Adding a Professional Touch to Your Project

One reason for using the video shooting tips in Hour 1, "Camcorder and Shooting Tips," is to open more creative opportunities during editing. Right now you're doing fundamental, simplified editing, but trying out some standard professional editing techniques now will help as we move to more complex editing later.

Using Establishing Shots

Do you have establishing shots? You need them to let viewers know where they are. Try to place establishing shots near the beginning of any new setting or location.

Using Matching Shots

If you shot any repetitive action, look for matching shots. You might have a wide shot of someone typing at her computer and a tight shot of that person's hands on the keyboard. Edit them in order and make sure you avoid jump-cuts. The person in the wide shot may take her hands off the keyboard for a moment. If the tight shot is of her hands on the keyboard, make sure you trim the wide shot to the point where the person still has her hands on the keyboard.

Using Wide and Tight Shots

This adds interest. You might have a wide shot of a football game with the quarterback barking out signals. The next edit could be a tight shot of his face. You could have shot these two clips during two different plays, but by editing them back to back, it appears to be one play.


This is a great way to build interest. The fish shops at Seattle's Pike Place Market provide a nonstop sideshow full of repetitive action. Most videographers would opt for a medium shot or two. Instead, put together a sequence of a tight shot of hands grabbing a fish from the display case, a medium shot from behind the shopkeeper as he tosses the fish to an employee, that employee catching the fish and placing it on a scale, and so on. Look for sequences like that in your raw video. Build your sequence well by using tight and wide shots and matching shots.


Avoid putting two very similar shots together. Two wide shots of the same soccer field for instance. Instead, between the two wide shots edit in a cutaway--a crowd shot, a parent shouting encouragement, or the scoreboard--to avoid creating a viewer disconnect. Same holds true for interviews. If you "butt together" two bites from the same interviewee, put a cutaway between them. A hand shot or a reverse cutaway of the interviewer.


When using cutaways, usually you lay only video over the edited sound. But the techniques in this hour don't cover that. Using what you've learned here, if you insert a cutaway between two sound bites together, you'll have a silent gap where you want a continuous sound bite. Placing only video over two adjacent sound bites requires some specialized editing that I'll explain in Hour 7.

Finally, at any point in your production you can save your project. Select File, Save or Save As and select a location and filename. You always can save it under different names if you do any experimentation and want to try something else later.

    Part II: Enhancing Your Video