When I was a kid, TV and movies were my window to the world beyond my boring suburb.

This week profoundly changed everything!

I took an online course in video editing and it blew my mind.

Most of us realize the majority of video we consume is not reality. It is carefully staged, filmed and edited to create the illusion of reality.

But if you understand the techniques used in video editing it is like having a backstage pass to a magic show. The view is very different when you’re allowed to sit behind the curtain.

Why am I Interested in Video Editing?

In the coming months MediaVidi will be launching a new web series and YouTube channel. We will be editing a lot of video. So I thought it would be a good idea to learn how professionals edit video so I could work more effectively with our team.

The course (produced by Creative Live for $100) took 3 days. I highly recommend this course if you’re interested in using Adobe Premier Pro, but there are others provided by services like Lynda.

What did I Learn?

With the right knowledge and good video editing software, you can create a top quality product.

Here are a few important take-aways:

1. Did you know that top quality HD video is only 2 Megapixels? That fancy TV you just bought with 1080p video (1920 x 1080 pixels) is grainier than that camera you haven’t used in 10 years!

We’re all carrying smartphone video cameras in our pockets capable of HD quality video. So why is so much of the video you see on YouTube and elsewhere of such poor quality? Two words…..Bad Editing.

2. The next time you watch TV or a movie, notice how smoothly the transitions happen between shots.

Do not overdo transitions between scenes in your videos.

Most transitions should be “straight cuts” (no effects), because fancy sliders and dissolves are distracting. The only exception to this rule is if the video you’re editing features talentless performers and you need to distract the viewer.

3. Learn how to color correct and adjust the white balance.

White balance and Color Correction can take ordinary video and turn it into something special. You get a lot of bang-for-the-buck. Under exposed video comes alive when white balances are set properly. Skin tones look vibrant when you color correct.

You would be amazed by how many popular movies and TV shows create completely different moods by applying filters and changing color settings.

4. When you shoot video, less light is better than more.

When a video is over-exposed you lose all the detail and there is nothing you can do in the editing process to fix it. But under-exposed video can easily be adjusted to look like it was shot in better light.

5. Audio is more important than Images.

Your audience will watch a video with great audio but poor images much longer than a video with great images and poor audio.

Spending a little more money on your audio equipment is a good investment. It’s not as sexy as a new camera, but it’s a lot cheaper.

6. If you’re using a DSLR to shoot video, record the audio on a dedicated audio recording device and synchronize the sound during the editing process.

DSLR’s record poor quality audio. There isn’t much you can do to in post production to fix it. It’s a case of garbage in, garbage out.

7. Learn how to mix audio.

If you’re using background music here are the rules:

  • Keep your voices at -6 DB, sound effects at -12 DB and your music at -18 DB.
  • Never allow your finished audio to exceed 0 DB or it will cause distortion. It is preferable to never exceed -3 DB.

8. If you are using multiple clips, normalize your audio.

This will give you consistent levels throughout your video so you don’t inadvertently blast your audience with sound. This is an easy fix and your audience will appreciate it.

Whether you’re editing video of your family, your YouTube channel or a corporate video, a little knowledge will get you much better results than expensive equipment. As the old saying goes, it’s a poor craftsman who blames his tools.

I highly recommend taking a course in video editing. It will give you a great return on your investment.