What is Video Editing in 2024? What You Need to Know

what is video editing

Key Takeaways:

  • Video Editing Defined: Video editing is the art of selecting, arranging, and modifying video clips to create a video that interesting or fun to watch.
  • Creative Control: Video editing involves making decisions on what content to include, how to present it, and whether to incorporate sound or music clips and visual effects.

In essence, video editing is the process that transforms raw video footage into a polished finished video.

Video editing is a skill that has become increasingly popular in today’s world — every digital content creator must try to master it (or hire someone who has mastered it!).

It allows you to shape raw footage as desired to compose a visually appealing and engaging end product that conveys a message appropriately, entertains, or inspires.

These days, video editing can even be partially outsourced to AI video editing software programs, which is amazing for video content creators! Or, you can use AI video generator programs to help you create the footage as well (such as Synthesia, which will create a digital avatar of a person to talk in your video!)

Our guide will equip you with the foundational knowledge before you delve into the complex and time-consuming process of video editing, so read on!

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What is Video Editing?

infographic defining video editing

Video editing involves altering and arranging video clips to compose a new work. It’s a crucial part of the post-production process. Previously limited to the film industry and done by experts in the field, advancements in technology have made it possible for individuals with minimal video editing skills to produce professional-looking content easily.

The importance of video editing lies in its ability to greatly enhance the quality of your finished product, whether via technical aspects, such as sound mixing and visual effects (VFX), or creative aspects, such as digital storytelling. Understanding the basics of video editing will allow you to bring your vision to life and significantly boost your filmmaking or commercial career.

You need video editing software to edit a video. There’s a multitude available online, and they vary depending on your needs and skill set.

For example, some video editors, such as Adobe Premiere Pro, are robust and intended for professional video production and are often used by movie studios. On the other hand, beginner-friendly software, such as Corel VideoStudio or FlexClip, are much easier to use but have limited features — ideal for video advertisements and YouTube content.

You can also find great software programs for VFX in film, such as Wondershare Filmora or AutoDesk Maya.


Creating a Video Editing Project

The creation of a video editing project depends on the used video editing software. However, generally, these are the steps you’ll be following.

1 – Choose an Appropriate Software

Before getting started, it’s best to pick a video editing software you’re comfortable with and can use effectively. You should also consider your workstation specifications, budget, and needs.

Film editing will require sophisticated video editors, which are very expensive. Alternatively, basic, inexpensive software is more user-friendly but can be limited feature-wise. We’ll look at a few examples later to give you a general idea of what to expect.

Note that video editing is computer-intensive. Rendering, specifically, can take anywhere from minutes to several hours, depending on your project’s length and complexity. So before buying a video editor, ensure that your computer, laptop, or video editing tablet meets its minimum requirements.

2 – Plan and Prepare

The first step to creating a video project is clarifying the end goal, as it’ll determine the video story and necessary material and footage you’ll gather and record. This will also help you determine the target audience and prepare appropriate video content.

Drafting a script will guide you through the editing process. It’ll give you an idea of what shots to record, edits to make, and elements to incorporate, including transitions, sound effects, and edited images. It’s best to plan your entire video from the start to minimize potential frustration and creative block.

These days, you can use an AI script generator to help you create a great script quickly and easily!

3 – Import Material

Once you’ve gathered the footage and material you’ll use in your project, the next step is to import them into your video editing software.

Most video editing software will have you press a button for a drop-down menu to expand and reveal the import function. You can then browse your designated footage storage folder and transfer the material to your software.

Note that if you capture footage with a video camera, you’ll most likely need an SD card reader to transfer your footage, which may not be readily available.

We recommend you separate your material by type for easier access and better organization. For example, set folders for audio, video, music, etc.

4 – Assemble

The goal of assemble editing is to produce a rough cut of your video. Paste your footage into the editor’s timeline in the desired sequence. This sequence will include video footage only. You’re yet to add extra elements.

Assemble editing allows you to determine the rough plan of your video and the flow of events. Additionally, by having a complete yet rough video on screen, you can better decide what edits you need to make.

5 – Fine-Tune

After assembling your video, the next step is to fine-tune it. This process involves cropping, cutting, adding transitions and images, and stitching different scenes together to bring your vision to life.

By the time you finish fine-tuning, you should have a video that only needs sounds and color corrections before being shared with your audience. Sometimes, color correction may not be necessary unless you’re a perfectionist or work in the film industry.

Fine-tuning is limited by your video editing skills and the features your video editor offers. It’s a complex subject that requires intensive learning to master.

If you don’t have the time to spare, I recommend you hire a professional video editor to edit for you — many YouTube creators choose that path.

man using computer

6 – Edit Sound

Sound editing is an important step and one of the final steps in video production. Editing audio involves adding appropriate sound effects and music to your video’s scenes, adjusting volume levels, removing unwanted background noise, and synchronizing audio with the video’s visual elements.

Its goal is to enhance the overall audio and form an immersive experience for the viewer. It makes the difference between amateur and expert video production.

After sound editing, you should master the video’s audio to balance the overall mix and produce a polished, consistent sound throughout your final product. The next step is to either review your final result or take time to do some color corrections.

Once again, most editors rely on experts to edit their video’s sound. It’s a process that requires intensive knowledge (and creativity, sometimes!). We recommend hiring a professional editor if you don’t have time to spare.

7 – Correct Colors

graphic defining color grading

This is an optional step. Color correction is available in specialized color grading software, such as Premiere Pro, and is a crucial step during the post-production of movies. As such, a beginner-friendly video editor may not include options for color correcting.

Color correction involves altering the contrast, gamma, hue, tones, highlights, etc., of your video scenes to achieve a distinct look, enhance image quality, or develop a consistent appearance throughout your shots.

For YouTubers, it gives them the ability to smooth out any discrepancies in color caused by different weather conditions or recording sessions. For filmmakers, it allows them to create a distinct tone that defines their film. For example, colder tones are often seen in movies tackling isolation or sadness.

8 – Review

Watch your video after editing it to verify its quality and ensure you haven’t missed anything. Reviewing your video will allow you to view it from a different perspective, judge it accordingly, and make any necessary edits.

Additionally, showing your final product to a trusted friend or family member can be a great way to receive feedback, as extra pairs of eyes can be helpful.

Video Editing Techniques

Let’s take a look at some video editing techniques.

  • Cutting: This refers to cropping, trimming, or splicing parts of your clips to achieve a desired sequence of events. It allows you to remove unwanted scenes, too. Crop your clips early to avoid de-synchronizing the rest of your edits later.
  • Transitions: It refers to adding visual effects between clips to form seamless transitions from one scene to another.
  • Color Correction: It involves experimenting with brightness, hue, contrast, and the like to achieve a desired or balanced look.
  • Sound Editing: It refers to adding music and sound effects, adjusting volume levels, and applying effects to achieve a desired sound and produce an immersive experience for the viewer.
  • Adding Text: The process of adding written text over your clips to inform, explain, or serve as subtitles or transition markers.
  • Keyframing: It refers to the process of precisely adjusting visual effects using keyframes.

There are countless editing techniques, but these are the most common ones. There are sophisticated techniques available, such as using a green screen and computer-generated images (CGI), that are highly complex and require expensive software and experience in the field.

man in black shirt standing near black video camera

Exporting Videos

The final step of video editing is exporting your finished product. The steps you’ll have to take will differ depending on your video editor. Generally, you’ll have to click the “File” tab for a drop-down menu to reveal the export function.

While exporting your video, there are a few settings you can experiment with, including format, resolution, bitrate, video codec, aspect ratio, frame rate, and audio format. Modify the settings as desired and then pick a destination folder.

Note that once you click “Export,” your video will have to render. The time it takes to render a video will vary depending on your computer specifications and video complexity.

What is AI-Assisted Video Editing?

The feasibility of using artificial intelligence for video editing dates back to the 2010s. However, thanks to the advancements in AI technology seen in the past couple of years, AI-assisted video editing has become popular and much more accessible to common video editors.

To better understand it, AI-assisted video editing is the process of using artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to streamline some aspects of the video editing process. AI helps you save time and effort by eliminating the repetitiveness encountered in post-production. Advanced AI tools can also offer sophisticated video editing capabilities.

AI video editing is ideal for individuals who can’t effectively edit videos due to time constraints, minimal editing knowledge, or have no interest in investing in expensive specialized software they’ll rarely use.

However, note that AI video editing is still considered to be in its infancy. Further advancements will permit users to generate entire videos through written prompts, but, as it stands right now, AI video editing is best at streamlining simple video editing tasks and generating basic videos.

If possible, we recommend you train your video editing skills to have control over your post-production process. An expert video editor can experiment with many aspects of their video and employ approaches such as green screen, special effects, and cinematography techniques.

an AI robot working at a computer

Some examples of AI video editing software include:

  • Pictory: It allows you to create videos from written content and is ideal for bloggers looking to create engaging content to share on their blog or share on social media.
  • Synthesia: It allows you to generate unique, lip-synced videos using cutting-edge AI technology and turn your messaging into a visual masterpiece (with a “talking head” video). It’s ideal for explainers, social media posts, and eLearning content.

What Tools Do Video Editors Use?

When it comes to video editing, there are numerous options available online that cater to a variety of needs. It’s best to choose a video editor that meets your needs and budget and that you feel comfortable using. Here are the most used ones:

1 – Adobe Premier Pro

Best For Professional Video Editors
Adobe Premiere Pro
From $22.99/month (if you pay yearly)

Adobe Premiere Pro is a fantastic video and film editing program for professionals. It's got a big learning curve, but it's a very popular program and it's very powerful - so it's worth the time to learn!

Try Premiere Pro for Free!
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Developed by Adobe Systems, Adobe Premiere Pro is a high-end video editing software. It’s used in many industries, notably the film industry, thanks to its professional-grade features. Some key features include motion graphics, multi-camera editing, and color correction.

Adobe Premiere Pro is available via subscription on Adobe’s official website. It can be used on both Windows and Mac computers.

Adobe Premier Pro

It’s best for experts in the industry looking to produce high-quality videos or professional filmmakers.

2 – Final Cut Pro

Final Cut Pro

Final Cut Pro is a Mac-exclusive video editor developed by Apple. It’s widely recognized for its advanced features and is used in many industries, including television, content creation, and broadcast news.

Some of Final Pro’s best features include integration with the Apple ecosystem, magnetic timeline, color grading, cinematic mode, and multi-cam editing. It’s also highly optimized and offers lightning-fast speeds on Apple’s Silicon lineup.

Final Cut Pro is ideal for Mac users looking for an alternative to Premiere Pro. Its features are aimed at the production of high-end content and films.

3 – Wondershare Filmora

Best AI Video Editing On a Budget
Filmora Wondershare Filmora Wondershare
One-Time Payment of $79.99 (or pay $49.99/year or $29.99/quarter)

Filmora Wondershare is a great AI video editing program if you are on a tight budget, or if you like the idea of a one-time payment (rather than a subscription cost each month). It's got tons of features (like background removal, tons of video templates and an AI text-to-video converter), and you can make great videos with it!

It even includes interesting new features such as an AI music generator and an AI YouTube thumbnail generator! Wondershare also has a free trial offer, so you can download the software and try it out before you commit to buying it.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Wondershare Filmora is a consumer-grade video editor developed by Wondershare. It’s one of the easiest video editors to use and caters to amateurs looking for beginner-friendly software to make basic edits.

Filmora’s features are limited, courtesy of being designed for beginners, and include basic tools, text and graphic overlays, and a friendly user interface. A free trial is available, and more advanced features can be unlocked through a paid subscription.

Wondershare Filmora

4 – Lumen5

Best Premium AI Video Software
Lumen5 Lumen5
$29.99 to $199/month

Lumen5 is a premium video editing and generation software that uses artificial intelligence to help you edit and create your videos.

It's best for businesses and prolific video content creators who want lots of control of their videos.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Lumen5 is an online video editor. It allows beginner video editors to easily and efficiently create engaging video content ideal for marketing purposes and social media. Lumen5 offers a highly intuitive experience thanks to its drag-and-drop feature, the huge library of audio samples, templates, and assets, and seamless text and media overlays.

The free plan is ideal for individuals looking to quickly edit their videos without investing in expensive software. You’ll also unlock a range of features through the available paid plans.


Lumen5 is best for users looking to quickly and efficiently create video content for their social media or marketing campaigns without investing in expensive software and learning video editing in-depth.

Final Thoughts

Video editing is the complex process of manipulating your raw material with the help of a video editor to create an engaging end product for use in social media, marketing campaigns, television broadcasts, or cinema.

It’s a popular and essential aspect of today’s highly-digitalized world, and we recommend that every digital content creator learn it!

What Is Video Editing

Common Questions (FAQs)

What are the basics of video editing?

The basics of video editing include understanding its possibilities, the software and tools used, and the process of editing a video. Editing involves importing and organizing raw material, cutting and trimming it, adding transitions, text, music, and effects, editing sound, and then exporting it to share with your audience.

What is the explanation of a video editor?

A video editor is any software that allows you to manipulate your raw footage to create a video that conveys a desired message, inspires, informs, or entertains.

What is editing a video called?

Editing a video is just called “editing.” Other names for it are film editing or video post-production. It’s when you take your video clips and put them together to make a great video that tells a story or gets a message across.

Interested in filmmaking and video creation? Check out these other articles:

5+ Best Film Production Software Tools (Reviewed)

Short Film Ideas: 9 Easy Ways to Generate Ideas

5+ Best Voice Over Software Tools: Reviewed

What Is a Jump Cut? 7 Ways to Use Jump Cuts When Editing

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