Video editing for beginners: how to edit a video and what is needed for this

Self-editing video attracts an ever larger audience, because it allows you to create better videos, enjoying the process and the result. Getting started is the hardest part, but not every novice user knows how to do it right. At the beginning of the journey, it is very easy to choose the wrong direction. As a result – a waste of time without benefit for the business. How to edit a video and what is needed for this – more on that later.

Tips for beginners: where to start
For those who are just going to try their hand at video editing, it will be useful to understand the terminology, basic concepts of video editing and format, so as not to find out the meaning of functions by typing.

If the source code does not match, there will be many difficulties, therefore it is recommended to pay attention to the selection of material, and if there is such an opportunity – to take part in its recording.

The creation of the video begins with the elaboration of the plot and script. It is more convenient to work with an action plan than to make adjustments and changes chaotically. An example of a video editing plan (editing sheet): The next step is structuring the source material. For example, it is better to transfer all the files necessary for work to a separate folder, numbered them. You can also use the names – as you like.


Next, you need to prepare all the text material that you plan to use in the video. These can be titles, subtitles, captions, etc.

In fact, this completes the preparation and begins the practical part. To get started, you can practice gluing audio tracks. Sound mixing is the most problematic for novice users. You can face such problems during video editing and this will completely stop the process. In any case, it is impossible to create really high-quality videos without mixing sound.

Newbies who post the results of their work on the Internet may have problems due to violation of intellectual property rights. We are talking about pictures, background music and other used content. To avoid this, you can collect for yourself a base with free content libraries.

Attention should be paid to the equipment. High-performance PCs and laptops can complete tasks faster, and pauses and freezes in the process can negatively affect mood. In this case, the more powerful the iron, the better.

The main tool for video editing is a video editor. Since now we are talking about the beginning of the path, not all users are ready to part with a tidy sum. Therefore, the main focus will be on free programs for PC / laptops and services in which you can perform simple actions.

Free video editing software
Before you start, it is worth noting that free software and services are rarely devoid of drawbacks (watermarks, inconvenient interface, limited functionality). Everything is explained by the complexity of video editing programs, and few people want to support and develop a project on sheer enthusiasm, but there are interesting exceptions.

Built-in video editor using Windows 10 as an example
Microsoft used to offer Movie Maker for video editing, but now the company is no longer working with it. Instead, the Start menu now has Video Editor, which is powered by the Photos app. This is a simple solution with a minimal set of features. You definitely won’t become a professional here, but it can come in handy for creating family videos and presentations.

Functionality of “Video Editor”:

video cropping and gluing;
inserting text and cards with a title;
inserting images;
frame movement;
library of 3D effects with the ability to load new models;
small collection of filters;
overlay background music and custom audio;
basic audio editing functions;
speed control.

no need to download and install;
simple intuitive interface;
does not require skills and knowledge.

too simple.
Shotcut is a free and open source video editor that you can download from this link . This is a cross-platform software, but linux users have additional advantages in the form of screen capture, audio, video from cameras. Shotcut is a full-fledged video editor capable of solving some professional tasks, but also suitable for beginners.

The functionality of the program includes such features as:

support for many image formats, audio, video and codecs;
frame-by-frame search, framing, transitions;
filters for audio and video;
color correction;
inserting text and overlaying a logo;
video / audio speed control;
meter and volume control;
scalable player;
autosave log with endless rollback and redoing of changes;

simple interface and timeline;
the presence of the Russian language;
ease of development.

the likelihood of failures (solved by loading autosaves);
blank space when overdubbing tracks (removable).

The disadvantages of Shotcut include an interface that is unlike other programs for nonlinear editing, which means the need to adapt when switching to another video editor. Otherwise, Shotcut will be fun to learn, and as your skills grow, you can try more complex tools.

Lightworks is a flexible video editor that offers all the necessary editing functionality. The software has been used in the editing of many blockbusters. Although the features of the free version are not so extensive, they are more than enough for the amateur level and for solving simple professional tasks. It is noteworthy that many of the features presented in the paid version are also available in the free version, although this is not mentioned on the official website.

Lightworks functionality:

3D video processing;
color correction;
sound recording, audio mixer, vectorscope for audio control;
work with the background (Chromakey, Lumakey, Image Key);
audio and video filters;
framing, transitions, editing of multi-camera material.

convenient backup of projects;
direct upload to YouTube;import, visualization and export of video without time delays;
support for team work on a project.

complex management;
there is no Russian language.

DaVinci Resolve
DaVinci Resolve is widely regarded as one of the best free video editing software. In fact, this is a unique software that combines the capabilities of editing, overlaying visual effects and graphics, video grading (color correction) and sound processing. Work with plugins is supported. The functionality of the paid version has been expanded with additional functions and effects that professionals will appreciate.

You can download the program from the official website at this link .

After choosing a version, you must fill out the registration form.

The download will begin immediately after filling out the form. We’ll have to wait a bit – the executable file weighs more than 1.5 GB. Installation will require space, not to mention the need for disk space for the archive of projects, there is a reason to think about expanding the system with an additional drive .

The main functionality of DaVinci Resolve:

video grading;
mixing audio tracks of a professional level, a large set of tools for audio processing, a variety of sound effects;
adding subtitles and notes, creating animated volumetric titles;
adding transitions;
huge library of 3D effects;
work with hot keys (you can choose combinations of other popular video editors);
the ability to mount multi-chamber material;
intelligent video cropping.
Benefits of the program:

convenient and responsive interface;
the possibility of teamwork on a project;
wide range of rendering options;
compatibility with the company’s special equipment for installation (keyboards, audio consoles, grading panels).

resource-intensive (against the background of other free software);
lack of Russian in the menu.

Other interesting video editing software from the free category
There are many more free programs with their advantages and disadvantages, but we still have topics for discussion, so the remaining video editors are left to study on their own.

The following programs are not included in the list, but the following programs are worthy of attention:

VSDC Free Video Editor;
HitFilm Express;
Wondershare Filmora;
You can recommend your favorite video editors and complete this list in the comments.

Video editing on the example of Shortcut
At the first start, the program will offer to create a project by specifying a folder and specifying a name. After that we press the button “Start”. To create a new project during editing, you can use the key combination “Ctrl + N”.

The next step is to unload all materials that will be needed during installation. To do this, you need to find the “Open file” item in the menu.

To start editing, you need to transfer the files from the playlist to the timeline.

You can add / remove an audio or video track by right-clicking on an empty space on the timeline. In the pop-up window, select the item “Track Operations”, and in the sub-items of the menu – the required action.

To start editing, you need to understand the basic elements of the interface.

On the right side of the Shotcut video editor, there is a History menu, where you can roll back unsuccessful actions or redo canceled operations.

When composing two video clips in Shotcut, a small gap appears between them. To remove it, you need to right-click on the empty space between the tracks and select the “Delete” item. To combine two video fragments, drag one track onto another with the mouse. Transitions can help make the track change smoother.

To configure a transition, you need to right-click on it (in the pasteboard area), select the “Properties” item and set the transition parameters of interest.

Add filters if necessary. In Shotcut, filters are applied to the entire track. To install them, you need to select a track by clicking on the track with the left mouse button, then go to the “Filters” tab. To add a new filter from the list, click “+”, as in the screenshot below.

After composing the video tracks, you need to check the sound. Audio transitions are usually noticeable when stitching videos, so beginners are advised to highlight audio and add background music. To separate audio from video, you need to click on the video track with the right mouse button, select the item “Move” and the sub-item “Separate audio”. If necessary, you can replace the audio track with your own, apply audio filters by analogy with video tracks.

We leave on the home stretch. We need to save our project. To do this, click on the “File” tab, select “Export video …” in the drop-down menu. We are offered a large list of formats. If there are no preferences, then we select the option “YouTube” (.mp4). Next, you can set your own parameters for the video by adjusting the default values. To do this, at the bottom of the panel, click the “Advanced” button.

The last step is to click the “Export” button, after which you need to specify the location to save the result. All that remains is to wait for the rendering to complete. The execution time depends on the complexity of the installation, timing, the number of tracks and effects, the power of the hardware.

Paid programs and demos
Paid programs will delight you with a convenient and thought-out interface that is pleasant to work with. Paid software is aimed at professionals, has advanced functionality and capabilities, and is also adapted for teamwork.

Important elements are: software stability, quality of support, regular updates, connection to various services. It seems that these are trifles, but when the free video editor crashes at the final stage of editing, the attitude towards such details changes dramatically.

Demo versions of paid programs have restrictions on timing, choice of effects and functions, time of use. The watermark is more common here than free versions of video editors.

List of popular programs with demo versions:

Movavi Video Suite;
Adobe Premiere Pro;
Video SHOW;
Corel VideoStudio Pro;
Pinnacle Studio 22;
The demo allows you to evaluate the capabilities of the paid software before purchasing it, which means that you can try in action the functions that are not available in the free version.

How the editing process looks like using the example of Adobe Premiere Pro can be found in the video below.

Online services
Online services are an interesting solution for editing short videos and animations. Most of them support uploading to popular social networks. Of course, functionality is minimized, so services are not suitable for complex tasks.

The disadvantages include a significant consumption of PC or laptop resources, frequent crashes and bugs, the presence of ads and watermarks. This is especially true for free services. There are also paid online video editing platforms, as well as projects with a free trial period and additional restrictions.

The indisputable advantage of this option is that there is no need to install software. Registration, as a rule, is reduced to the simplest synchronization with existing accounts of Google, Facebook or other social networks.

What online services should you pay attention to in the first place – more on that later.

Clipchamp Create
Among the functions are: video cropping, speed control, adding transitions, filters, effects, creating title blocks. It is a service with its own video and audio library. Clipchamp Create supports a huge variety of input formats: .avi, .mp4, .mp3, .mov and many more.

The service offers a pretty interesting collection of templates. Webcam recording and screen capture are supported. There are free and paid (3 levels) versions. It is noteworthy that non-linear video editing is supported on two paid tariff plans. The interface language is English, but it can be translated in the browser.
The service has an intuitive interface that even a person without experience in video editing can handle. is built for a variety of business niches. The collection contains many templates adapted for subsequent uploading to social networks (more than 30 sizes for different platforms). Work with soundtracks and animations is supported. contains cliparts, color correction, transitions, filters, effects, and its own audio and video library.

There are free and paid versions. It is noteworthy that even in the free mode, there is an upload to YouTube, Facebook and Twitter with support for the .mp4 720p format. In the paid version, the list of supported services is longer. You can download branding, change layouts, and change text color to customize your video, but there is only one template available in the free version.

The main drawback of the free version is the watermark, but the service allows you to get HTML code for 5 videos. The interface language is English.

The pride of the service is the database of templates. Having chosen the layout you like, you need to upload video, images and audio (or choose from the database). After that, the system will perform automatic video editing. There are several options you can try. In general, it turns out pretty well. The edited video can be saved on a computer or uploaded to popular social networks.

Upon registration, the user gets access to a 7-day demo version of the service with full functionality and without watermarks. After that, you can use the service, but with limited functionality, unless, of course, you pay for a subscription. Videos saved during the trial period are not deleted after the expiration date.

Smartphone video editors
If you are wondering why use complex software or services on a PC / laptop, when modern smartphones are powerful enough to solve various tasks, then this item will certainly interest you.

Interesting applications for post-processing videos from the Play Store:

Adobe Premiere Rush, replacing Adobe Premiere Clip;
InShot (creating videos for YouTube and TikTok);
Movavi Clips;
It is worth mentioning separately about the existence of simple video editors that are able to create videos in automatic mode. To do this, the user needs to specify the files (video, audio, images) to compose, and in a few seconds get the result. The video can be edited or left as it is. GoPro’s Quik editor is one example.

Most free smartphone apps have a limited base of effects and / or inline ads that get in the way of the process.

Apps for editing video on smartphones cannot be considered as an alternative to video editors for PCs, although for the simplest operations and short videos, this is an interesting option.