How I learned to make video editing suck less
It's no secret that I do not enjoy video editing. It’s tedious, time-consuming, and my efforts rarely meet my desires. To that end, if I’m honest, it’s been a big deterrent (I don't think I'm alone either). Hosting races and doing projects like the fantasy league often got derailed under the looming doom of having to produce video.
But believe me that I've tried to overcome. If I took the time I’ve spent trying to reduce my effort in video editing, I’d probably have been able to pump out hours of good video. I’ve tried live streaming. I’ve made software to help and databases to track. I’ve purchased apps that promised efficiency. My goal every time was to not only make it easier on me, but to make the final video easy to watch and feel a little different than others out there.
Then it hit me. Just give in, man.
Work with what you have
In my efforts to be creative and different, I lost sight of the basic objective - to prove that the racing actually happened.
I’ve chosen not to invest the time or money like 3DBotMaker has. His videos are badass but I’ve accepted that level quality just isn’t in me. I don’t need to make videos that look like ESPN highlights. So for a recent hosted tournament, I decided to just give in and use what’s in front of me...
...and that’s the iMovie app on the iPhone and iPad. It's free! Search in the App Store.
I shoot all my video with an iPhone anyway so using iMovie eliminates the hassle of getting all the videos off my phone and onto my computer for editing. Instead, I’m doing all the work in one spot. Makes sense, right?
So why didn’t I use iMovie before? The simple answer is my ego. I wanted my videos to look a certain way with specific fonts, colors, and so on...like this. iMovie is easy to use but it doesn't offer much in the creativity department. You pick your template and you're stuck with it. I thought to myself, "I can certainly do better," which has always been my downfall.
This time, instead of fighting iMovie, I designed around its limitations. You can't move text around with iMovie, so I made a background that accounts for text placement. It’s not much but it gets the branding in there and is something I can reuse over and over.
Want to use the background in your video? Download the background and use it all you want.
The fewer video clips, the better
As for the rest of my workflow, the biggest change I made this time was taking one long video per match-up. Before, I would take a video for each trip down the track. That left me with tons of 5-second videos and that became a huge hassle to manage when I tried to import them into the timeline. I spent more time squinting at the tiny clips and importing them than I did anything else.
Now, I import one full race at a time and slice it into smaller chunks. iMovie's tools for cutting, trimming, and even adding slow-mo are great. Once things are cut, I toss in some photos and use the built-in text to label everything. All in all, less than 5 minutes per video.
I put a dry erase board next to my track and wrote the match-up, making it the first part of my videos so I can easily see the race names when browsing through videos on the tiny phone screen. I don't know why I didn't do this before!
Once I'm happy with the final video, I export it to Dropbox (also free), which syncs up with a folder on my computer. From there I upload to YouTube and add the titles, descriptions, and other add-ons YouTube offers. Honestly, the YouTube process is now more of a hassle than video editing.
For once, I decided not to reinvent the wheel, and so by just using off-the-shelf parts in iMovie, I’ve whittled down video production time to manageable levels. And since I do all the editing on the phone, I can even work while watching TV, which makes the time go a little faster.
All of this isn't to say that I now enjoy video editing. Far from it. But the necessity of video is now a little less daunting. Video is still a time suck, especially if you have a huge bracket, but by reducing some of my lofty expectations, it no longer takes me hours to produce 5 minutes worth of video, and that's a win.
Here's an example of a video using this process. Nothing fancy but it's clean, clear, and easily put together in a few minutes.
Great tips! I actually use iMovie on the Mac due to it's simplicity and workflow.
- We're not a Mac home and options for Windows are slim outside of pricey Adobe stuff. Given how easy the phone version is to use, I imagine the desktop is even better. — redlinederby
- Man 3D, you're editing looks way above iMovie with the graphics you put in. Really impressed with the quality of your whole channel, from the editing, track and of course the awesome commentary — Chaos_Canyon
That looks really good and if it's simpler then that's even better.
Good idea using templates, they help you maintaina. good consistent look and it adds quality to yur production value. Nice work.
I tend to use the Adobe suite as I use a lot of the programs for my business doing photoshop, photography and video work and I get every program with the subscription so it makes sense to use it. But I started with Windows movie maker years ago, then went to iMovie (which is a great program) then to Final Cut Pro before ending up with Adobe.
- Thanks for sharing. I've been thinking about Pinnacle too...I used it's pro products when I worked at a TV station. I just can't justify the Adobe Cloud unless I really start producing more volume...which could happen. — redlinederby
I use powerdirector for Android. Been using it a while ago and it's fits me well. I don't need to make fancy videos, justo show the important part, racing. But even so it's an app that works really good and has a lot of add-ons too, I bough mine but it was worth the price.
It's a great idea to leave it as one long clip and trim it down in your editor. A couple of additional tips to make it easier, and also if you are running multiple cameras. I've been doing video editing and shooting for about 15 years and am mostly self taught, so I wanted to share what's worked well for me. I have also competed in the 48 hour film comp for all of those years and you learn to get very fast at editing :) as you have no time to muck around
- At the start of each race, or heat depending on how you want to run it, use a slate (whiteboard, piece of paper etc - whatever you have to hand) and hold it up in front of the camera so when you're scrubbing through you see which race is which. I know you mentioned it but wasn't sure if that was just the start of the video or each time so thought I'd mention it
- If you're running multiple cameras, load them all into the timeline and sync them together when they are one big clip. This way you can then cut to multiple angles with minimum fuss. It also saves you having to scrub through other massive clips just to find one angle
- Label your clips - this is a big one especially for tournaments or lots of cameras. It's really easy to get lost as to which one is which
- Learn your keyboard shortcuts! There are tons of videos on YouTube that show you these and they save you a massive amount of time! The main ones to learn would be for adding in and out points (generally this is i and o for most programs), cutting/trimming clip at playhead (in Premiere this is CMD+K, I think it's CMD+T in iMovie but I could be wrong), play forward, stop and reverse (usually this is j, k, l in that order but may vary in your program). Essentially look at the operations you perform all the time and find (or set your own) keyboard shortcuts and it makes your life so much easier
Hope that helps. If I think of some more that haven't been covered I'll add them in.
- Totally...using the slate made a big difference. Just make sure you write with big letters so you can see the label on your tiny phone screen easily. — redlinederby
Completely agree with this, I think an unintentional problem with the production quality of the videos that the likes of 3Dbotmaker etc (and this takes nothing away from from the time, investment and effort they put into their videos) is there can be an expectation that all videos should come up to that quality. But for numerous reasons, this can often be easier said than done. Each to their own I say, do what you do and, if, people enjoy it it, they will watch your content and if they don't, they don't. Simple as really.
A lot of it comes down to what you want your channel to achieve, personally, I want to share my hobby with others and have no other goal than that. Some want to make money from their videos, so in their cases, there is a pressure to 'up their game' to draw in extra viewers to make this possible. You should never feel under any pressure to come up to any standards other than those you set yourself and are happy with. Producing videos is very time consuming and it's great you've found a happy medium that works for you.
Great article, I have one question, you use a commercial soundtrack on your videos (She sells sanctuary by The Cult), do you ever get an copyright messages from YT? If not, how do you get round it?
- I have yet to have a copyright request and I've been using The Cult for years. YouTube flags it as real music but that's it. I'm sure it becomes unavailable for ads and money but I'm not trying to make revenue anyway. — redlinederby
- Since YT isn't about money for me (yet), I'm of a mind that says do what you want until they start taking down videos. — redlinederby
- They’re both valid points, I got a copyright claim in the earlier days and panicked that that was me over, removed the video. Like you, I’m not doing it for cash, so may just give it a go and see what happens — Kevblokey
Thank you for this tip. I've built my track and want to race but I don't want to overwhelm myself. Simple is beautiful.
I do a lot of video editing for my career and I'd like to recommend you look at Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve. It is every bit as good as Premiere and it has a FREE version that runs on Mac or Windows. The paid version adds a few pro features and is only a one time $300 purchase. They've never asked for money for upgrades either. Much better than the subscription Adobe products.
Good luck and race on!
- I use DaVinci as well, it's pretty awesome — IndianaDiecastRacing
- Awesome, thanks for the suggestion. I'm gonna check it out — redlinederby
I've recently been using Adobe Premiere Rush for putting together videos and it's okay. It's very much the "for social media" version of Premiere but it has all the core stuff you need to put something together quickly, which is what I was after. It is a subscription app (boo) but it's also only $10/month so all in all, it's pretty cheap.
It's not super-featured as Premiere or anything "pro" level but it is easy to use. I found myself frustrated by Premiere Pro and just gave up because I found it difficult to just put together a few clips and import stuff. The Rush app did what I needed but I'm still looking for something that give me a little more control and a few more tracks to play with.
I have been using Wonder Share and it seems to be ok. I like all of these tips, thank you!! Editing takes all of my time.
Editing is what it is...the show must go on....