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What are the Best Tips for Home Video Editing?

By Rachel Burkot
Updated May 16, 2024
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Home videos are drawing more attention thanks to new internet capabilities and uploading features. Even with no prior video or editing experience, a home movie can appear professional. These days, video camera and editing software are the only tools needed to make home videos. By following a few basic guidelines, these tools can lead to high-quality home video editing.

The first step in digital editing is moving the footage from the camera to the computer. The footage can be broken up into smaller files to be more manageable, and a program such as Adobe® Premiere® can help load the footage shot by shot. Once the footage is uploaded, shots need to be chosen. This is just a matter of finding the best angles filmed. The shots can be dragged into a time line so they will hook together and create a movie.

With these three steps, a raw home video can be created. Of course, additional steps can be taken along the way to improve the quality of home video editing. Smooth transitions should be inserted between scenes so the video flows from start to finish. Most computer editing software will have built-in transition features — including dissolves, fades, wipes and others — which can be dragged between two clips on the time line.

Videos have several sources of sound, including the natural sounds of subjects in the movie, background music and narration. A raw video will only have the first. Music can create certain feelings in viewers and change the entire tone of the movie, while narration can be used to clarify confusing points or to explain what is going on. These sound sources can make home video editing seem more professional.

Music must be imported into a sound file and will mix with the original sound track of the video. One or the other can be set to fade with the home video editing software so that both can be used at once. Narration should be read into the camera, and the narration sound track can be separated from the video track. Once narration footage is taken, it can be uploaded to the time line, along with the music.

Three free programs for PCs that can make home video editing simpler are Windows® Movie Maker, Avid Free DVD and Virtual Dub. Windows® Movie Maker is useful for cutting out unnecessary shots, and it’s user-friendly for beginners. Avid Free DVD is a little more intimidating, but it has helpful features for trimming video, editing audio and creating titles. VirtualDub is a fast program with special capabilities for adjusting brightness or clarity of images. For Mac users, iMovie® is well-known as user-friendly software for any level of home video editing.

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Discussion Comments
By MrsPramm — On Aug 21, 2014

@Iluviaporos - Video editing isn't just cutting out footage. With most modern tools, even the basic ones, you can add in text and make fancy scene cuts and things like that. Digital video editing just makes something look more deliberate and professional. They aren't expecting an Oscar-worthy movie from the average home video after all.

By lluviaporos — On Aug 20, 2014

My nephew and I decided to film a movie while he was visiting me and we ended up with quite a large blooper reel, mostly because I kept forgetting my lines.

I was quite glad to have some decent home video editing software since I ended up having to shuffle quite a lot of footage to make it even a little bit watchable as a coherent story.

I don't mind having the mistakes and things there but I'm glad I'm able to cut them out of the videos. And a lot of it was also just really badly filmed or boring. That's the main stuff people will want to cut.

By pastanaga — On Aug 20, 2014

Don't be in too big a hurry to edit out every little mistake from your videos. In my experience it's the mistakes that tend to be cherished later on as being more candid. We have all kinds of running jokes in my family that relate to embarrassing things that we've done in home videos. My brother is always eating, for example, and my sister is always trying to get her dolls into the shot. As adults that stuff is a lot more interesting and funny than just ordinary pictures of us unwrapping presents or throwing a ball around.

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