What Equipment do I Need for Video Editing?

Carol Francois

Video editing is the modification of either a digital or analog continuous motion video or film. The type of equipment required depends of the original video source, how it was created and when. Video editing is part of the process when creating any type of film or movie.

An external hard drive.
An external hard drive.

A digital video can be created using a camcorder, digital video recorder or a professional video camera. The images are stored digitally on a disk or hard drive. To edit this type of video, you will need three components: hardware, software and storage capacity.

Front and back views of cassettes for a MiniDV camcorder.
Front and back views of cassettes for a MiniDV camcorder.

The basic requirement for digital video editing is a computer with a fast processor. Any computer that meets the minimum specifications of the computer software program can be used for video editing. AppleĀ® provides specialized video and graphic related software that can be used for editing. The increased monitor size, deeper color resolution, and enhanced software functionality are well suiting to this type of work.

Computers with fast processors are required for digital video editing.
Computers with fast processors are required for digital video editing.

The quality of the editing software available in the consumer marketplace is parallel to those tools available in the professional film industry. When selecting software, check the operating system and hardware requirements carefully. Look at the price and complexity of the software and think about how you plan to use these tools.

There are very simple programs available that will allow you to easy complete the most common tasks, such as deleting scenes, cut and paste and refocus a scene. The more complex software has additional features that are typically required only for professional grade video editing. Avoid purchasing software with features that you will never use, as this can be very costly.

Video and sound files require a significant amount of memory or storage space to process on the computer. Investigate the storage capacity of your computer hardware and consider investing in an external hard drive. These units provide the ability to expand your storage capacity without opening your computer and are portable.

Analog video editing is no longer very common, but a large library of film is stored in this format. This type of editing requires a film editor workstation to allow you to physically cut and paste the film in the required sections. New tools are available to convert analog film to digital and edit it using digital software. There are wide ranges of format conversion software tools that scan the analog film and create a digital file. This file can then be modified, corrected, and improved using the latest technology.

Digital cameras make it possible to edit movies without worrying about film.
Digital cameras make it possible to edit movies without worrying about film.

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Discussion Comments


I've tried some free editing programs on my win7 64bit. It's true how the memory is a huge issue. Be careful when choosing a free program to try. I literally knew hardly anything about editing, even though I work in cinematography, but the easiest, bare bones, get your stuff into sequences, program I really liked was called Videopad Editor. It came with a bunch of other side programs for converting file types, which I never used.

With this software, I found it much easier to use the storyboard view rather than timeline view to create my sequences. Just don't delete your backup files.


@Mor - I've used some of the free software and it can usually only take you so far.

It's good for beginners, that's true but at a certain point you really need to shell out a hundred bucks or whatever it is in order to upgrade to some real power.

I usually work with claymation and it is really difficult unless you have good quality software to work with.

Most of the cheap or free programs, for example, don't allow you to hook up the camera and use onion skinning, which is essential for a high quality video in claymation or any kind of stop motion animation.


There is a lot of free video editing software out there if you look hard enough.

Often it is not as powerful as the more expensive types. And sometimes it has drawbacks, like for example it might paste a small copyright notice over some of your videos.

But, you can also sometimes use demo versions of the more expensive types to see if they are worth trying. There are also often student deals which allow you to purchase software at a discount.

My point is that you shouldn't just complain about not being able to get any good software. You should try to work with what is available.

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