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5 of the Biggest Mistakes New Filmmakers Make When Video Editing


You’ve been shooting videos for a while now and you finally started a video project for your first client. Lights, camera, ACTION!

After spending the time to capture your footage, you’ve got to assemble everything into your finished video product. And it’s this process that will take most of your production time.

Good video editing is more than just sticking shots and music on a timeline. Make your edit shine by avoiding these five mistakes:

Mistake #1: Unorganized Hard Drives, Footage, and Files

In the eagerness to get editing, it’s tempting just to dump all your footage, music, and stills into a giant folder pile and then import everything into your NLE. On top of that, it’s easy to let your NLE make all the decisions about where to save footage.

In the moment, it seems simple.

Later, when you’re trying to locate that one file, it’s a pain in the ass. Do yourself a favor and organize everything before you dig into your editing program.

Mistake #2: Mismatched Frame Rates

Every digital camera can shoot not only at different settings, but different frame rates. Not calibrating cameras to the same settings will cause headaches when editing later.

Also, if you edit your footage in a different frame than you shot it in, your footage will come out looking weird.

If you do a two or more camera shoot, be sure your cameras are shooting with the same color information, as well as the same frame rate. Then later in your NLE, make sure your sequence frame rate matches the frame rate of your footage.

Mistake #3: Using Copyrighted Music

When you start cutting videos, it’s tempting to grab your favorite track of music and cut back to it. But it’s a lawsuit waiting to happen. Don’t assume that because you’re making your edits for fun, or you’re not making a profit that you don’t have to worry about copyright.

Likewise, videos made to show in a church or other community-type setting technically need copyright to be secured. If it’s going to be viewed by more than just by your family in your own home, it’s technically illegal.

The only way you can legally use copyrighted music in your videos is to secure the copyright to use it. Just be aware that you’ll have to pay a hefty fee depending on who’s work you want.

The other alternative is to use royalty free music from other sources. There are options available online that include music released for free use through Creative Commons, as well as inexpensive music sources like and

Mistake #4: LOTS of Transitions, Effects, and Cross-Fades

Nothing says “I’m new at video editing” like overuse of effects, cross-fades, and crazy-looking transitions. These are valuable tools in an editor’s toolkit. But just like it’s possible to use a hammer to pound in a screw, it’s also possible to use these tools the wrong way.

The second you start relying on the effects to keep somebody interested in watching your video, you can guarantee they’ll stop watching. Instead, use effects and transitions to help set mood, emotion, and to advance your story forward.

Mistake #5: Telling, Instead of Showing.

A successful video is not measured by the number of likes or views. It’s measured by the emotional response from the viewer. The best videos create emotional spaces and take the audience on a journey of discovery.

This is the reason why viral videos do their thing. Viewer respond emotionally, and want their friends to share their experience.

It’s not enough to stick shots on a timeline and slap a music bed underneath. Emotional response takes crafting.

Avoiding these mistakes will help you produce a better product for your client. And if you really want to save time, talk to us about doing the edit for you. We apply all this and more to our projects.

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