Editing Your
Video Course

Quotation Marks

“Only God gets it right the first time and only a slob says, Oh well, let it go...”

-- Stephen King, On writing: A memoir of the craft

You need to edit your videos. No matter how ‘perfect’ you got it while the camera was rolling, you need to add graphics (and possible b-roll) and tidy up your audio.

This can be as simple as adding some titles, a fade-in at the beginning and out at the end.

Putting some effort into color-grading and audio ‘sweetening’ may not be immediately obvious to your end viewer – but not making the effort probably will be more obvious.

9 Cuts Every Video Editor Should Know

You might also consider tightening up your presentation by removing long pauses or other bits that just don’t look or sound good.

Why Does an Edit Feel Right? (According to Science)

If you shot with 2 cameras, you can cut to the other camera for a smooth edit.

If you shot in 4k you can ‘digitally zoom’ in to create another ‘camera’ shot and cover your edit’s that way. This assumes you are editing and delivering in HD (half of 4K). Because your yaw footage has more pixels than you actually need, you can ‘zoom in’ and ‘throw away’ pixels without losing image quality.

Failing that, you can ‘jump cut.’ This means just chunking the edit right in the middle with the resulting jarring of the viewer as the image (or you on screen) suddenly jumps.

This used to be an aesthetic ‘no-no’ on TV (and film before it) but now it’s acceptable.

Video version of this article here

Podcast version of this artilce here

instructorHQ Podcast


Why The Jump Cut Is Here To Stay

There are a lot of things you can do in post-production to make your videos look and sound better, regardless of who is doing the actual editing. Planning this out before and after you head will help make the most of the opportunity editing presents.

3 Mistakes All Beginner Editors Make

Quotation Marks

“It’s not about spectacle. It’s about people”

-- Tom Scott

Consider how you can use stock footage or b-roll you shot yourself to illustrate what you are talking about. This is something you can plan for BEFORE you shoot – but sometimes inspiration strikes and you can go shoot something to show exactly what you were talking about after the main shoot.

Think about still images, from historical photos to graphs and infographics. Again, it helps to add more information, and it does not hurt to break the ‘monotony’ of seeing a single locked-off shot of a talking head.

However, don’t go overboard!

The single greatest asset your video has is YOU! People want to ‘get to know you’ and feel a part of a ‘conversation. And it’s very easy to edit the ‘you’ out of a video and totally overdo the ‘fancy’ bits. See Tom Scott’s hilarious example of going too far:

And if you’d like a deeper dive on what works when communications and online video meet:

There is No Algorithm for Truth - with Tom Scot

Famous Photoshop instructor Unmesh Dinda spilled the beans on this in a session with ‘The Futur’ and claimed his success (1.5m YouTube subscribers for educational content) was more about consistently creating and releasing videos than ‘production value’ – in other words, he focussed on getting the information out and worried less about uber level post-production.

Using someone else to edit

You can hire someone to edit your videos for you. If you are not a reasonably experienced editor, you should be asking yourself: what is the best use of my time?

There are a lot of places to find an editor (Craigslist, Facebook, forums, ask a friend) – try and find someone who doesn’t have an expensive office and large staff you have to help pay for.

Look for someone who edits from home, and don’t stress about what software they use. Just make sure you’ve seen some of their work (preferably a long-form talking head project or conference coverage – not their latest music video).

Ask if they can do graphics and titles for you, or do you have to provide them? You can type up a list with notes about where the graphics go – meaning your editor only needs to copy and paste the text into his software to generate titles.

Or, you could provide your own graphics as Photoshop files (just leave a transparent layer at the bottom and go easy on the drop shadows). Most editing apps will easily resize and position PS files, but again, ask your editor BEFORE you begin.

Quotation Marks

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”

-- Colin Powell

Things to discuss with your (potential) editor:

  • Graphics and titles (including a logo for you or your course)
  • Stock Music (usually for the intro and outro of each chapter)
  • Sound (making your levels consistent and smooth)
  • Delivery (will they upload, will they supply a copy to you)
  • Subtitles (they can import from a provider like Rev.com)
  • Edit list (have you watched it all and made notes of which takes to use, which mistakes to fix)
  • Rates (are you paying by the hour our by the project runtime)
  • Recuts (do you get to see it and ask for changes before it’s finished)
  • Deliverables (how will you physically supply your content to be edited)

For some extra ideas, here are a handful of YouTube videos about hiring help with your video production (when searching look for ‘YouTube’ editors for additional results):

How to Hire a Video Editor

How To Find and Hire your YouTube Team

There are a lot of things you can do in post-production to make your videos look and sound better, regardless of who is doing the actual editing. Planning this out before and after you shoot will help make the most of the opportunity editing presents.

Tips for Hiring a Video Editor for YouTube (Budgeting, Briefing, and more!)


Quotation Marks

“Self-editing is the path to the dark side. Self-editing leads to self-delusion, self-delusion leads to missed mistakes, missed mistakes lead to bad reviews. Bad reviews are the tools of the dark side.”

-- Eric T. Benoit

If you’re starting out, you may not have the funds available to hire outside help, so it’s been decided for you – you’re going to acquire the skills to edit your own videos.

The good news is that if you recorded good quality audio and took a little time to light your video properly, your editing is mostly going to consist of adding graphics, chopping out the odd mistake or blank stare, and rendering the final output to something that meets the upload requirements of the platforms you intend to host your video on.

We have a very comprehensive tutorial on how to record your videos [link to ‘recording the video] In it, we detail several apps (paid and free) that you can edit your videos in. We’ve also included links to lists of ‘how to use the software’ YouTube videos. Be sure you’re watching a video that matches the version of the software you plan to use.

If you’re very well behaved, and you watched our post on Creating an Outline [link] then you will already have a map that’s just as useful for finding your way during post-production as it was during the shooting.

Don’t forget to ensure your videos have the same titles on your website as they do in the actual video – to avoid confusing (or at least annoying) your audience. Use your outline to keep track.

Audio postproduction (AKA sweetening or dialogue editing)

Audio is often recorded ‘clean’ – with little to no EQ (except low-end roll-off) and often without compression. Partly because most production equipment doesn’t include these features, and the ‘prosumer’ gear that does often makes things worse.

When editing on your computer, you can go back as many times as you need to get it right because it’s ‘non-destructive’ editing. Whatever changes you make are not written to the original media.

Screw it up while recording, however, and you are often stuck because most of what goes wrong (especially distortion from too loud a level) cannot be ‘fixed in the mix!’

Making your voice sound even and rich is important, and usually involves ‘compression’ (smoothing out the peaks) and judicious use of EQ. Don’t go nuts.

Much of what you need to know is called ‘dialogue editing’ (and you can search for that).

Editing Voices & Dialog to Sound Better using Basic Premier Tools

Davinci Resolve Dialogue Editing Tutorial | Make Your Voice Sound Perfect

There are a lot of things you can do in post-production to make your videos look and sound better, regardless of who is doing the actual editing. Planning this out before and after you shoot will help make the most of the opportunity editing presents.

Editing Voice Audio in FCPX for Beginners

Better Dialogue Audio: Compression and Normalization

If you recorded your audio on anything less than stellar audio gear, and let’s be honest, that costs money – you can clean up the background noise (hiss) from inexpensive mics or noisy cameras with the following tips:

How to Remove Ambient Noise in Adobe Premiere and Adobe Audition

Noise Reduction and Restoration // Adobe Audition Tutorial

Add music

Music libraries are cheaper and more plentiful than ever – unfortunate so is the overuse of music to cover bad sound or boring bits.

Wall to wall sound without a break (I’m looking at you, Neistat) can be very tiresome. Imagine your audience after an hour of your course, not just a 2-minute YouTube video.

Music for the intro or outro to your clips can be a nice touch though – and if there really isn’t anything audible during a demonstration video (reach for narration first to add to the information) then you might need some music.

There are many great ‘Royalty Free’ music libraries. Some charge a subscription, (anything you want per month) and some charge per song you use. This last one is cheaper if you just want a ‘jingle’ to open your videos.

You can also find various ‘beeps, whooshes and stings’ or sound effects to enhance your titles and transitions.






BUY THE RIGHTS (use a ‘royalty-free’ library).

You WILL get caught and your video taken down, or you’ll be charged an outrageous fee!


If your audience isn’t entirely speaking your language, or the platform you are using supports subtitles, then you can get a transcription service (https://www.rev.com/ or https://gotranscript.com/subtitling-services) to generate all the words for your video as text and you can use them to create your own closed captions for display inside your videos.

Hearing-impaired audiences also really appreciate your efforts.

If your platform doesn’t support CC/subtitles, you may consider creating and offering an ‘alternative’ subtitled version of your course as an option – simply go back and add the text and render the final videos separately.

Subtitles can help search engines find your videos better on YouTube (where the CC, closed captions, are embedded in the video file).

For online course creators, it’s more about serving the needs and preferences of your audience. Some people love closed captions because you can copy them when you pause the video to write notes.

It’s optional but worth investigating.

Here are some additional resources:

Camtasia How to Add Subtitles / Captions to a Video

CAPTIONS and SUBTITLES tutorial for Premiere Pro

Create Video Subtitles (.SRT or Burn in Video) - DaVinci Resolve 15 Tutorial

Creating Subtitles and Closed Captions on Your Youtube Videos with Derral Eves

How to Add Subtitles to YouTube Videos 2019 [New Method]

Titles and transitions

Most of what you will be using as ‘graphics effects’ will be fades (in and out of black) and dissolves (fade between two video clips).

You can ‘spice things up’ with fancy transitions.

5 Stylish Video Transitions Effects for your Vlogs & Films (Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2017 Tutorial)

TOP 8 “Smooth” Seamless Transitions

Go easy on the drama – use things that enhance you and your information. Don’t become a distraction.

More important is a ‘lower third’ graphic. It’s the technical name of words and graphics that lurk at the bottom of the screen for more than a few seconds. These are different from purely text subtitles and usually, have a bit of graphic design or illustration included. These don’t have to be animated. If you want to, there are a couple of links below or search for your particular editing software. If you don’t animate, just fade a Photoshop file up and down. Easy.

5 Stylish Video Transitions Effects for your Vlogs & Films (Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2017 Tutorial)

TOP 8 “Smooth” Seamless Transitions

Make sure all your graphics, logos, titles and text are consistent from video to video and enhance what you’re talking about. Avoid the temptation to ‘bling out’ your videos with mindless transitions, dancing text or oversized graphics.

And remember to use the ‘title safe’ area (the inner 80% of the video image) because many TVs crop the outer 10% of the picture.

Video Editing Tip: Title Safe Areas


How to use Wipster (3 Min Product Walkthrough)

Reviews are a chance for a sample audience (not your mum) to give you some feedback and spot those mistakes that you missed because, well, it happens.

It’s also a chance to find out if something is not well done, confusing, or more likely superfluous.

Quotation Marks

“Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.”

―- Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

If there is a way to shorten your video or expand an idea to create more value with a longer video, this is your chance.


Make your course as good as you can (without gilding the lily) and when someone pays for it, they’ll get something they feel like sharing and recommending (the single largest source of marketing and revenue you are going to get).

So, this is as good a place as any to remind you that we update these articles occasionally and publish new ones all the time – so be sure to stay up to date by subscribing to our free 100% less -annoying-than-most email list. No spam just help and encouragement to make great (and profitable) courses.

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