Most videos aren’t made up of a single take, but instead consist of multiple clips that are cut together. The manner in which you cut together your videos will have a dramatic effect on how they turn out, and influence not only its pace but its ability to keep viewers engrossed.

While cutting together videos is a skill that takes time to perfect and a lot of experience, the only way you’re going to learn it is if you get started.

Curate the Raw Footage

Before you begin you should curate the raw footage so that you have a better idea of what you’re working with. Depending on the amount of initial footage it may take time, but your goal should be to:

• Find the footage that you want to use in your video.
• Identify other footage that is usable that could be used as B-roll.
• Remove footage that can’t be used for any reason.

It may help to add notes as you curate your videos, especially if there are some long clips that contain only a small segment of footage that you want to use. Additionally if you feel some footage may only be usable after it is edited (i.e. with color correction, cropping or something else) – that should be done beforehand to make sure it is the case.

Overall by the time you’re done you should have a rough idea of the shape your cut is going to take on.

Find the Right Types of Cuts

As you start to cut together your video, you should think about the transition from each clip to the next – and how it affects the flow and pace of your video.

In short you need to find the right types of cuts to use – and there are a few that you should try initially:

• Hard cuts are standard cuts that simply transition from the first to the second clip directly. Although they can be jarring, if viewers are already engrossed and no additional continuity needs to be established – they can be quick and effective.

• Cut on action is a technique that matches and action taking part across the first and the second clip. Because viewers will be drawn to the action and engrossed in watching it, the cut itself will look smoother and much less jarring.

• L and J cuts are used to cut audio. In an L cut you’d cut to the second clip while still playing audio from the first clip for a few seconds, whereas with a J cut you’d introduce audio from the second clip but only cut to the video a few seconds later. Both these cuts can be useful for editing conversations and making them flow while eliminating dead space.

• Cutaways involving ‘cutting away’ from the main flow of the video and to a separate scene, normally to provide context. The B-roll that you have available can be useful for cutaways and will provide you with more options.

The timing that you use along with the type of cut is what will affect the pace of the video. In some cases you may want to use your editor to not only cut clips but speed up certain segments, and for example you could use Movavi Video Editor and the steps at

By practicing, trying out the cuts listed above as well as other types of cuts – you should become more familiar with the manner that they can affect your videos. That is how you start cutting together videos more effectively, and you’ll get better the more you gain experience.

[Written by External Partner]
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