Video editing

Before you start editing

Often, it is necessary to edit the recorded video. In the easiest case, there is just a single video file (a “clip” in video editing jargon) with some unnecessary part that you want to cut out, or the volume levels might change disturbingly between different scenes and you want to smooth this out. More ambitious video projects can contain material from several different sources in tens or hundreds of separate clips that need to be combined into one video. In that case, you should be prepared for quite some work, because editing a video can be very time-consuming!

Consider the following:

  • Allow sufficient time for editing.
  • A good script will help keep the project together.
  • Keep your video files in good order.
  • Make sure that the video being edited is being processed on a computer with sufficient free storage space.

Editing software

Most video editors are non-destructive in nature, which means that the editor does not modify the recorded video files themselves, but the original videos remain intact. The editing software creates a so-called project file using the individual video clips, and the edits made in the editor, added subtitles and other changes are saved in the project, which is then used to export an actual new video file in the desired format.

Unlike many other programmes, video editors do not damage original files, but rather refer to them. That is why you should also be careful where you initially save the videos because moving them from one place to another might cause some projects to stop working. On the bright side, if anything goes wrong in editing and you do not notice in time, you can simply create a new reference to the original video file within the project and make the necessary changes.

Video editing with Screencast-O-Matic

The previous chapter dealt with creating a screen capture video using Screencast-O-Matic (more commonly known as “SOM”), but the programme can also be used to import a file created in another programme and edit it in the SOM editor. It might help to have a browser window with the Helpdesk’s Screencast-O-Matic help page here.

The instructions are mostly in video format because the issue at hand is a bit more complicated and a short video will clarify it more easily! So, watch the below video and read the few explanatory pieces of text with pictures.

Watch the video above, Basic video editing guide (5:29)

  1. Clicking on a video timeline opens the Tools menu, where you can choose from a number of effects and actions that can be applied to the video. For example, to cut out any part of the video, select Cut and then paint the area that you want to remove. The different colours in the timeline correlate with the Tools menu and tell you what effect has been applied.
    Pic: SOM tools
  2. Effects can also be deleted afterwards by clicking on their colour-coded position in the timeline, selecting the effect icon from the shortcut menu that opens, and selecting Remove. This means you can also restore any part of the video you delete using Cut.
    Pic: SOM undo cut
  3. By clicking on the magnifying glass in the lower right corner, you can select how close to the timeline to zoom, making it easier to choose parts of a long video more precisely. Another way to select a point in the timeline more accurately is using the left and right arrow buttons on the keyboard instead of the mouse.
    Pic: SOM zoom timeline

Other options

Windows now has the simple built-in video application Video editor. You can find it by searching for ”Video” in the Windows search box, for example. The programme is practically part of the Windows Photos image viewer, meaning it can also be started from there, although that is somewhat unintuitive.
Pic: Win 10 video editor

Simple edits, such as removing unnecessary parts, are easy to do using the Trim and Split functions.  Unfortunately, the audio processing is very simplified in the new free version of the programme.

Apple and Linux

Apple device users are fortunate to have the free and easy to use, yet fairly versatile iMovie for light editing.

There are several free and open-source video editing programmes available for Linux computers, of which Kdenlive is recommended for more demanding work and Shotcut for light editing.