Your video editing tools really depends on what video editing software you decide to use.  But whether it be something as simple as Windows Movie Maker or something as advanced as Final Cut  Pro, there are basic aspects of video editing that are used in all software.


FOOTAGE- Before you start editing videos, you obviously need some footage to work with.  So make sure you have something you can use to edit.  If not, then film something around your house just so that you have something to use.

IMPORTING VIDEOS – Once you have your footage, in most cases you’ll want to get your video clips onto your computer.  I say in most cases because it is possible to edit videos using apps on your phone.  Although I don’t usually do that, so this is going to be based on editing videos on a computer or laptop.

  • Video Cameras – If you took your videos on a video camera, there are a couple ways you can get them onto the computer.   If your video camera has a USB then you can just connect that to a USB port on your computer.  Some cameras also use this method to charge.  If not, your camera has an SD card which is where all the videos are stored.  You can take this out of the camera and put it in the SD card slot on your computer.  If your camera has a micro SD card, you’re going to need to get an SD card converter.  This is a bigger sized SD card that you put the micro SD card inside of, so that way it will be the right size for your computer’s SD card slot.  Lastly, some cameras like the GoPro actually come with their own special wire for plugging the camera into your computer, and they usually have a USB on the end.  If that’s what your camera has, then you would use that to import the videos.


  • Smartphone – If your videos are on your smartphone, there are ways to get them onto your computer from there as well.  One option is to plug your phone charger into your phone, and the USB end into your computer.  You can only do this if your phone charger allows you to detach the wall outlet part of it.  If you can’t do this, then you can create a folder in your Google Drive and upload the videos there.  Then you can login to your Google Drive on your computer and download all of the videos.


ADDING CLIPS INTO VIDEO EDITING SOFTWARE – In order to start editing your video clips you have to import them into the video editing software you are planning on using.  Depending on the program, there are different terms used to import your clips.  For example “add videos”, “import”, “add media”, etc.  Once you click one of those you have to find your clips.  If you have your camera plugged into the computer or you have the SD card in, your computer should recognize it and an icon should pop up in your file explorer.  Click on it, and from there you can access the videos on your camera.  If you downloaded your videos from Google Drive, the videos will be in your downloads folder.  You can also go straight to your file explorer, find the videos, and then drag and drop them into your video editing software.



There are lots of terms used in the world of video editing like jump cut, render, filter, and timeline.  This link will show you a list of some basic terms and their definitions:


There is no specific way to edit videos.  This is because it depends on what kind of video you’re making, and what you want your video to look like.  But first you want all of your video clips to be in the right order.  You can move them around whether you’re using a video editing software like Final Cut Pro where you have a timeline, or if you’re using something simple like Windows Movie Maker that has a story board.  And from there it’s all up to you.  But I will go over some basic concepts that people usually want to have in their videos.



– TEXT – Many videos usually include text.  This can include titles, captions, and credits.  You may want to have the title of your video show before the actual video starts.  Captions can be used to explain things that are happening in the video, or to show what a person in the video is saying.  And the credits are for crediting people and sources used in your video.

– TRANSITIONS – Instead of having a jump cut in your video, where one video clip goes to the next abruptly, you can add transitions.  These can include a fade, swipe, dissolve, page turn, glow, checkerboard, etc.  The most popular one is the fade.  A fade between your video clips in some cases looks much better than it just abruptly switching.

– ZOOM AND PAN – For still videos and images, it’s sometimes a good idea to use a zoom and pan or, as it’s called in Final Cut Pro, the “Ken Burns” effect.  So for example if you have a still image of a house, you can have it slowly zoom in on the house, or slowly pan from left to right.  It makes your video look more interesting.

– VISUAL EFFECTS – Visual effects is a pretty broad topic.  The definition of visual effects is the process by which imagery is created and/or manipulated outside the context of a live actions shot.  This definition refers more to the visual effects that professional film editors use to make movies.  But in the case of basic video editing, visual effects refers to adding effects like black and white, sepia, and hue cycle.  Many video editing programs come with basic effects like these.

– SOUNDTRACK / SOUND EFFECTS – You can add music to your videos.  So if you made a montage video of your family vacation, you could mute all the video clips and add music to the video.  You can also add sound effects when video editing.  You can download sound effects online, or even create your own, and then add them into your video editing software the same way you would add music in.

– VOICEOVER – A voiceover is audio that’s recorded of a narrator and then added over the video.  This is what professionals do with documentaries.  If you are doing a tutorial type of video, a voiceover is a great way to explain things that are happening in the video, instead of typing a ton of text.



Now you can start editing videos!  I would recommend filming some test footage like I said, and then just experimenting with all of the features in your video editing software.  This way you can get a feel for everything and get comfortable with video editing before you create an actual video!