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How To Edit YouTube Videos

Oct 26, 2023• Proven solutions

YouTube videos have a certain look and feel that many viewers have come to expect and enjoy. Much of the aesthetics of YouTube videos developed as a result of the biggest YouTubers having to quickly and efficiently edit videos together on a daily basis. Below is our list of some of the most common video editing techniques used by famous YouTubers.    

Table of Contents: Ultimate Guide to YouTube Video Editing















Part 1: Introduction

1. Start Big

“I’m doing something really exciting… within the first ten seconds of this video. That way you stay here.” – Liza Koshy (How To Be A YouTuber 101!! | Lizzza)

In the same way that a teaser or trailer builds anticipation for a full film, many YouTubers start with a preview of the most high-energy part of their video.

In Jake Paul’s prank vlog (above), Jake shows his brother, Logan, chasing and beating him up as Jake screams for help at the top of his lungs. The already high-energy scene is even more intensified by the epic music playing in the background. This seven-second clip, which resurfaces halfway through the video, is enough to entice many viewers to continue watching. It very effectively leaves enough room for viewers to wonder, “How did Logan’s room actually look in the end?” “What was Logan’s initial reaction before he started chasing Jake?” By creating curiosity gaps like these, you can incentivize your viewers to close these gaps by watching longer.

2. Opening Title Introduction

Just as TV episodes begin with opening credits and theme music, quite similarly, some YouTubers start their YouTube videos with an intro.

Greg from “How To Drink” has an effective twenty-second intro (above). In this video, he shows you who he is and what his videos are generally about. Since these two things don’t change so much for him from video to video, he can start many of his videos off with this same intro.

Below is a video tutorial about how to add text and titles to video in Filmora, hope that helps you in creating your own YouTube video texts and titles.

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For more information on intros, check out our post on How to Make a YouTube Intro?

Part 2: Cuts

1. Jump Cut

A jump cut is a simple and straightforward type of video editing cutting technique that “jumps” from one section of a clip to a later section of a clip, cutting out whatever happened in the middle. Some of the middle parts you might want to remove may include mistakes, long silent pauses, and filler words (umm, like, etc.).

Although the use of jump cuts to remove these parts had been discouraged for a long time in the film world, its extensive use by so many YouTubers has established it as its own style that many viewers have come to expect and enjoy. The jumpiness that comes from jump cuts can be effective in keeping your audience’s attention in a shock-inducing manner.

Jump cuts can also be used to show a passage of time in a creative way or make objects magically appear on-screen.

Zack King (above) makes a toy taxi magically appear in his hands using this video editing technique. Filmora allows you to do jump cut easily, you can watch the tutorial below and learn more jump cut tips and tricks.

2. Associative Cut

Not everyone in your audience may recognize the cultural or historical references you make in your videos. It can, therefore, be helpful (and also quite enjoyable) to show the original clip of the reference you are making.

In the same vlog that Jake Paul gets chased down by his brother (above), twenty-eight seconds into the video, Jake expresses his desire to go fast in his car. Right after he says “I want to go fast,” Jake cuts into a scene from the movie Talladega Nights. In that scene, Ricky Bobby, Will Ferrell’s character, also says that he wants to go fast.

Talladega Nights

Part 3: Transform

1. Zoom

Many YouTubers digitally adjust the zoom of their talking head shots in order to create additional emphasis or suspense. When zoom is used very slowly and smoothly, this technique can be effective in building up suspense and drawing a viewer deeper into the speaker’s message. When a drastic zoom is used suddenly, it can be effective in emphasizing a particular spoken line.

RiceGum is one YouTuber who uses zoom video editing effects extensively in his talking head videos. Want to pan and zoom your video footage too? Check our guide to getting Ken Burns Effect on Videos .

2. Camera Shake

Camera shake is a video effect that makes the original clip appear like it was filmed during a violent earthquake. Many YouTubers use this effect to emphasize their voice when they are talking about something erratic or out of control.

3. Color/Level Adjustment

A lot of comedy YouTubers change the color and levels of their videos in order to emphasize different moods. One common thing YouTubers do when they talk about anything slightly sad is to gradually fade out the colors in their talking head shots. In a cheesy way, the black and white look can emphasize a feeling of emptiness. For his “sad” reactions, PewDiePie often jump cuts into a black and white, slowed down clip of his sad face while playing some sad music in the background. To emphasize a darker message, some YouTubers increase the amount of shadows in their video. In the video below, while his daughter is delivering a darker message from 0:32 to 0:50, La Guardia Cross gradually adds more shadows around his daughter’s face through what appears to be a vignette effect.

Part 4: Transitions

1. Wipe

Many YouTubers transition from one scene into the next using a wipe transition. In a wipe transition, the next clip that you want to transition into slides into the frame horizontally or vertically until it completely covers the first clip. For additional wiping effect, many YouTubers also use a fast, high pitched “woosh” sound effect with this transition.

2. Zoom

The zoom transition is quite similar to the wipe transition, except it uses a zoom effect. Many of the top YouTubers combine this transition with a lower-pitched “woosh” sound effect.

Part 5: Visual Elements

In other genres of film, the only appropriate visual elements filmmakers can tastefully add to their footage seem to be clean looking, seamlessly integrated text and motion graphics. YouTube, on the other hand, is another world with much more room to get outrageous. Many of the top YouTubers add a lot of visual elements (emojis, images, filters, explosions) to their videos to emphasize their jokes, play-on-words, historical or cultural references, and mood.

1. Call-To-Action Visuals

Whether they’re prompting you to subscribe, like, comment, or check out their purchasable merchandise, many YouTubers include visuals to strengthen their calls-to-action.

Part 6: Time Manipulation

1. Timelapse

“The staple of any Casey Neistat vlog is the timelapse, which he uses both to further the narrative or set the time of day.” -@omgurheadsgone

A lot of cameras now come with a timelapse/hyperlapse function, requiring no further video editing. To achieve the kind of timelapses that Casey Neistat makes, though, you’ll have to film real-time footage and then manipulate the speed of it in post. Since sped up ambient sound is hardly ever pleasing to the ear, a lot of YouTubers replace the audio with music that enhances the mood of the timelapse.

2. Slow Motion

Slowing down footage is another way YouTubers like to manipulate the passage of time. This technique can draw the audience’s attention into the intricacies of a movement captured on film. But if you stretch your video clip digitally in order to achieve this look, your video may not look so smooth – your software will need to create extra frames of footage based on your existing footage. The solution around this problem is to make sure to record your video at a very high frame rate.

Slow Motion 

Part 7: Audio

1. Censor

The traditional practice for censoring out explicit language in television has been to replace profanity with a high pitched “bleep” sound effect. YouTubers, however, have popularized the use of animal sound effects to censor out explicit language. Epic Meal Time frequently uses the “caw” of a crow for this purpose.

2. Sound Effects

Whether it is pouring water into a cup or drinking a glass of water, adding louder sound effects can enhance your viewer’s experience of the action that is taking place on camera.

3. Background Music

Music is very effective in helping people feel all kinds of emotions. It is no wonder so many of the top YouTubers make gratuitous use of music in their videos. Some even add background music to every single clip of their entire YouTube video and only drop the music when the following technique (below) is used.   

4. Muting Background Music

A lot of YouTubers who talk over background music abruptly mute the music when they want their audience to focus their attention on whatever it is that they have to say at that very moment. Isolating one’s speech in this way can be a very effective way to emphasize something serious or emphasize a punchline to a joke.

5. Voice-Over

Adding additional recorded verbal commentary is another technique used by many of the top YouTubers. This technique can be helpful when the visuals of your footage do not sufficiently communicate the full message you want to get across to your audience.

6. Compressor

A lot of video editing software programs give you the option to add compression to your video’s audio. Compression lessens the dynamic range between the softest and loudest parts of your audio. This technique can help your speech sound more uniform in volume.

 How to edit YouTube video

For those who want to make their YouTube videos better, I recommend Wondershare Filmora for editing YouTube videos. Filmora video editor allows you to create and edit a YouTube video easily with plentiful templates and effects pre-programmed.

Download Filmora9 Win Version Download Filmora9 Mac Version

author avatar
Richard Bennett
Richard Bennett is a writer and a lover of all things video.
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