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Getting started with video – Part 3: Video editing

You planned it out, selected the right equipment, and shot your first video. Congratulations! You should be really proud of yourself for getting to this point. Let’s move on to video editing!

So, what do you do with all the footage you’ve created? As a video newbie, editing software can feel scary when you first start using it. Don’t let this stop you. In the final installment of this series, I’m going to share some programs which are great for beginners, tips on learning as you go, and resources I found really handy when I started editing my own videos.

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Programs and software

There are plenty of powerful options when it comes to editing software, but they can cost a pretty penny (around €100 depending on what you choose) and new versions are released each year. If you’re interested in comparing the big boys of video editing, check out this comparison list from PC Mag. Most desktop programs follow a similar logic; if you learn with one and change your mind later, the skills you’ve learned will transfer. You’ll just have to get used to new keyboard shortcuts and advanced options.

My recommendation for you, as someone starting with video, is to consider an option which is both lower cost and offers good tutorials. My personal preference is Adobe Premiere Pro with a Creative Cloud membership (this is what I use to edit videos on my YouTube channel). You pay a reasonable fee each month to use Premiere Pro (pricing depends on whether you want Premiere only or additional software) and you have access to many easy-to-follow tutorials from Adobe.

Apple users might also consider iMovie; which comes free with iOS. It’s offers enough basic editing tools to put together pretty stellar videos. Windows stopped offering Movie Maker in 2017 on their systems, but their are some decent alternatives. I don’t have experience with it myself, but have seen Filmora coming by quite often.

Also consider using a smartphone app to make your edits (particulary efficient if you already filmed your video on your smartphone!). For smartphones and tablets, there are plenty of options for quick and painless editors. The iMovie app is free on the Apple Store. You can also get a free app called Adobe Premiere Clip which offers basic video editing features; you simply have to sign up for a free Adobe account. Those of you with Android devices can look into FilmoraGo and WeVideo.

One thing to watch out for is whether the app will stick their logo on the finished product; so, run a quick test with your choice before wasting time editing your entire video.

Learning as you go

The best way forward is to (pardon the cliché) ‘just do it’. Don’t waste too much time watching YouTube videos on how to use software or reading articles comparing the different options. Pick something within your budget and start playing around with it.

Be sure to check in with yourself about your expectations. You should not expect to have title overlays, captions, animations, extensive background music, etc. mastered on your first go. For your first video, focus on simple goals: clean transitions between clips, a link at the end of the video, and maybe some background music to play under your clips or at the end. These can already be powerful enough!

Then, with each video you make after, challenge yourself to try one new technique in your edits. Slowly, but surely your videos will improve. And, you won’t get stuck trying to make the perfect video on your first try. You will learn so much more by finishing this first video and moving on to improve in the next one and the next one and so on.

Learning from online resources

To learn more about editing, start with the tutorials provided with the software you picked. If you do have some extra time to hone your skills, feel free to look into courses on certain techniques.

Basically, anything you want to learn about video editing can be found on YouTube. From basic introductions to your editing software to very specific tutorials on creating a certain effect. Throw it in the search and you’ll be shocked how much free, high-quality information comes back.

I also have had a lot of luck with Skillshare courses in general, but also specifically when it comes to learning about video and editing. Two notable courses are the ‘Video Essentials’ course from the Vimeo team and ‘How to Vlog! Film, Edit, and Upload’ from Sara Dietschy. There’s seriously so much information on Skillshare ranging from working with effects, voiceovers, green screens, color correction, etc. You can also learn how to create a specific type of video; e.g. wedding, sports, documentaries, etc. If you want to give it a try you can click the links above or use my personal link to get 2 free months (I don’t make any money; I’ll just get free months, too. Double win!)

That’s a wrap!

I hope that this series has given you the confidence and information to try out video creation on your own. For me, creating videos and vlogs is one of the most creatively fulfilling hobbies I have. Taking the clips I’ve made and turning them into finished pieces is really fun and a great way to share who I am and what I do.

As always, if you have any questions, just shoot them my way. If you create your own videos, please share them with me! I would love to see them. Best of luck to you in all of your creative endeavors!


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Getting started with video – Part 2: Video equipment

Let’s talk video equipment! In the first edition of this series, I walked you through how to plan a successful video shoot. Now, I’ll share tips for new video creators when it comes to selecting cameras, stands, lighting, and microphones.

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Equipment for your video

Anyone who has typed something like ‘best camera for vlogging‘ or ‘simple video set-up‘ into Google will know how many amazing, affordable equipment options there are available to budding content creators. Most of the larger online retailers offer great recommendations and there are hundreds of blogs & videos comparing different options depending on your budget and desired effect.

So, I’m not going to give you a comparison list ranking the different cameras and microphones out there. I will, however, give you a list of the types of equipment worth considering when you’re getting started.

Cameras and camera types

As someone starting out with video, your smartphone is one of the best resources likely already at your disposal. Almost all smartphones from the last few years have excellent, hi-resolution cameras and decent built-in audio. If you’re creating an on-the-go video, your phone is a great option. For straight-to-camera interviews, just be conscious of your surroundings since smartphones tend to pick up a lot of background noise. I’ve made plenty of vlogs where I was already out and about and my camera battery died out on me. No fuss; I simply pulled out my iPhone and continued the vlog from there.

In my own kit, I have a Canon EOS 650D DSLR and a Canon PowerShot ELPH 330 hs point & shoot (in bright pink!). A DSLR camera makes beautiful images and provides more options, but you honestly don’t need all of this if you’re just starting out. Pick up a compact camera and the automatic settings will generally be enough to get you by while you still familiarize yourself with the settings. Some aspects worth considering in a camera: silent shutter and focusing in playback, a viewfinder you can flip towards yourself for vlogging, good image stabilization, decent built-in audio, and maybe wifi for easy transfer to your smartphone. Some other brands and models to consider are Canon PowerShot (G7 X), Panasonic Lumix, Canon Powershot S120, or even a GoPro (especially for rugged, outdoor shoots).

Tripods and grips

If you’re shooting indoors or in a smaller space, you’ll probably be fine with a simple set-up. A stack of sturdy books could save you from investing in a tripod. One handy trick is to utilize a camera neck strap to stabilize your video; just loop it over your head or shoulder and pull the camera tight away from you to stabilize while shooting.

Another nice item is a handheld tripod grip or GorillaPod. They are pretty sturdy, handheld tripods which you can set-up on a surface somewhere and then pick-up, straighten the legs, and hold out in front of you for a more stable and easy to hold shot. And, they fit easily in your bag or pocket. I use a light GorillaPod for my compact camera and the sturdier iGadgitz PT310 grip for my DSLR.

A traditional tripod has come in handy for me when I need to find good natural light and I’m at the mercy of my space. I don’t have to move furniture or build precarious stacks of furniture with my beautiful camera perched on top. I use the Hama Tripod Star 61.


I have yet to have had to invest in lighting. Almost always, I’ve planned or tinkered with my cameras settings to find the best natural lighting. Shooting at night can be tougher, but it really depends on what you need to record and the effect you want. A strategically placed desk lamp can often be enough to brighten up your scene. And, depending on your editing software you can work some magic in post.

When you’re just getting started, simply be prepared to think on your feet and move around to get the best light in that particular setting.


As I mentioned earlier, most cameras and even smartphones offer decent built-in audio for you to work with. If you plan ahead, you’ll be able to test out the audio in your setting and work around this. However, if it looks like you’re going to need a little support with audio, there are almost as many microphone options as there are cameras.

For a starter, I’d recommend looking into the RODE line of microphones. The RODE Videomic Go is a super-light, affordable option you can plug directly into your smartphone, point and shoot, or DSLR for an already crisper and more direct sound. Any microphone like this will give you that bit of extra control

Another option many people like is recording sound with your original device and using a portable audio recorder at the same time. You will need to learn a bit more about mixing and working with two audio tracks in your editing software, but having the extra security and options might be worth it for you.

I recommend watching this video from Sara Dietschy (she puts out tons of informative videos on vlogging and video creation) if you’re looking for even more options:

Up next – Part 3: Editing

So, by now you’ve got your plan in place and you’re making decisions about what video equipment you’re going to need to make that a reality. Again, if you have any questions, feel free to shoot them my way. In the third and final part of this series, I share tips on learning to edit and work with your footage.


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Getting started with video – Part 1: Video planning and set-up

Creating your own video content can feel like an extremely daunting task when you’re first starting out. The production quality of the average online video has certainly increased in the last few years. When it comes to creating your own projects and video planning, you might be feeling some performance anxiety; worrying that you won’t be able to measure up.

Well, cut that shizz out and create your video anyway! ;P

In all seriousness, though, there’s no need to let the technical aspects of video-making keep you from sharing your story. Focus instead on telling a great story in a clear and concise video. If you manage to post any video at any level, you’re already leaps and bounds ahead of the rest who are too afraid to even hit record. So, my first piece of advice is to just start.

That said, there are some handy tips, tricks, and info that I think any starting video creator could use. I don’t consider myself an expert, but after having made a decent amount of digital video content I have learnt a thing or two which I’m happy to share with you here.

Originally, I wrote this as one post including planning, equipment, and editing, but it became extremely looooooong. So, I’m breaking it up into 3 parts.

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Planning and set-up

Before you ever click that little red button, you need to establish what kind of story it is that you want to tell. What do you want to achieve with this video? What should the viewer know/feel/do after watching your video?

This might be a step you’d rather avoid, but having a clear goal will allow all the other technical pieces of video creation to fall into place.

One thing I like to do is create a private playlist for myself on YouTube with videos that have the style I would like to replicate with my own video. You can list out what you like and dislike in each one concerning style, type of shots, length, etc. Look at the common denominators and you’ll have a clearer picture for what you want to achieve.

What’s your elevator pitch?

Once you’ve decided on your goal, use the ‘elevator pitch’ theory on your video idea: what are the essentials the viewer needs to know and how I can I tell them in the shortest time possible?

You might also find it handy to script out or storyboard your video in advance. Something as simple as a shot list of what you want to show and in what order can make shooting more efficient and stress-free.

When it comes time to record, you’ll know what shots you want to be sure to get. Of course, on the fly you’ll want to get some unexpected clips, but if you have a shot list prepared then you won’t come home with too little to work with.

Video length

Once you know your goal and how to tell your story most efficiently, you can decide on your video length. Consider your viewer’s attention span. Or, rather, consider your own attention span! How long would you keep watching? You might have a long event or trip that will end up being a lot of footage; consider breaking it up into multiple videos. Hooray! More content to share and in more easily digestable bits.

Some standard guidelines for online video: 60 seconds is ideal for promotional videos (i.e. “short form”) while 5-10 minutes is more suitable for a vlog or short-story style video.

You’ll often end up with a lot more footage than you need for a single video; which is typically better than not having enough. I’ll talk about editing in the last part of this series, but be prepared to ‘kill your darlings’ in the edit. But, also try to think about this in advance during preparation. You’ll save yourself and your subject(s) from wasted time when you know what you’re trying to achieve.

Setting the scene

Consider your scenes and the space where you’ll be recording. Is it outdoors, indoors, or a combination? What’s the lighting situation? What time of day will it be? Will there be a lot of external noise? Do you need access to a space to change clothes or use the bathroom?

Don’t get overwhelmed; I tend to use what I have and work on the spot. But, if you’re looking for a particular result you may find you need to alter your plans or buy/borrow additional equipment depending on the circumstances you’ll be shooting in.

Running through similar questions can help you feel more prepared when it comes to your shooting day(s).

Up next – Part 2: Equipment

So, I hope you’re going to start planning that video you’ve been waiting to make for a while. If you have any questions, feel free to shoot them my way. In the next part of this series, I share what camera, gear, lighting, etc. you need to make your video.


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