7 Essential Video Editing Skills for Beginners

Basic video editing skills
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Are you a digital creative looking to start a side-hustle that requires video production? In this post, we’ll cover the basic video editing skills you’ll need to get started and succeed as a video editor.

To start a side hustle in video production, you’ll need basic video editing skills such as: importing and organizing video files, trimming and splicing clips, adding transitions and effects, adjusting audio levels, and exporting finished files.

If you find this post useful you might be interested in What is an Editing Console and Do You Need One? and Adobe Creative Cloud: Apps and Tools Explained.

Now, let’s get started!

Introduction to Video Editing Software

Video editing software is an essential tool for anyone looking to start a side hustle that requires video production. Whether you are creating marketing videos, social media content, or short films, the ability to edit and enhance your video footage is crucial for creating professional-quality videos.

There are many different video editing software options available, ranging from free, basic programs to more advanced, professional-grade options.

Some popular paid video editing software options include:

Popular free video editing programs include:

Importing and Organizing Video Files

Importing and organizing video files is an important step in the video editing process otherwise you’ll very quickly end up in a mess.

Before you can start editing your footage, you’ll need to import your video files into your video editing software. This typically involves connecting your camera or memory card to your computer and transferring the video files onto your hard drive. It is strongly recommended to also back up your footage and projects to another location. This could be cloud storage or an external drive but keep this stored away from your laptop.

Once your video files are imported, it’s important to organize them in a way that makes it easy to find and access the clips you need. Many video editing software programs have built-in tools for organizing and organizing video files, such as the ability to create folders, tag and label clips, and create a rough cut of your video.

There are a number of specialized tools that do a great job at organizing all your media files such as Adobe Bridge. For more detailed check out my post What is Adobe Bridge and What Is It Used for?

By taking the time to organize your video files, you can save time and frustration during the editing process.

Trimming and Splicing Video Clips

Trimming and splicing video clips is an essential skill for any video editor.

Trimming involves cutting out unnecessary or unwanted footage from the beginning or end of a clip, while splicing involves combining multiple clips together.

To trim a video clip, you’ll need to use your video editing software’s trimming tools, which usually include in and out points, a playhead, and a timeline. By setting in and out points and adjusting the playhead, you can specify exactly which part of the clip you want to keep or remove. Check out the Adobe documentation here to see how easy this is in Premiere Pro.

To splice video clips together, you’ll need to use your software’s splicing or joining tools, which typically allow you to overlap or merge clips together.

By mastering the techniques of trimming and splicing, you can create smooth, seamless transitions between video clips.

Adding Transitions Between Clips

Adding transitions between clips is a simple way to add visual interest and polish to your video. Transitions are effects that are used to smoothly connect one clip to another, and they can help to create a cohesive, professional-looking final product.

There are many different types of transitions available, including:

  • Fades – dissolving to a clip from black
  • Wipes – moving a new clip onto the screen sometimes using a moving object in the scene itself
  • Dissolves – a subtle way of dissolving from one clip to another

To add a transition between two clips in your video editing software, you’ll need to select the transition you want to use and drag it between the two clips on your timeline. Some video editing software programs also allow you to customize the duration and other settings of your transitions.

For a demonstration of adding transitions in Premiere Pro check out the video below:

Adjusting Audio Levels

Adjusting audio levels is an important part of the video editing process, as it can help to ensure that your audio is clear and balanced throughout your video. Audio levels refer to the volume of the audio in your video, and adjusting them allows you to fine-tune the volume of individual audio clips or the overall audio mix.

To adjust audio levels in your video editing software, you’ll typically use a volume meter or a volume control slider. Some software programs also offer more advanced audio tools, such as equalization and compression, which can help to shape the overall audio mix.

Creating Basic Effects and Animations

Creating basic effects and animations can help to enhance the visual impact of your video and make it more engaging for your audience.

Many video editing software programs include a variety of tools and features for creating basic effects and animations, such as:

  • Filters – preset treatments such as color or exposure adjustments
  • Distortions – Such as energy fields or waves from explosions
  • 3D elements – sometimes imported from a program such as Adobe After Effects

To create effects in your video, you can use your software’s effects tools, which may include the ability to adjust brightness, contrast, saturation, and other visual settings.

To create animations, you can use your software’s animation tools, which typically allow you to specify keyframes and adjust the timing and motion of your animations.

Adding Text and Graphics

Adding text and graphics to your video is a simple way to add visual interest and convey information to your audience.

Many video editing software programs include a variety of tools and features for adding text and graphics to your video, such as:

  • Titles
  • Captions
  • Overlays

To add text to your video, you’ll typically use your software’s text tools, which allow you to choose a font, size, color, and other formatting options. You can also animate these to add motion to your text, such as fades, wipes, or fly-ins.

Add graphics to your video to further enhance the text. Most software will include the ability to import and manipulate images, shapes, and other visual elements.

Check out the video below for an overview of how to add text in Premiere Pro:

Exporting Finished Videos

Exporting your finished video is the final step in the video editing process. Exporting refers to the process of creating a final file of your video that is ready to be shared, uploaded or used in another program that requires a specific file format.

Many video editing software programs include a variety of export options, such as the ability to save your video in different file formats or resolutions.

To export your video, you’ll typically use your software’s export or render tools, which will allow you to specify various export settings, such as the file format, resolution, and bit rate.

Common file formats include:

  • MP4 (MPEG-4) a video and audio format that can also subtitles and still images. It is a popular choice because it is widely supported and can be played on many devices.
  • MOV (QuickTime File Format) is a file format developed by Apple and is mainly used on Apple devices.
  • AVI (Audio Video Interleave) is an older file format developed by Microsoft and mostly replaced by MP4.
  • WMV (Windows Media Video) is an another older file format developed by Microsoft and once again, replaced by MP4.
  • FLV (Flash Video) is a streaming file format developed by Adobe Systems.
  • MKV (Matroska Multimedia Container) is another video streaming file format.
  • WEBM is a file format developed for use on the web. It is the preferred format for HTML5 video and is supported by most modern web browsers.


With so many great tutorials out there it can sometimes it can be trickier to actually find out what techniques to learn rather than how to perform them. Video editing can be complex so understanding where to focus your time when learning it will provide a strong foundation before moving on to more advanced features.

If you found this post useful you might be interested in What is an Editing Console and Do You Need One? and Adobe Creative Cloud: Apps and Tools Explained.

Featured image: Sutipond Stock / stock.adobe.com

Adobe, Adobe Bridge, Adobe Premiere, After Effects are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe in the United States and/or other countries.