Updated: May 29, 2019
On November 4, 2017 we posted "The Most Comprehensive Editing Tutorial Ever" and damn it, 17 months later, I truly believe it's still the MOST comprehensive editing tutorial EVER. Yes, this video is about Adobe Premiere. No, you do not need to use Adobe Premiere to understand it to learn from it.
Before you do watch that though, which editing software should you use? I'm a die hard Final Cut Pro X editor. I've had the software since as far back as FCP4. Final Cut is capable.
If you want to know more, you're going to have to do some research. That is unavoidable. But, in the end, I feel like it doesn't matter.
Premiere is slow, but very powerful when combined with the Adobe CC, which it comes with and is awesome. It's also super easy to work with other software because it's so standard. It can work on any kind of computer. This is the software you'll find the most tutorials in. Everyone uses it. The good thing is that most tutorials you'll find on Premiere also can apply to other editing software as well. Although I really don't like Premiere, I suggest it. My issues with it have to do with me being biased towards FCPX.
Avid is old, and is confusing to me (because I've already learned other softwares and it's a little backwards compared to them, even though it's the OG non-linear editing software) but super powerful. This is what almost every feature film you watch in theaters is edited on. This software is respected by many as being the most powerful.
Final Cut, may seem limited depending on who you ask, I have yet to encounter anything Final Cut couldn't do that Premiere could do (unless you count the LUT thing I brought up in the video). It's growing more powerful every day, especially with the new addition of 360 video editing. It also has a magnetic timeline which is hard to explain to you unless you've used it before (I love it). I hate that I can't use my $1,500 gaming rig to edit though, because you can only use Final Cut on Macs.
Davinci is free, you can do a hell of a lot with it, audio, titles, etc. But it, just like Final Cut, is viewed as limited by some (f*ck the haters) It's color correction is amazing though. I love the node system.
In the end, they're all relatively the same though. Just try them all, honestly. Alright, you picked one? Great.
Setting up your edit
Let's talk about workflows and organization. Don't store everything on your desktop. Stay organized. When working with multiple editors it's important that not only you can find everything, but they can as well. Even when I know I'm not working with multiple editors, I still stay organized for my own sanity. I make a lot of videos. Folder structure is important to me. I use the same format for every video. I use an app called Post Haste to help me create empty folder structures in one simple click that allow me to just drag and drop stuff to organize.
Organization is key. you can see my folder structure right here. I don't have a "project" folder like most people do, that's because I work with FCPX. The way Premiere saves project files is way different than FCPX, I save all of my projects into one "library" and split them up by "events". Some FCPX editors will use a "library" for every project, I don't. I reference past videos so often, that would just slow me down. If I use any Adobe CC apps, you'll find me making an "Adobe CC" folder with sub folders for each app I use. You'll also notice all editors use a different structure. Find one that works for you. There's no right or wrong way. Workflows are basically the timeline of a video. From ingest to export. Ingest, to mansplain things, is simply just copying the footage from the camera to the computer. Most editors use the terms ingest or import.
Another important thing to do is set up your workspace. The workspace is just the way that the software looks. If you have two monitors, use them. If you don't it's not necessary. I only have one monitor myself. Your workspace doesn't have to conform to any standards, with Adobe Creative Cloud, you can save your workspace (as well as your custom keyboard shortcuts) to the cloud so that when you use another computer with Premiere, you can just load it up just like it's your computer. They can restore theirs just as easily when you're done. I've done that before and it is suuuuuuper helpful.
The only issue I had with this video is that he said the clip mixer is useless... no it's not. Leave it!
Alright, Now that we're organized, we've ingested all of our footage and set it all up to be edited, we can start editing.
Well unfortunately, I have no idea what you're editing on. This is where you're on your own... Just for a little bit, at least. The most important thing you need to look up at this step is the tools your particular editing software uses. Figure out what keys your tools are mapped to. Get familiar with your workspace, make it yours.
The tools are the most important part. Stay away from your mouse unless you have to. Everything can be done with a keyboard when cutting. This will make you a faster editor. When I was doing the tests for running a daily news show (the Daily Recaps you can find on this website) I went from taking two and a half hours to edit a video to less than thirty minutes all because I took that time to really hone in on my keyboard. I created new shortcuts that I found that I needed. I created presets, I learned how to do a rough cut.
This next video is insane. But as Taran says, it isn't for beginners. I wish I was sponsored or else I'd help you get a Lynda.com subscription or a Skillshare.com subscription, but until I am, you're on your own. You need to familiarize yourself with your software before you give this a go. Yes, I realize it's for Premiere, like I said, the premise is all the same. Listen to him. Treat yourself to this video. College didn't even give me this much insight.
These first two videos are for you to get your basic understanding. Trust me, and I am so sorry, but in college, these classes put me to sleep. I'll admit though, I kicked myself for it later. Codecs are so quintessential to editing. So quintessential to filmmaking in general. Cameras, editing, video hosting sites, it's all using a Codec.
Alright, now get ready to fight some sleep. Coffee Break. Again, I am so sorry. I pick all of these videos because I see them as the best of the best. I'm trying to get you the best understanding of these topics... well... here you go... Feel free to Google other quicker alternatives using the keywords "Codec", "Container", and " Video Compression". I promise, I watched them all, none explain the topic better than these next two videos, no matter how slow paced they are.
I feel bad for calling these videos boring, but like I said, they are important. David Kong put a lot of thought into these videos, we should be thanking him for teaching us these topics for free.