How to Edit a Video Clip

by Contributor

How to Edit a Video Clip. When we first get our home video cameras we tend to just take lots of video. The home video creator soon learns that nobody wants to see a one-hour video of your child's birthday party. Instead of putting the camera on a tripod and letting it run, we start to think in terms of "shots." After a while we learn that not every shot needs to use the zoom. We discover pans and tilts. Instead of uploading two 30-minute clips we are uploading 30 two-minute clips. All of this great camera technique is for naught, however, if we don't take the proper steps in editing the clips into a movie. In this article we will discuss the techniques for editing video clips and assembling them into a movie. We will use iMovie as an example, but the same techniques can be applied to other editing software as well.


Upload your clips into iMovie. The more clips you have, the longer the process will take, since the program will need to generate thumbnails. Browse through the clips and select the first clip for your movie. You can always change the order of the clips later in the project window.


Drag the clip to the project window. Any trimming or clip adjustment you make will only be for the project you are editing. The original video is stored in your library and will not be adjusted.


This is a clip of seagulls off of a restaurant pier in Los Angeles. Most video clips need to be trimmed. In this case the total clip is 57 seconds long. The gulls are shot through a glass window, and at the beginning and end of the clip you can see the reflections, but when I zoomed in on the gulls the reflections were minimized. The good part of the clip is only 19 seconds long. Using the mouse, carefully select the portion of the clip you want.


After you select the portion you want, select the EDIT tab and choose TRIM TO SELECTION. Notice the clip is now reduced to about 18 seconds. The original in the library is unchanged. The orange bar on the library clip shows the amount of that clip that is included in the project. At this time you can make sound or lighting adjustments to the clip if required in the project window.


Add more clips to assemble your movie. Once the movie is assembled you can add titles, special effects, voiceovers and soundtracks. As you add and edit each clip consider the sound and video adjustments for each one. Also consider using scene transitions as you assemble multiple clips. Use them sparingly and only where they make sense. Take your time, have some fun and make a movie. Your family and friends will like them--and moviemaking can provide a great feeling of self-accomplishment.


  • check Keep clips short and the total time of the movie under 10 minutes.
  • check Use wild sound if it ADDS value and add a music soundtrack to make a music video.
  • check You can use the different sections of the same clip in the same movie. Just drag the clip and select and trim a different portion.

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