87: 5 Reasons Your Videos Suck (Editing Edition)

You use too many transitions

  • 99% of any video/show/movie is “Hard Cut”

  • Transitions should be used for a purpose (Show passage of time, indicate a new scene, create a “feeling” or intended effect

  • Dissolve, Dip to black,

  • This is why angles and shots are important. Multiple angles and continuity allows for smoother visual shot transitions.

  • ( Bonus, when cutting try to pay attention to “eye trace”)

  1. You use too many montages

  • Montages are often used as a crutch.

  • It is much easier to put a bunch of clips together with cool music than it is to craft a story with a good flow and pacing

  • Get enough shots to tell the story visually, then get enough dialogue to tell it verbally,

  • Break up montages with talking/dialogue

  • Montages should also be used purposefully (to show passage of time, progress, growth, to speed through something monotonous, get from place to place)

  • Montages cannot make an audience feel, they can make them know

  • Use to advance story quickly and efficiently

  • 30s to 1min

  1. You Can’t edit to the beat/music

  • If you are editing with music you need to time your cuts to the beats of the song. (Not all the time but, this is hard to explain but yes and no. We need to cover when and when not to)

  • People are viscerally aware of music pace & rhythm, if your visuals don’t align with that it can cause a sense of unease, discomfort, or be jarring to your audience (especially true with pieces with big beats. Ambient music is much better if you don’t want to be held to a beat)

  • Aligning shots with music helps them flow better, and can also help “sell” big emotional moments

  • Think the climactic moment of a hunt, lining the shot up with a the climax of that song. Align the funny moment with a break in music, or on the beat to really sell it.

  • You can align by feel, or even look at the audio waveforms

  • Listen, Pause, Q,W to trim easily)

  1. You don’t know how to trim the fat

  • You leave too much of a shot, of talking, of a scene, of umms and ahhs in.

  • You want to advance your piece as fast as will get the point and emotion across to your viewer (constraints: time limits on IG, YT, TV…)

  • Always cut as many uhhh, ummms, ahhhhs out as possible.

  • This is where multiple angles, b roll, and producing good dialogue with ends and pauses comes in

  • Use waveforms, and audio fades to smooth out harsh cuts.

  • Is what they are saying, what you are showing, relevant to the story? Does it contain useful information?

  • Does it give the audience information they need to know what is happening (who, what, when, where, how, why, weather)

  • Does it reveal something about a character

  • Does it elicit an emotion (funny, dramatic, sad, excited)

  • Do they care?

  • Be Ruthless, especially on shorter form content.

  • Save time by rolling people talking under other clips, starting things as people end talking

  • Do I NEED this shot, don’t be precious with shots, or ideas

  1. You don’t know how to hide your edits

  • You are jump cutting, not using angles, B roll, etc…

  • Ties into previous point.

  • L Cuts (audio continues past visual clip cut)

  • J Cuts, Audio comes in before visual clip starts)

  • B Roll (Cover cuts with B Roll, rule of thumb, at least 2-3 broll clips back to back)

  • Punch in by 15%

  • Angles

  • Sound design can also help hide edits

  1. *Bonus* Your Audio is bad

  • It is too loud, too quiet, I cannot hear someone talking, it pops when you cut, wind noise is excessive, music is overpowering, no audio (even with music)

  • This is the number one thing most viewers will struggle to tolerate


  • Watch for peaking/clipping

  • Set dialogue to -9-12db, music to -10db and 10 less when someone is talking, sound effects present, but in background

  • Mixing sound should be part of your editing process, use headphones and then check on monster.

  • Use crossfades on audio clips to smooth out pops on cuts

  • Clean ambient audio will save you


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