Video editing can be an overwhelming project to take on. As a result, many novice editors are prone to falling victim to some common mistakes. Here are some of the most common video editing mistakes, and what you can do to avoid them. 

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No Planning

Spending a few minutes before you edit to plan out your project can save you hours in the end. Whether it be storyboarding or just rewatching all of your footage, this time to collect your thoughts and develop a vision for the project is crucial. At the very least, decide what will be your beginning, middle and end. Write that down and do your best to stick to it. Obviously things can and should change as you embark on the editing process, but knowing what you want your ultimate project to look and feel like is crucial. 

 

Saving and Labeling

There is no doubt that every editor at some time has seen the dreadful “Video Not Found” error message. This is a direct result of poor saving and labeling practices. It is crucial when you start a project to have a plan in mind to keep all of your components in one folder. Make sure that folder is on a drive with enough room to handle all of your capturing, renders and exports. Whenever you capture, export or save make sure to be diigent about checking where your program wants to save it. Often times you may think it is going to the right place, but programs like Final Cut will actually default to a Render Scratch folder that can make things very confusing. 

 

Length of Clips

Many new editors have a tendency to draw out the length of individual clips between transitions. This can make the pace of your project very slow and you might loose your audience’s attention. A good thing to keep in mind is that purposeful quick edits creates energy. Take notice of the commercials next time you watch TV. Car commercials, specifically, tend to do a great job keeping your attention by simply making quick edits. Take this Mazda commercial, for example. You’re ultimately just watching the same car the entire time, but their use of quick transitions and interesting camera angles grab your attention for longer. 

 

Hard to Read Graphics

Graphics can make or break a production. If they’re done right, they can elevate your project to look ultra professional. If they’re done wrong, it is the ultimate stamp of a novice editor. When making graphics, make sure to keep a few things in mind: 

    • Color: Try to stay away from using “hot” colors (red, orange, yellow) for text. They’re very hard to read on a screen or monitor. If you do need to use these colors, place a drop shadow or outline on the text so it does not bleed as much.
    • Length: Make sure your graphic is up long enough for someone to read through it at least twice. A graphic that no one has time to read is just a disctraction and will obviously not provide any information to your audience.
    • Fitting on the screen: Use the guides in your video editor to make sure your whole graphic will fit on the screen. Sometimes the edges of your project will be cut off by a TV when you do you final export and viewing, so use the TV safe grids included in most video editing programs to make sure all of your words will appear on the screen.

 

Overusing Effects

When it comes to effects and flashy transitions, less is more. It is easy to get carried away with fun wipes and explosions, but ultimately they are just distracting. Keep your edits simple and use the effects in purposeful ways. 

 

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