If you are planning on editing your own content then the information below will provide you with some helpful advice and guidance on creating a professional looking product!

What software?

If you are just starting, or only want to make simple edits then most computers have built in free video editing software.  For advanced editing you will need to invest in some commercial software. Listed below are a range of video editing programs that you may come across, some are free and some need to be purchased.

Basic editors include Video Editor (part of Windows), iMovie (Apple), ReCap, Microsoft StreamDaVinci Resolve (free)

Advanced editors include Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut (Apple), Camtasia, DaVinci Resolve

Mobile-based editors include Adobe Premiere Rush, iMovie, GoPro, Quik


Before you start, plan what you want your video to look like. Do you want titles, numerous clips pasted together, insert images? Maybe you want to cut a long video into individual sections. Watch through the footage you have and make a plan of where you need to edit, cut or insert clips. 

There are three main areas a video editor will have. A library, a timeline and a preview window. The library is where all your imported content will be.

Once you have selected the clips and images you need in your video, import them to the library. You can then start dragging your footage onto the timeline. The timeline is a chronological sequence of the clips that make your final video.

A preview window will show you what your video will look like before you are ready to publish. 


Once you have your clips in order, or you may only have one clip, you can edit them on the timeline.

Basic edits : Topping and tailing is the simplest form of editing.  This involves you just removing unwanted content from the start and the end of your video.  All video editing software will provide you with the ability to do this.

If you are feeling a little more adventurous you may want to look at chopping out sections of content from the middle of your clip, or splitting them up into 'chunks' of content to insert between other pieces of media.  Some editors will allow you to split the audio and video tracks, others may not.

Adding transitions : When you are joining two pieces of content you can often make it look a little smoother by adding transitions, rather than hard edits (cuts).  Things such as fades and dissolves are the most commonly used types of transitions.

Adding titles and images : You can create your own titles within some video editors, or you could use an image editor to create them and import them as image files.  Fading titles in and out can add a professional look and feel to your video.  Powerpoint slides and photos from your phone can also easily be imported into your video editor as image files (usually .jpg) to supplement your video content.

Adding music : If you plan on adding music then you must make sure it is licensed or royalty free.  Choose a track that complements the style of your content and make sure it is imported to a separate audio track, to allow you to manage the volume levels.  You may need to reduce the music levels during dialogue

Check your audio levels : Listen back to the your content and see whether the volume is loud enough?  Check whether dialogue can easily be heard above background music.  If not, and your editing software allows you to do so, adjust the individual audio track levels.  Suggested levels for audio are: -

      • Overall audio level : -10db to -15db
      • Dialogue : -12db to -15db
      • Music : -18db to -22db
      • Sound effects : -10db to -20db (with occasional spikes to -8db)

Exporting your content

When exporting your content (which essentially means saving it as a viewable video file) you will need to consider the following: -

Resolution : this is how many pixels your video has (the more pixels, the higher the quality, but the bigger the file).  1080p is usually a good enough resolution for you to use most of the time.

Codec : this is to do with the file format and compression.  The recommended codec to use is H.264 with AAC audio codec however there is a recently new codec (H.265) which boasts improved compression efficiency 

Bit rate : this is the amount of data dedicated per 1 second of video.  Usually set to variable

Frame rate : this is how many video frames appear in 1 second of video.  If you increase the frame rate your video will appear to play slower, if you decrease it, your video will appear to play faster.  The recommended frame rate to use is either 25 or 30 frames per second (fps)

File format : the most common and recommended file format to save your content as is .mp4