Edit Your Class

Editing your video footage is straightforward, provided you have the right tools and know a few tricks!

In this article:

Video Editing

Editing doesn’t have to be complex. Mainly you’re cleaning up your footage, removing ums, ahs, and unnecessary pauses, and adding in additional media to augment your lessons.

Get to Know Your Tools

Most editing programs (we’ve listed a few in the article Select the Right Equipment) work more or less the same. If you’re new to editing, this tutorial from Vimeo Video School is a great place to start: Video 101: Editing Basics on Vimeo. Or check out some of our recommended Skillshare classes below.

Organize Your Assets

Streamline your workflow by organizing your raw footage into folders. If you have slides or other assets, make sure you have those ready too, and labeled accordingly.

Stick to Shorter Lessons

As a rule, try to keep your lessons between 2 and 8 minutes to keep your students engaged. If you have a longer demo, consider breaking it up into specific steps or parts.

Keep It Simple

In a high-quality class, good editing should not be noticeable! You don’t want your editing to distract from what you’re teaching; ideally, you’re using it only to enhance your lessons. Ensure your edits are clean, clear, and well-timed. If you’re not an experienced editor, straight cuts and simple transitions generally work best.

Show, Don’t (Just) Tell

One of the keys to an engaging class is finding ways to illustrate or highlight what you’re saying on camera with compelling visuals.

  • Vary your visuals. As a rule, for talking head shots, we recommend switching things up with a new camera angle, graphic, or slide every 30-45 seconds in your lessons, or every 3-5 seconds in your intro video. This will keep students engaged and focused on your material.
  • Use slides or text to highlight top tips and key takeaways. Insert slides or additional on-screen text where necessary to organize the content of your lesson, highlight important concepts and phrases, or break down complex techniques or concepts.
  • In screencast videos, consider highlighting or zooming in on key actions so students can really see what you’re doing.
  • For physical demonstrations with an overhead setup, switch to close-ups every once in a while to show textures or the tools you’re using in your lessons.

Use Timelapsed Content Strategically

Students do love watching teachers work and you should include demonstrations in your lessons while narrating your process and creative decisions. In any lesson where you practice the same action repeatedly, however, we recommend timelapsing (speeding up) your video to keep your class engaging and succinct.

To avoid making students feel that they may be missing out on something, we suggest recording a voiceover portion that explains part of your process, gives them a tip, or simply acknowledges that you're timelapsing this part of the lesson to save time.

Audio Editing

It’s not a bad idea to do a final pass on your audio, especially if you’re adding music to your intro or conclusion videos — you want to make sure you have a balanced mix! Music should never distract from your voiceover.

We highly recommend editing audio with a pair of good headphones to ensure you’re hearing the correct balance and your final mixed audio isn’t too loud or too soft.

If you’re finding that your audio is too dynamic (that is, loud in some areas and too soft in others) you can use the Compressor or Equalization effects in Audacity to reduce its dynamic range. These tutorials give a little more information on how to do that:

Be aware that some screen recording software doesn’t record at a constant frame rate. For this reason, for editing, we recommend recording your audio separately and editing it into your shot later. If you do run into an issue with this — what is called “audio drift” — this video provides a solution: How To Fix Videos With Audio Drift From Variable Frame Rates.

Go Further

If you’re new to editing and need some additional instruction, look no further! Top Teacher Sean Dykink’s Skillshare class, Video Editing Techniques: A Practical Guide to Creating Visually Appealing Edits, is a great introduction to editing no matter what software you’re using.

These Skillshare classes teach editing through specific software — select the class that works best for you.