14 Most Common Video Editing Mistakes to Avoid

Whether you are editing a video for social media or for a commercial project, don’t make these video editing mistakes, ever.

With so much going on in the online video world, we see a lot of demand for video editing services. A lot of social media influencers or rising Tiktok stars move out of the native in-app editors and try more professional video editing software. Marketers and graphic designers also work on developing video editing skills. But the final result is not always optimal. Why that?

Video editing is a process with its own specs and requirements. It is not only about cutting out and stitching footage together. You include graphics, audio, text, and animated elements to your video project . Then you create a visual story by assembling all the assets into one final edit.

When you get on your first video edits, you may make some common mistakes. It is all fine as learning from mistakes is useful. Knowing about what mistakes you will probably make and trying to avoid them is a better strategy to move along with your video edits faster and be proud of the final result. So, avoid these below 14 video editing mistakes.

No vision and no planning

Before jumping into a new edit, spend several minutes thinking about what you want your final video to look like. Create a vision for your video. Answers to these questions will help:

  • Who is this video for?
  • Why are you creating this video? What’s its point?
  • What creative assets will you need? Font, animated elements, audio?
  • Decide the beginning, middle, and end of your video.
  • Write these all down as bullet points and refer to this note during your edit.

The time you spend outlining your plan will help save time. Before you start your edit, you know that you will do some prep work, too. Say, after you are done thinking about your project, you figure that you would need 1-2 music tracks or several sound effects. So, start with audio search before opening your video editor.

Here are some resources to get free assets for your videos:

Poor asset organization

After you download all the assets, you need to organize your elements in folders. When you import your raw media elements in your video editing software, you should organize the elements in folders and sub-folders, too. Organize them by video clips, audio, SFX, graphic elements. A good asset organization will save you tons of time when you need to locate each asset during your edit.

Imagine if you have to pass the project to a different video editor. Will they be able to locate the assets and work with your sequence? Maintain the same logical organizational system for your backups. Copy all downloads, static visuals, imported files to an external drive. Keep the same file system on the external drive.

Even if you don’t give your projects to other video editors, save yourself some time when you need to revisit the project in a couple of weeks. It is so frustrating to open a project with broken or non-existent source paths.

Poor timeline management

Timeline in the video editing software is a sacred place. Keeping your timeline well organized makes it easy to find clips and maintain the sequences clean. Keep things in good order by following this simple rule: Name your tracks and keep each component on its specific track.

No autosave

Video editing software tends to crash when the edit has too many elements or when your machine does not have enough computing power. So you should make sure your Autosave preference is set up. The rule of thumb is to set it to a regular autosaving interval, like 5 minutes.

Most video editor apps don’t have autosave as a default setting or their default autosave is set to 15-20 minutes, which is too far apart. Our recommendation is to check on the autosave setting before starting an editing project.

Poor sound mixing

Audio, which includes vocals, music, or sound effects, represents indispensable elements in any video production. While music sets the mood and the pace for your video, voice communicates information. Don’t let the background music overpower the voice. Your music can get higher volumes during pauses or between the vocals.

Matching the beats to the pace of your video is also important. Slow-motion scenes may not need high-octane sounds to play in the background.

Out-of-sync audio

While working with the video elements in the timeline, you sometimes move your footage around, which may shift your audio out of sync with the video. It will become a major distraction for the viewer later if not fixed. To avoid such situations, you should bump your clips up and down a couple of frames to get the words and lips back into sync.

Overused fonts

Adding text to your video can bring it to the next level. It can also ruin your video if not tackled with care. Here are some don’ts:

  • Don’t use several different fonts in a scene.
  • Don’t make the size of the font too large or too small.
  • Don’t have a low contrast of text and background.

Here are also some best practices when you work with text.

  • Be careful with hot colors: red. orange, pink. They are too aggressive for our eyes and are difficult to read on the screen. Drop a shadow or add an outline to letters if your need to use these colors.
  • Keep the text long enough for the viewer to read it through comfortably.
  • Think about video controls if your video is for online consumption. Don’t use text in the areas where the active controls will show up.
  • Make sure your text will fit on the screen. Think about where the video will be distributed and what aspect ratios it will be exported in. Check out this guide about video formats for Youtube, Facebook, Tiktok, Twitter.

Overused effects

Effects and fancy transitions are distractions when they are repetitive or too frequent. Less is always better than more. Keep the edit simple and use effects sparingly (only when you need them badly).

Jump cuts

You know you have a jump cut when a before and an after shots of a video meet each other. The viewer will see “jumps”: people or objects seem to have jumped into a different position. Here is a perfect example of how jump cuts can occur.

In the example above, the jump cut was used for artistic purposes to jam a long period of wait time (50 minutes to be precise) into a couple of seconds. But such cuts may be overwhelming for the viewer if you use them in a regular video.

How would you deal with jump cuts? Use insert shots or, the so-called, cutaway shots. The cutaway insert will show your viewer that the scenes are separated. Here are some good examples of cutaway shots and what they can communicate to your viewer.

Check free stock footage on Stock Video Secrets – they have a lot of short video clips (free!) to use as insert shots.

Incomplete transitions

Transitions are those mini effects (fade-ins or fade-outs) that are applied between two video clips. Sometimes their duration differs: either too short or too long. That’s what I call “incomplete” transition. Making sure the transitions come in naturally and are not distracting is an important part of a good edit.

Not adjusting video file types

Your footage may come in different shapes and forms (aka, file sizes, aspect ratios, resolutions). It’s necessary to adjust those all before you start your edit. See this mini tutorial from Pond5 about the basic steps you’d need to take.

Improper video pacing

Bad video pacing happens when the lengths of the shots vary. The intent is usually good – the video editor wants to relay her or his emotion to the viewer. Fast pace is about excitement, slow pace is about relaxation. So finding a good rhythm to the video is something you’d want to do. It will need to re-watch your shots in edit change the length of your shots if needed.

Being too greedy

If you’ve shot the footage and are about to start your own editing, you may want to include everything in your project. After all, you know how long it took you to set it all up and get that footage.

During the post-product stage, when you edit, you might see that those beautiful scenes are out of sync with your vision. Don’t do everything possible to squeeze the footage in the edit no matter what. Sometimes, you need to sacrifice some good shots to preserve the good flow of your video.

Not taking a pause

Video editing is a long process. You may be stuck in front of your screen for hours. It’s bad for both your health and the final result. You need to take a pause from your edit and return to it a little later. This will allow to have a fresh look at your work and make changes if needed.

Even if these common video mistakes can be attributed to beginning video editors, we see these errors with video editors who provide video editing services for a fee. This list is a good refresher for them, too.

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