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Common Mistakes During Video Editing

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Rhonda Callow•updated: 7/4/2011

Video editing can be wrought with miscalculations, and here are a few to avoid when you are sitting at your editing system.

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    Important Aspect

    Video editing is an essential process of any digital video project and is what separates amateur video from work that has a more professional feel. This is not just where you cut out the clips you do not approve of, but where you actually craft the video into a document to show audiences. A lot of mistakes are made by new video editors, and here are some of the more common ones.

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    Labeling and Storage

    The software that we use now for video editing is called nonlinear editing software because what is does is treats video footage as digital data files and all the changes you make do not affect the base footage. With this in mind you need to make sure all video you have uploaded or captured is properly labeled from the beginning. Without this it is easy to delete your footage or be completely unable to find it. Along with this is the clear knowledge of where the footage is. It is probably a good idea to never move it around because this can make it hard for the editing program to find the base footage when it wants to reference it. This can require you to go through the semi-complicated process of reconnecting media. When you are capturing new footage make sure you take the time to name it properly and place it where you want it to stay.

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    Avoiding the Timeline

    The Timeline is where you really begin to put the film together in order, but it is not where you should be doing most of your cuts. It is better to chop your base clips into smaller sub clips and then trim them in the viewer instead of doing it in the Timeline. This makes them easier to work with in the long run and cuts down on the possibility of irresolvable accidents. When you are editing in the Timeline you affect all of the clips there because everything is in a linear order. Final edits and effects can be done in the Timeline, but try to do everything you can to a sub clip before you drop it down there.

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    Correct Effect Application

    Effects for both video and audio are important, but you should apply them appropriately. If you are working with audio correction then you should feel free to do this to an entire base clip if that entire clip has audio problems. If you are just trying to apply creative effects then this should be done only to a specific sub clip. The reason is that if you alter the base clip then you change any and all possible sub clips that could be derived from the original footage. This would then limit your creative possibilities.

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    Over Use

    Over using effects is a way that new filmmakers think that they can cover up the things that were lacking with their technique and resources during production. This is the absolute opposite of the truth. This will highlight problems in the film and limit its view-ability over all. All effects should have a real purpose that the editor and director can justify when questioned.

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    Time On the Screen

    It is very common for new editors to want to switch between clips very quickly without giving them enough screen time. Every clip should stay on screen for at least a few seconds, unless the director is using a specific visual device. It is always better for the audience to be able to connect with a specific image than be confused by very fast cutting.

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    The Best for the Film

    The most important thing to avoid is treating the editing process as an open creative process rather than one that serves the final film. Keep in mind that you need to maintain the visual and prose format of the film itself.