Video Editing: Some Basics, Tips, and Resources to Get You Started

“[Editing requires] vast amount of preparation, really, to arrive at the innocuously brief moment of decisive action: the cut—the moment of transition from one shot to the next—something that, appropriately enough, should look almost self-evidently simple and effortless, if it is even noticed at all.” Walter Murch, In the Blink of An Eye

This quote from Academy Award winning editor Walter Murch exemplify both the power of editing and also how little-noticed it can be when done well. Editing is a subtle guide for the viewer, drawing their attention to aspects of the scene and to the messages you’d like to convey. Your promotional videos aren’t meant to win Oscars, but they can still be made much more effective in the editing process.

Today we’ll take some time to talk about some fundamental concepts and practices in video editing, and the basics of Adobe Premiere.

Time allowing, we’ll play around with some footage in class that Cinestudy has released for free.  If you’d like to download your own copy you can find it here (very corny, not very scary):

CineStudy Edit Challenge “Horror Movie”


Adobe Premiere Basics:

Premiere Keyboard Shortcuts: Getting in the habit of using these shortcuts will save you SO MUCH time!

A Quickstart Training Guide (PDF)

15 Min. Adobe Premiere tutorial – Nofilmschool Collection of Adobe Premiere Tutorials  These are all great, and we’ll take a look at some in class.

Adding Captions in Premiere: VideoLane has a video walk through, as well as a guide that is really useful for making your videos more accessible.

Cuts and Transitions:

This video from Gabi Solis gives great examples of many common editing techniques using popular films and tv shows.

  • Match on Action – Your most common cut, seamlessly knitting together camera angles by cutting on a character’s action.
  • Match on Movement – A technique that connects two different scenes by cutting between the same movement across them
  • Graphic Match – Cutting on a similar shape, often accompanied by a dissolve, like a dinner plate dissolving into the moon
  • Dissolves, Wipes, and other transitions – Graphical techniques that


Schedule Reminder:

W February 26 : Adobe Premiere, editing workshop (Wade). Bi-Weekly Report Due

M March 2: Group meetings.

W March 4: Group meetings. Rough Cut Due

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