Edit A Movie From Filmed Video Footage

Editing a film means telling its story in a cohesive way.

Editing a movie from video footage you have filmed can be a long but very rewarding process. With editing software available to anyone with a computer, you can edit a movie in a professional manner at home. Editing arranges the shots, actors and sets in a cohesive and engaging manner so that the story within the movie is told effectively.


1. Get a digital copy of all the footage you have filmed. Most amateur filmmakers prefer filming with a digital camera because of the low cost and the elimination of any need to transfer the film to digital media. If you are filming on tape, find a video production company that can transfer the sounds and video on your tapes to a digital copy.

2. Import the footage onto a computer, either directly from the digital camera that you filmed with or by using a DVD tfrom a production company. Use powerful editing software (see Resources section) to get the highest quality out of your project. With these professional editing programs, you can cut and paste clips from your footage as well apply special effects and titles.

3. Cut on an action to achieve a traditional and easy-to-follow editing style. Cutting on action requires switching from a wide shot of a subject to a tight or close-up shot of the same subject just as an action is being performed. As you join the shots, use the first half of the motion, such as someone picking up a phone, in the wide shot. Use the second part of the motion, such as that person putting the phone to his ear, in the tighter shot. If you cut without an action along the same visual axis, a jarring and clumsy “jump cut” will occur.

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4. Use “split edits” where sounds are heard off-picture. Instead of cutting to one person saying a line and then to another person reciting their line, edit the film so that images will slightly precede or follow the dialog. This will feel more natural to an audience and will make the scene flow more smoothly. You can achieve this effect by splitting the audio and the video channels with the editing software and extending one channel over the other for a brief moment.

5. Mix up the camera angles within your cuts. Try not to cut back to the exact camera angle that was used in a previous shot. This can be difficult in dialog scenes between two people, but filming a couple of takes from different angles can make for a more interesting and engaging scene for your audience. Remember not to linger on a shot for too long.

6. Add music to your movie in the same way that you imported your video clips into the editing software. A scene should be able to stand on its own in engaging the audience and holding attention. However, well-placed music can add emotion and atmosphere.

Titles can also be added to the beginning and end of your movie using a wide variety of fonts and effects from the editing software, such as dissolves and scrolls.

7. Export your finished movie using the editing software. Many programs allow you to change the quality and format of your exported film with a click of a button. These changes will affect the size of your file that will be exported. A higher-quality movie will render a larger file size.

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