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12 Steps to Better Video Editing

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May 21, 2024• Proven solutions

Hi, I'm delighted to join you on Wondershare to help you learn how to use Apple Final Cut Pro X video editing software.

A quick word on myself. My name is Larry Jordan, and I've been using, writing about and training on Final Cut Pro for more than 10 years. I travel the world teaching editors how to tell stories in pictures. And I can help you master this software so you can tell stories yourself.

And that’s the keyword: story-telling. Video editing is part technology and part story-telling. Increasingly, people are spending more time watching videos than they are reading. This means that if you want to reach your family, friends, or the world at large, you can reach more people faster with a video than with anything you write.

That’s where I can help. The best way to think about video editing is that it is a process - a flow - from beginning to end. When you follow the flow, your story flows naturally from your imagination to the screen. When you fight the flow, you spend more time fixing problems than you do editing.

For me, this flow has twelve steps:

1. Plan

I know, this doesn't sound like a lot of fun. But, when you take a trip, if you don’t plan where you are going, how will you know when you arrive? Think about what you want to do and how you want to do it, first. THEN, start editing.

2. Shoot your project

This is called "production", and is the most obvious part of story-telling with actors, director, and all the crew running around and looking busy. Don’t be surprised to discover that you don’t have enough time to shoot everything. There is NEVER enough time. Sigh… we just need to get used to that.

3. Import your media

This moves the media from the camera into your editing system. Which, for us, means Final Cut Pro X.

4. Organize your media

Decide how you want it named, what shots you want to keep and which to get rid of. You never use everything you shoot.

5. Edit your story

This is the process of building shots into a “project” so that when you want them in order, your story emerges.

6. Trim your story

This is the process of adjusting where two clips touch so that the transition from one shot to the next is as smooth and invisible as possible.

7. Add transitions

There are three transition categories: cuts, dissolves and wipes. Each creates a different emotion and each is used for different things. Add transitions when trimming is complete.

8. Add titles

Titles are used to tell your audience something that they can’t get any other way; for example, the name of a person speaking.

9. Add effects

Effects are the fun part, but adding effects when the story isn't complete is a waste of time. Also, plan to spend FAR more time working on effects than you ever expect. Because effects take time to look perfect.

10. Mix your audio

The best way to improve the quality of your picture is to improve your sound. Final Cut has lots of great audio tools.

11. Give your project a "look"

Fix color problems or create emotional looks as the last step before output.

12. Output your Project

When everything is done, output your project and save all your media in case you ever need to re-edit it.

It sounds like a lot of steps, which is why getting organized is so important. But, when you go with the flow, you’ll be amazed as how fast you can create power stories that other people want to watch.

Between the three of us - you, me and Wondershare - we can help you tell some amazing stories.

This article is written by Larry Jordan, who is a member of the Directors Guild of America, the Producers Guild of America and has written thousands of articles and eight books on video editing. Visit his website at:

This is a basic tutorial about Apple Final Cut Pro X, professional video editing software. However, if video editing is new to you, consider Wondershare Filmora for Mac. This is a powerful but easy-to-use tool for users just starting out. Download the free trial version below.

Download Win Version Download Mac Version

author avatar
Liza Brown
Liza Brown is a writer and a lover of all things video.
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