Basic Video Editing and Uploading: A Guide for Beginners

In decades past, print was the way to spread information to the masses. And although the written word is still popular with books and blogs, there’s another medium that’s quickly taking over: video. Because of this, you’ll need basic video editing skills to effectively connect with audiences today.

YouTube is the world’s second-largest search engine, and it’s completely video-based. In 2016, Business Insider reported that people watched 500 million hours of video per day on YouTube, up from 300 million hours per day in 2014.

Also in 2016, Facebook reported users watched 100 million hours of video per day. Instagram reports an 80% increase in video usage year over year. Numbers like these demand attention.

But if you have no idea what you’re doing when it comes to creating, editing, and uploading videos, how do you even get started? Read on to find out.

1. Forget perfection and make an outline

Most people don’t watch videos online for studio-level perfection. They’re there for the knowledge. You don’t need a fancy camera or a microphone; the ones built into your phone or laptop will do for now. You can always upgrade later.

First, write an outline of what you’re going to say. This way, you won’t forget anything important and you’ll be less nervous on camera.

2. Just start recording

This is what a lot of people find scary, but it’s often best to treat it like a Band-Aid on leg hair: just rip it off so it’s over quickly.

Here is a list of software products that make video recording and basic video editing easy. (Screenflow is used in the examples below.)

Once the recording is done, you’ll be able to decide if you need to do a re-take with more confidence or if the existing recording is good enough. Remember, done is better than perfect.

If there’s a part you’ve messed up, that’s okay — you can cut it out later.

3. Edit the video

Normally in a video recording, there are two parts you need to cut: the beginning right after you’ve hit “record” and haven’t started talking yet, and the end, after you’ve stopped talking and are en route to hitting the “stop” button.

Still, you may need to make other cuts in the video, like if you stumbled over your words at one point. Don’t worry: this happens all the time, and making these sorts of cuts is relatively easy to do.

In a software like Screenflow, for example, all you have to do is “Split Clips” around the part you want to cut, hit “Delete,” and move the two pieces together so you don’t have silence in the middle.

basic video editing

Here’s how to begin a cut to remove something in the middle of your recording.

video cuts

Split the clip again where you want to re-start the video after the mess-up. Select the middle section, as shown above, and hit “Delete.”

basic video editing

Move the rest of the video file to the left so you don’t have dead silence in the middle of the video. Repeat this process as many times as needed.

Once you’ve finished the cutting process, save your file.

Note: Editing and making cuts is not required. A video blog you took on your phone could very well be good enough as is, so you can skip this step.

4. Export the file and/or upload to YouTube

Once your file is edited to your liking, it’s time to upload it to YouTube. (Other options are available, but YouTube is beginner-friendly, free, and makes sharing and embedding the video easy.) Apps like Screenflow let you do this from directly within the app:

publish video to YouTube

If you don’t have an app like this, or if you just want to upload an unedited selfie video you took on your phone, you can upload the video directly via YouTube’s creator dashboard. Just log into your account and click on the little camera icon in the top right corner. Click on “Upload video.”

YouTube channel add video

Then, select your file to upload it.

upload video file to YouTube

Once the video uploads and YouTube finishes processing, it’s ready to be embedded on your website and then, for people to watch.

Join the video revolution

Now that you know how to record, edit, and upload a video, you can join the trend. Your content can be some of the 500 million hours of YouTube content watched every day. Or, it can be a piece of the Facebook or Instagram pie, if that’s a video medium you prefer.

The important thing is to not waste time seeking perfection, but to get started with video so your website can grow with current marketing trends.

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