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No One Watches Unedited Video – Deal With It!

How to torture your family and friends? Show them your video without editing it. Maybe Grammie will want to watch Junior miss his face with the spoon through an entire bowl of oatmeal, but she’s an exception. No one wants to watch Dave miss 11 tricks on his skateboard before he finally lands one. Want a video to go viral on YouTube? Basic editing can make all the difference.

A rule of thumb: Only 5-10% of what’s in your camera should show up in your edited movie. If you shoot an hour, expect to use 3-5 minutes. And that assumes you know at least a little bit about what you’re doing. When you shoot, you should be experimental. Try the same shot from different distances, angles, or lighting. Then keep the one that works.

You don’t need to be a genius to master basic editing functions on your computer. If you’re just starting out, use the editor that came with your computer (e.g., iMove or Windows Movie Maker). Learn these five steps, in this order:

1. Sequence. Learn how to order your clips in the editor. Start with only those clips that really add something. Sequence them so that there is a beginning, a middle, and an end. Maybe start with an attention grabber. End with something that leaves a feeling you want to convey.

2. Trim. For each clip, cut away the parts that are redundant, uninteresting, out of focus, or simply don’t really add anything to your story.

3. Transitions. Moving from one clip to the next is called a ‘transition.’ Your editing software may have many fancy transitions, with checkerboards, blinds, expanding circles, etc., but 90% of your transitions should be straight cuts, fades, or dissolves. Use anything else very sparingly, and for a purpose. Think about how to move from one scene to another without jarring or confusing your viewer.

4. Audio levels. Fade in, fade out, and maintain a consistent level from one clip to the next.

5. Titles and Credits. This is usually just text that appears at the beginning or end of your movie, to remind you about when, where, and who. Unless your planning to submit to the Sundance Festival, keep it simple.

Think of your video clips as building blocks. Build an appealing, efficient structure with them. If you take the time to do this, your friends and family will truly enjoy your creations, you will have a craft that you will enjoy honing, and your camcorder won’t go into a drawer with other things that you don’t know what to do with.

For tips, articles, videos, DVD’s, tutorials, discussion, and resource links about Flip camcorders, accessories, and software, try You won’t find a more comprehensive resource.

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