A decade ago, editing high quality videos meant significant investment in cameras, specialised editing suites, and more, but the smartphone revolution has changed the game and social media stars are creating impressive professional-quality videos on a daily basis with little more than an iPhone, laptop, and a quick internet connection.

Here’s how.

Edit videos like a pro: a step-by-step guide

Plan and storyboard

A good video plan goes a long way. What’s the story? Any good video has one – a beginning, middle, and an end. Ideally, you already have your own well-planned storyboard. However, if you only have a script then it is time to sit down and make a plan for what you are going to use for transitions, colours, titles, and fonts, sound effects.

Organize your media

Keeping your scenes organized and easily accessible is crucial when working on a tight deadline and media organisation is a critical part of the editing process. It is best to keep everything together, separated into categories and folders, so when you do decide it is time to integrate a particular clip, you can find always the clip you need quickly and easily.

Rough edits

Organizing your footage into a rough edit may seem daunting when starting out, but it’s actually quite easy if you use the right tools. Using a non-linear editor with a built-in storyboard function will help you get organized. Plus, since they offer multiple timelines that are easily nested, while one is being worked on and finalized it can be grouped together with other scenes properly on the main timeline at any time convenient for you.

Fine edits

Make sure your scenes are well-timed and tell a coherent story to the audience. Your film should tell its story succinctly, and keep your audience engaged throughout, so don’t waste too much time on extra shots that whilst pretty do not add to the story you are trying to tell.

Pick a video editor

Choosing the right video editing tool can be a daunting task, as there are so many options out there which include desktop, mobile devices, and cloud solutions. The right video editor can simplify the process managing your media and making complex edits, and will have a major impact on the quality of the final cut, so make sure you find one that suits your needs.

Colour correction

Colour correction is a fundamental part of any video editing process. There are two primary functions that a colour corrector will carry out, as you’ll find in your shot’s metadata: correction and grading. Correction treats the many variables that are inherent to camera systems and lighting conditions to ensure everything has a consistent look.

Grading, on the other hand, is about ‘colouring’ within the parameters of how content might be perceived by humans in the real world – as a softer glow around light sources for example. Visual consistency becomes ever more vital when working with footage captured across multiple devices or cameras that have varying degrees of performance.

Fonts and text

Adding striking text overlay to your video can be a great way to elevate it from being just another social media video clip. One way to make sure your text overlay doesn’t detract from what people are really supposed to see in the video is by making it slightly italicized (using a slight drop shadow or outer glow can help this). It also helps if use shorter lines of text since they tend to be easier to read than longer ones when people are skimming through their feeds.

Music and mood

A story needs music, just like life needs rhythm. The right music matches the mood and sets the tone, and connects people with their emotions, so that they feel more connected to your story. There are various sources where you can buy royalty-free music across a variety of genres to add to your music, or if you had a particular song in mind you would like to use be sure to check with the artist whether they are happy for you to use their music first.


Video editing is a skill that is becoming more and more popular with people of all ages as smartphones have democratised video. Editing your own video footage can be a rewarding skill to learn, and for those that want to build a following online then video is perhaps the best way to find your fans.


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