple and only use the effects when really necessary.

7. Overused Fonts

Similar to overusing effects, it is also very easy for editors to fall into “fontmania”, given the vast amount of font choices available in editing softwares. Overusing fonts not only distract your audiences from your story and message, it also deems you amateurish. Therefore, use one or two different, easy-to-read fonts and maintain consistency in color, size, screen placement and drop shadows. Sans serif fonts such as Arial, Calibri, and Franklin Gothic are much easier to read on screen than serif fonts such as Georgia, and Times New Roman.

8. Jump Cuts and Match Frames

Jump cuts occurs when a before and after shot of an edited video is squashed together, causing the talent or objects to seem like they “jumped” into a different position. Match frames occurs when two shots that are similar in composition are cut back to back. Jump cuts and match frames can be remedied by inserting a cutaway shot, to show audiences that the scenes are separated. If cuts of the same person are required, frame the shots differently through by subject size, camera height or camera angle.

9. Long Shots

Visual media is consumed by audiences in vastly different ways than they do print media. For visual media, there is no need to spend a lot of time explaining a certain scene or situation. Therefore, keep only the essentials, and make your video short, tight and concise. Keep re-watching and thinking through your cuts, and when you think there is nothing more to cut, think harder. Having to cut your footage down is hard, especially when you’ve invested so much time and energy into it, but in the end, your video will turn out stronger and more effective because of it.

10. Staggered Outs

Typically seen at the end of a video production, staggered outs occurs when the various elements of a graphic fade out at different times, which can be quite annoying. Because of graphics encompassing various elements, it is easy to inadvertently stagger the out points that causes one or more portions of the graphic to end before the others. To fix this, make sure all the elements have the same out point on the timeline.

The first step to professionalizing your productions is making it a priority to remove them of these 10 problems. So every time you are working on a video production, make a note of any signs or signals that may indicate any of these 10 problems occurring in you video, and do everything you can to eradicate them.

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