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Video editing basics

By July 12, 2017 Photography No Comments

Once you have synced your audio-files you can now begin to edit your video. This only covers bare basics to help you in understanding how to begin to build a sequence, but it’s a start.


For each editing program there is typically a user manual that will delve into deeper detail with the technical aspects of how to fully use the software.

Final Cut Pro has four main windows: Browser, Timeline, Viewer (preview), and Canvas (related to the timeline). Clicking on your clips will show them in the preview window. The canvas will always show where your cursor is within your timeline. Within the preview window, you can scroll through your video to see where you want to set your in and out points on the timeline.

In and out points

In and out points are markers that will indicate where each clip will start and stop. Setting the in and out points doesn’t mean that you delete the video that falls outside these points, it just isn’t used in the clip you transfer to the sequence. These are used as guiding points of reference to determine what areas of your clip will ultimately be used for editing into your timeline. Your selected clips make up the sequence or timeline. Using I and O key as shortcuts makes this process faster. The canvas screen allows you to watch your newly edited timeline or sequence. You can also insert entire clips and drag in the edges to trim the clip to only the area you want to play.

Here there are two clips, the in and out points marked in yellow, the scrubber in red/white (the scrubber is the point currently seen in the viewer).

Insert and overwrite

By dragging a selected clip and dropping it into the Insert area of the Canvas window, the clip will insert into your timeline. If you drag and drop a clip into the Overwrite area, this action visually puts the video on the top layer of the timeline and will trump any content below it unless you target a specific layer. Generally, the clip that is at the top layer of your timeline will play over anything below it.


When you change the values of a clip, you must then render it in order to play. If you have a clip that is a different codec, it must be rendered. There will be a red bar at the top of your timeline that will indicate this. You can render a clip by clicking ‘sequence’ in the main menu.

Post-processing controls

Whichever post-processing programme you use for video most will have similar tools with similar functionality.

basic editing buttons

Select: Selects the clip to be worked on, moves it by clicking and dragging.

Trim: Trims/expands clips in various ways and moves around a clip within the in and out points.

Position: Moves a selected clip over the clips that precede or follow it without expanding other areas.

Range Selection: Set in and out points on the timeline with the ability to move them around.

Blade: Cuts or separates clips.

Zoom: Zooms in on the timeline.

Hand: Allows you to move around the timeline—useful for working while zoomed in.

The Moviemaking With Your Camera Field Guide is Olivia Speranza’s guide that shows you how you can build on what you already know to create truly spectacular movies with your camera in whatever genre you choose. It introduces everything from the language of film and basic equipment you will need, to the art of post-production and publishing your new work.

The Moviemaking With Your Camera Field Guide, Olivia SperanzaThe Moviemaking With Your Camera Field Guide
Olivia Speranza

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