Video Editing

The Ultimate Guide to Vlog Editing for Beginners

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The thought of spending a whole day turning hours of raw footage into a bite-sized vlog rarely excited anybody. What more if you’re new to editing software?

On the other hand, the immense fulfillment from seeing your story played out in a well-made video is extraordinary. That’s why any vlogger would benefit from mastering the process of editing—especially beginners. And just for you, we laid out the process together with instructions on how to edit your video using Clipchamp Create. With our in-browser video editor, the editing process doesn’t have to be a long, arduous chore. We will cover:

  1. Content Essentials

      • Story

      • Plan of Action

      • Format

  2. How To Edit Your Vlog Using Clipchamp Create

  3. Vlog Inspiration

1. Content Essentials

Before we jump into the editing process, we must make sure our vlog has the essential elements so post-production is as hassle-free as possible. Vloggers are free to do anything with their videos—that’s the beauty of self-publishing—but there are a number of tried-and-true elements that make a video really stand out:

• Story

If you haven’t established what is going to be featured in your vlog before you start vlogging, the video is most likely to come out muddled, or you’re going to spend three times as much work editing your vlog. While there may be exciting things waiting to happen at any corner, hitting record and waiting for them to happen within the frame of your lens is a fool’s errand.

While it’s not impossible to film something interesting, planned content with a beginning, middle, and end generally results in a more successful vlog. You’d need to start with an idea and a general sense of how a story will unfold from it. Vlogs typically begin with an outright statement of an interesting premise to hook viewers in. For example, this vlog by Johnny Harris starts with the question, “Why is everyone going to Iceland?” and then proceeds to answer it with a story.

•  Plan of action

Starting a plan is simple: Grab a pen and paper or pull up notes in your smartphone. Write down your story idea and ask yourself: How can I tell this story visually? A rough vlog outline will have the key points you want to explore and the visuals you want to show with it. A more defined plan would be closer to a script. 

Your plan should give you a strong handle on what you need to shoot, and in what order. Ideally, you’re shooting your video in chronological order so that when you transfer it to your editing timeline, it doesn’t have to be rearranged after upload. After you’ve done a few blogs, you’ll likely end up with a planning template but don’t be afraid to change it up throughout the day or the week.

Don’t be afraid to shy away from shooting anything outside your plan. For example, you might want to use your downtime for shooting B-roll footage. B-roll videos are usually transitions or fillers—like landscape shots—that don’t fit in with the “A-roll” or the main video. They’re is essentially supplemental shots for when you cut away from the main video.


2. How To Edit A Vlog Using Clipchamp Create

Once you’ve shot footage based on your plan, it’s time to edit. Here’s a step-by-step tutorial on how to edit using Clipchamp Create:

Step 1: Sign up or log in to Clipchamp

Go to the Clipchamp home page and click on the login or sign up button in the top right. Enter your details on the next screen.


Step 2: Select widescreen

Choose the dimensions of the video you would like to create. YouTube videos are always widescreen (16:9).


Step 3: Add video files

Upload all your video footage to your editor by clicking “Add Media” and select all the files you would like to add. Don’t worry if you select more than what you need, the media library allows you to delete unwanted footage.


Step 4: Organize the clips on your timeline

Ideally, your clips are chronologically arranged based on the plan you made! Drag and drop the clips onto your timeline and hit play. This is where you’ll find the gems and duds—delete clips that are either unsatisfactory or don’t fit your storyline. This part requires ruthlessness—don’t get attached to clips that are no longer needed in your vlog.


Step 5: Find a hook

One of the clips in your timeline can be a hook. A hook is an intriguing 10-15 second piece of footage that will pique your viewers interest and make them want to keep watching. The hook will typically be at the start of the vlog and it can be either a sentence, an action or a location. In the following video, Max Joseph uses a simple line as his hook: “Bookstores drive me crazy.”

Find something that will set up your video by either showing something interesting, something controversial, or something that builds suspense. Below is another hook example from Max Joseph—in it he shows a scene with a lot of people and equipment and something is just about to happen, but then cuts off before anything does.

You’re likely going to need some text in your vlog to support the visuals. It can be a note on the location, captions, or funny side-comments. Adding text can be helpful if the audio is not very clear, or if a different language is used by a speaker. To do so, click “Text” on the side menu bar and select a preset that you can customize. You can also add your YouTube logo or emblem at the intro or outro of your vlog. This showcases your brand and channel to viewers.


Step 7: Add background music

Background music is an invisible mood generator. If you have any background music that will set the mood for your video, add it to your vlog (as long as you have rights to the music). If you don’t have any music on hand, fret not. On the left-hand menu, click “Stock” then “Audio”, and choose whatever fits. Of course, you can also upload your own audio file. There are plenty of online sources for royalty-free music.

Once the audio is in your library, drag and drop the tune onto the time-line under the video clips. Make sure the volume is soft enough so you can still hear the subjects speaking clearly. You can adjust the volume in “Track Volume” and adjust the “Fade in and Fade out” settings.


Step 8: Export your vlog

Once you’re happy with your vlog, click “Export Video” and choose your preferred exporting size. The recommended export size for YouTube videos is 1080p, the largest exporting size. Once the video has finished exporting, you can rename and save your file on your computer. Now you’re ready to post to YouTube.


3. Vlog Inspiration

Each YouTuber is unique. They use different editing techniques, software, and are inspired by a range of things. So what do they all have in common? The ingredients. Even though these three vlogs below may look completely different, they all share the same core ingredients of video storytelling: speaking portions, music, sound effects, transitions, a clear story and vision.

1. Jesse Wellens

Jesse Wellens engages over 10.5 million subscribers on his YouTube channel. The former PrankvsPrank superstar publishes vlogs, stunts, and awareness videos—one of his most recent videos, Haircuts For The Homeless – A Haircut Can Change A Life, generated over 600,000 views in the past 3 months and imparts a meaningful message.

With the video, Wellens seeks to educate and spread awareness on kindness and generosity, while advocating for the wellbeing of the homeless folks in Los Angeles. This particular video starts with a hook before going on to build context about the topic, and then launching into the main story.

2. Reece Hawkins

Local Gold Coast fashion designer and Instagram sensation, Reece Hawkins re-launched his YouTube channel in 2019. In a recent upload, Life Is Better Than It’s Ever Been with his girlfriend London Shay Goheen, Hawkins shows off his new puppy, beach house and everyday life. What’s remarkable about Hawkins’ videos is how he turns everyday scenes into vibrant videos that makes viewers want to see more. His vlog has many speaking parts with comprehensive context on what’s happening in any given situation.

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