As a videographer, what would you say if you were asked to define good editing? It might take you a while to think of a response that gives a clear definition that your peers could understand. A good way to know if your video has been well-edited is to define for yourself what a good video is. If you know what a well edited video looks like for your style, then you're already on your way to making well edited videos. Like with any skill, there are a few universal tenets that will make it easy for you to create your own definition of good editing.
Good editing always begins with the basic goal of making a video communicative and entertaining, without the viewer noticing the edits. If your audience can see and hear mistakes, then your video has been poorly edited. Having an end goal for your video is a great way to give your video direction and will help you plan out how to edit. Instead of going in blind, you can stay on track if you already know where you want to end up. Knowing your destination makes getting there much easier, so always have an idea of how you want your video to turn out before you start editing.
Pacing is another fundamental tool that doesn’t always receive the attention it deserves. The pace of your video is crucial to keeping your audience engaged and interested. Pacing is really just the timing at which you present new information to your audience, so having a plan mapped out before you start editing will make it easy for you to pace your video correctly.
The basic foundation of good editing stems from every detail of your video serving the overall purpose. Each scene, cut, and transition is a tool to set the mood and communicate the story to the audience. If you can achieve that without viewers noticing any edits, then you’ve achieved good editing.
Knowing the basics of a good edit is a start, but knowing how to use those basics, in practice, is how you actually achieve your goal. As stated before, you should always start with a plan. Whether it’s before you shoot, or before you edit, you need to know where you want to end up so that getting there is much easier. To communicate effectively, a few techniques need to be honed and practiced.
Color correction and color grading are incredibly powerful communication tools. Colors affects our emotions, even if we aren’t aware of it in the moment. To be able to use colors to effectively to evoke emotions in your audience will keep them glued to your videos. Knowing that they’ll be moved emotionally will make them return to your work again and again. Transitions will make or break your edit. Good transitions are smooth and unnoticeable to the audience. When your audience stays engaged with the content, and doesn’t notice every change of scene, then your video has been well-edited.
Sound design is another important tool that communicates to your audience what they should be focused on, and helps to build anticipation. Emphasizing different sounds in your video communicates what is important and what is coming next. Use the best tools you can to record sound so that editing later will be easier. Armed with those tools, good editing won’t be so difficult to achieve.
Sticking to the rules isn’t always necessary for achieving good editing. Taking creative risks is sometimes necessary to push beyond your boundaries and improve your skills. Whether they’re well-developed or not, try using your graphic design skills to add cool titles. Experiment with your audio to see how it can be used to communicate action. Add visual or special effects to give your video a whole new dimension and make it more entertaining. There are infinite ways to achieve good editing, but it all begins with the basics. With a good foundation for good editing, the path to achieving it much smoother.