Marketing General Social Media

Tips and Tricks for the Casual Video Editor

Amidst COVID-19 many of us have been thrust into the role of video editor.  Whether it’s creating a video for a conference that’s gone virtual, creating content that you can use to engage people in various stages of your marketing funnel, sharing videos on social, or need a video to really communicate a message on your website, many people are finding themselves in the role of video editor.  At Day 1 of Virtual HITMC – Part Deux, Doug Farra from Red Valley Media Group shared a lot of tips on how you can make your video better using lighting, camera positions, backgrounds, using the right equipment, etc.  In case you missed it, you can check out the video below:

Once you’ve captured the video, that’s only half the battle.  The other half is editing the video so it has a polished look.  While we’d all love to hire a professional video editor like Doug or the team at StudioNorth (and it is often worth the investment), the budget isn’t always available to do this.  For those who are thrust into the video editing role, here’s a few tips and tricks I’ve found to make your videos look more professional.

Tip #1: Ask “Why Are People Watching?”

The most important thing to remember when working with video is the purpose of the video itself. Why people are going to watch it in the first place?  What value is the video going to provide them?  Understanding the purpose will help you edit the video.

You may be answering an important question.  You may be inspiring them with your vision of the future.  Your video may be focused on sharing knowledge, insights, and perspectives.  Often, your video is more about what is said and shared versus how well the video is produced.  This can certainly be taken too far though.  You don’t want the production quality so low that they turn it off.  However, your video doesn’t have to be Hollywood quality to make an impact.  Keep your video’s purpose in mind as you plan and edit it.

Tip #2: Video Editing Software is Worth it

I hate paying for software more than anyone.  I’m a huge fan of open source software and use it for most of my work (ie. check out Gimp if you don’t want to pay for Photoshop).  While I think free and open source video editing software is making progress, I still haven’t found a free video editing software that I like.  I have, however, found that paying for a video editing software is worth it.  Usually it’s a reasonable one time fee and it will last you for years.

I personally use PowerDirector for my video editing, but I’m sure Final Cut Pro and many others would be fine as well.  I found PowerDirector to fit that sweet spot for me of full functionality without being too overwhelming.  Plus, it’s a popular software and so there are a ton of videos online to teach you just about anything you could want to do with it.  I should also note that Mac’s do come with iMovie.  I haven’t used it for a while so I’m not sure how sophisticated it’s gotten, but that may work for some of your needs as well.  It’s free, but I think probably lacks some functions you’ll want to take your videos to the next level.

Tip #3: Add Video Overlays and Lower Thirds

Any video software worth its salt will have multiple layers available.  If it does, adding video overlays and lower thirds is really simple.  Any graphic artist can create the images you need with transparent areas that allow the graphic to appear over the top of the video.  You can also create simple video overlays as well, but I prefer to use the video editing software to add the animation to the lower third.  Either way, adding a lower third with someone’s name and title can make a huge difference in how people perceive your video.  The same is true with adding your logo or other overlay.  Small touches like this are surprisingly easy to do and make a big difference.

Tip #4: Add Music

Never underestimate the power of music.  It can take a boring video and make it exciting.  It can create an energy or better convey a message. Don’t overdue music, but the right music at the right time can really make or break a video.  The good news is that there are lots of stock music options out there to choose from.  Or you may want to consider hiring a musician to create music specific to your needs.  If you missed Peter Radd‘s talk on various jingles and music at Virtual HITMC – Part Deux, check out the video of his presentation below:

Tip #5: Consider Using Stock Photography and Videos

While we’d all love to create our own unique custom photography and videos that we include in our videos, there’s a lot of stock photography and videos out there you can use as well.  In fact, one resource you may want to consider is the US Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) has made all of their photos available in the public domain for free.

One of our previous HITMC Award winners created a video using nothing but stock photography which allowed them to keep costs down.  While this takes less work filming, it does require more work editing.  Although, it’s amazing how adding some motion in your video editing software with the right text to an image can still create a great video.

Tip #6: Buy a Cool Video Intro

This is a particularly good tip if you’re going to do a series of videos.  It’s worth the expense to pay someone to do a really great intro that captures people’s attention and does a good job branding your organization.  When you’re doing a series of videos, it’s easy to add that intro to the start of your video to add some continuity to the experience.  Choose one you enjoy, because you’re going to hear it over and over when you’re editing.

Tip #7: Take Longer Videos and Chop Them Down for Social

Social media has been pushing video in a big way.  One of the best video edits you can do is to take a longer video cut and edit it for social.  Most people suggest you add subtitles to these videos if you can since many people watching the videos aren’t able to turn their sound on to watch.  I think this is particularly true on Facebook.  However, I’ve found that for the right video people will still watch it.  Also, if you don’t learn how to use video editing software or you already have a team that produces professional videos for you, I’ve heard good things about Kapwing’s online video editing for social video.  This software is designed with social in mind so it might be enough for some of you that just want to create those viral social videos.

Tip #8: Create the Right Thumbnail Image

If you’ve ever been on YouTube you know the power of the Thumbnail.  It can often be the difference between your video being watched or ignored.  Plus, if you’re doing something like a customer video or a product video, you’ll want to make sure that the thumbnail that appears on your site or when it’s shared in email or on social is flattering to that person and your company.  For a lot of video’s it’s worth having your graphic designer make the right thumbnail that’s going to capture the right attention.  One little trick for those doing video interviews, have the people in the interview pose for the camera.  Then, use that pose as the thumbnail.  In an interview, it’s often hard to get both people smiling at the same time.  Having them pose with a smile or a thumbs up or something else is a simple way to create a quality thumbnail.

Those are a few tips to help those of you who are faced with doing video editing on a budget.  Of course, this doesn’t address sound issues, color balancing, advanced editing, and much more.  Although, if you’re interested in all of those, it’s often much cheaper to just hire a professional who can do those in their sleep.  Plus, a professional video team can offer a lot more when it comes to telling the right story and what shots are needed to best tell that story.  However, when that’s not an option, now you have some ideas to help you produce a quality video for your organization.

About the author


John Lynn

John Lynn is the Editor and Founder of the nationally renowned blog network The Healthcare Scene network currently consists of 15 blogs containing almost 7000 articles. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 13 million times. Plus, Healthcare Scene recently added Health IT focused career resources and to the network.
John also co-founded two companies: and Plus, John is the Founder of 10 other blogs including the Pure TV Network and Vegas Startups. John’s 25+ blogs have published over 15,000 blog posts, garnered over 30 million views and had over 122,000 comments. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

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