Post Production Video Editing: The 7 Steps You Need to Follow
Post production video editing is the process of taking your audio, video, and graphics and putting them together into a logical story.
And it also includes adding final touches like mixing and mastering, color correcting or color grading, and special effects.
The post production video editing process can vary greatly depending the complexity, budget, and overall scope of your video production.
For example, a Hollywood movie's post production process will look a lot different than the process an in-house full-stack content marketer will use. However, every video production follows the same three steps: pre production, production, and post production.
Pre production includes planning your video content, production includes filming or gathering your multimedia assets, and post production includes creating the final video. And today's post covers the steps you need to follow during your post production video editing.
Post production video editing includes:
Assembling your video and audio clips into a logical story
Adding final touches like mixing audio, color correcting, and special effects
Exporting your final video content in the right format for your specified channels
As a full-stack content marketer, it's your job to know these individuals stages, what they entail, and how to do it yourself.
Not only because it'll give you an edge above your peers, since you'll be empowered to actually produce good video content.
But also because it'll make you a more informed decision maker while working with freelance video producers or video production agencies.
How to assemble your video and audio clips
The way you assemble your video and audio clips during the post production video editing process is fairly robust.
You must use a video editing software—we recommend Adobe Premiere Pro—and you must pull together your raw footage, audio tracks, and any supporting multimedia assets ahead of time to ensure you remain organized.
There may be some assembly variation depending on your personal preferences or the type of video content you're producing.
But in general, you can follow these battle-tested steps (we've filmed war documentaries) during your post production video editing to create an excellent finished product.
Our video editing philosophy is to get tedious tasks done quickly, so you can do the fun stuff like putting together the story or adding special effects.
And if you follow these steps, you will become a heroic video editor and Adobe Premiere Pro whiz that will stand out above your peers.
Let's get started.
Step 1: Identify your video footage selects
Whether you've got only A-roll (primary footage), A-roll and B-roll (supplementary footage), and/or a mixture of raw footage and stock footage doesn't change this first step.
You must cut up your selects.
Selects are video clips you believe are good enough to potentially make it onto your final edit. You get to choose the criteria, but typically this includes your most aesthetic, powerful, and clean shots.
We don't care if a certain clip is only one second long - if it looks good, and you may use it, cut it up. And assemble it into it's own sequence on your timeline.
Why this matters: This step will make final assembly easier since you'll have a concise shot list already ready for you. And it'll doubles as a fast way of creating a B-roll package for future use.
Step 2: Cut up your audio tracks
A major mistake video editors make during their post production video editing process is jumping right into assembly. But if you don't have your audio clips selected and cut up, you won't know what audio is available to you.
This steps matters more when you're working with interview audio, but it still matters for scripted voiceovers.
We recommend you cut out all dead noise, uh's and um's, and put together a sequence of your best soundbites on your timeline.
Why this matters: This step will also make final assembly easier since you'll have a concise list of soundbites ready to use. This is more important when using interview audio clips, but it still matters for scripted voiceovers.
Step 3: Assemble a logical story
We'll cover storytelling best practices on another post, so for now we're assuming you have a story you're trying to tell already in mind.
At this point, putting your story together is going to go so much smoother—because you've already got your selects and soundbites ready!
It's best to assemble the audio sequence first, then add your selects over your audio clips.
This will ensure that you follow a common rule of thumb: let the audio (story) drive the narrative, and use video to support (show) what is being said.
Why this matters: There's nothing worse than video content without a true story that has a beginning, middle, and end. Let alone one who's audio doesn't match what is being shown or vice versa.
How to mix audio, color correct, and add special effects
A crucial component of post production video editing includes mixing and mastering audio, color correction or color grading, and adding special effects.
Truthfully, as a full-stack content marketer, your expectation isn't to be the Steven Spielberg of post production. But it's important to know even the basics of these skills so you can take your video content from good to great.
Step 4: Mix your audio
Video productions can potentially include a large amount of audio content like voiceovers, music, and sound effects.
Here are audio mixing levels you should know:
Main Voiceover: No greater than -6db
Background Music: No greater than -24db
Sound Effects: Varies but sound effects should never overpower the entire video
We recommend once you find yourself on this step, that you turn off your video and focus only on audio.
Clean up background noise, increase and decrease audio levels for effect, and level out your audio to elevate your finished product.
Then listen to your audio multiple times through, using headphones, no headphones, etc. You need to get a clean understanding of how the entire audio landscape is working together.
Step 5: Color correct your video
The color on your video clips will vary due to many factors like whether you're using stock footage, raw footage, or stylized assets.
However, every savvy full-stack content marketer should at least know these color correcting best practices.
Here are color correcting best practices you should know:
White Balance: If you filmed your own footage, you better have white balanced prior to recording. But if you didn't (that's okay, happens to the best of us) you can fix white balance in post.
Saturation: Once you're confident your white balance is correct, play around with your saturation until it fits your style or needs.
Brightness and Contrast: Go ahead and adjust your brightness, contrast, and crush those blacks to ensure your video looks crispy.
Ideally, this step is all about normalizing your video content (making it look normal).
You don't want to produce video content that's got funky skin tones or bad lighting, that's a sure way to make viewers stop watching.
Step 6: Add special effects
This is a purely subjective and optional step.
If you follow the first five steps, your finished product will look excellent. But if you're looking to take your post production video editing to the next level, you may consider adding special effects to your content.
Here are common special effects you should know:
Dip to Black: This video effect is commonly used to start or end videos with as it makes for a nice transition for the viewer. And it can also be used tastefully within a video, too.
Constant Power: This audio effect creates a smoother volume transition between clips by gradually decreasing a clip before fading quickly toward the end.
Closed Captions: Everyone's favorite special effect, closed captions. Thankfully, Adobe makes it incredibly easy for you to generate them.
The list of special effects is nearly infinite. There are audio and visual effects available within your preferred video editing software, and available for purchase.
But these three audio and visual effects are at least the most common and easy to use to take your videos to the next level.
Step 7: Export your finished product
You did it.
You've got a finished product on your timeline. Now it's time for you to export your video content.
Make sure you export it under the right name, within the correct folder, and using the specific settings you need which vary depending on your ultimate channel of choice.
Remember, if you're to become a full-stack content marketer, knowing video editing is a must.
That doesn't mean you've got to be an absolute expert across the board. But at the very least, you need to understand post production video editing best practices.
Because it'll help you raise your hand whenever a video project inevitable falls on your team's lap.
And although there are many additional advanced tools and best practices available, following these steps will ensure your entire video production process finishes up without a hitch.
Good luck out there, Captain!
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