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5 Film Editing Techniques for Digital Video Editors

Video editors take basic cinematography and light it up with the right filters, cuts, and embellishments. Certainly, their work is cut out for them. Just think of how much we love making edits to the still shots of life.

To a large degree, the bar is raised when working with motion pictures. So, if you’re looking to learn the basics of film editing techniques, we have five here to help you get started. Let’s light up the reel and start the action.


1. Cut to the Chase

A cut is a visual transition that stops one scene and seamlessly begins another. This requires continual editing so you don’t disrupt the movement of the scenes. Cuts are every editor’s best friend; they’re the thread to your needle and one of the best techniques to master first. 

The timing of your cuts is invaluable. For example, a long slow fadeaway will signal a certain emotion, e.g., desolation, sorrow, fatigue, or a disappearance. Meanwhile, a series of rapid cuts can signal mounting tension or action. Whether you’re a master or a newbie, learning how to properly cut video will be the finest feather in your cap. 

2. Practice Your Shot Reverse Shots

Shot reverse shots extend important scenes. This is the type of editing where the woman walks into her boyfriend’s apartment to break up with him and you want to extend the sadness of it all. 

What you’ll do is take the shot of her reaching for the door handle and walking in and edit it together with the reverse shot of her shutting the door behind her. Now, you’ve stitched a simple scene together but elongated the moment everyone’s been waiting for. 

3. Attempt Acoustic Brackets

We’ve talked about video; now, let’s play with audio. Acoustic bracketing is an old school technique that weaves scenes together along with the right cuts. Imagine a woman sitting in her reading chair in 2020.

As she flips the page in her book, the audience may begin to hear the sound of horse hoofs on dirt. This is the moment when people can prep themselves for a shift back in time to her great grandmother’s cottage in Ireland (or something to that effect). 

4. Be Willing to Brainstorm

This isn’t a technique, per se, but it’s invaluable. Don’t be afraid to open up your studio door and allow other video editors into your world.

We can watch the same scene a hundred times and not see something that a friend will see. They might make a suggestion that you can run with, thus improving the entire trajectory of the film. 

5. Make the Montage Your Masterpiece

Envision an emotional moment in the film. The handkerchiefs are out; the sobs are flowing. This is your time to journey the viewers down memory lane and show them what it really means to sob. 

A montage is a series of short shots that helps relay a story in a condensed version. However, just because it’s condensed, doesn’t mean it can’t tug at the heartstrings. Montages are a great way to illustrate the passage of time and explain how circumstances got to a certain point.

Film Editing Techniques for You

And there you have it! These film editing techniques are tried-and-true techniques that will remain with you for the entirety of your career. Working in film editing is sure to provide a lifetime of rewarding challenges. 

Here at Donklephant, we’re your one-stop-shop for reviews, app news, tech hacks, and more. Keep coming back for all the latest news. As you dive into the digital waters of life, we wish you tremendous joy and major Hollywood success! 

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