Visual media is one of the most engaging, captivating, and effective methods for displaying information. Video lectures, slideshows, and other media have been proven to better catch the attention of students.

So you’ve got a vision for a video. Great! While the concept of your video may seem crystal clear in your head, the transition from your mind to the computer screen can get somewhat muddied. However, a little bit of video software know-how can go a long way. Here are some tips on how to truly bring your vision to life!

Four Tips For Editing and Polishing Your Video

1. File Quality Matters: It’s incredibly important that the quality of your footage is up to par! Videos with grainy, pixelated images can be difficult to watch, or comprehend. While access to a digital camera with video capabilities (or an actual film camera) can make for the best content, these cameras can be expensive. Luckily, the popularity of smartphones has made shooting quality video much more easy and convenient! Make sure to export your video by connecting your phone directly to your computer. Sending your video over e-mail requires large amounts of compression, which will inevitably hurt the quality of your video. Additionally, sending video files over e-mail can be time consuming.

2. Utilize Free Software & Programs: Chances are, if you’re using a desktop computer or laptop purchased in the last five years, you’re probably already equipped with some form of free, user-friendly video software. If your computer operates on Microsoft Windows, you can use Windows Movie Maker, which is a great program for those getting their feet wet in the world of video. (Download Windows Movie Maker from Microsoft, then view the Windows Movie Maker tutorial to get started.)

Apple ISO users may be familiar with their free video editing software, iMovie. iMovie is a fantastic program for novice video editors, and incredibly user friendly. Make sure to check out the iMovie beginners guide! 

Both Windows Movie Maker and iMovie have capabilities for creating title sequences, transitional edits, and basic sound mixing! Your video may not look like a Wes Anderson film, but if done right, has the potential to look quite professional. However those are not the only editing programs at your disposal! There are many other free software options out there; review which ones will work best for you.

3. Refining Your Footage:

It’s important for you to use the best takes from the raw footage you’ve collected. Try to use footage that avoids stuttering, background interference, or other elements that distract from your video’s message. In post-production, you can use your software’s tools to:

  • Create eye-catching transitions
  • Insert interesting title sequences
  • Add informative and helpful captioning
  • Edit in relevant, complementary music
  • Cut out bloopers and mistakes
  • Adjust lighting, sound levels, and other elements

4. Hosting Your Final Product:

After exporting and finishing your video, you may be thinking: now what? Sharing your video for the whole world (or just your classmates or students) to see, of course! While YouTube may undoubtedly the most popular video hosting social network, it is not your only option. Vimeo is an exemplary ad-free site that specializes in HD playback and customization privacy settings. Pathbrite makes it possible for students to share their creations and use them as a means of demonstrating the skills they’ve learned in their courses.

Cengage Learning is hosting the “Instructor for a Day” competition once again for 2015.  Students have a chance of winning a $1,000 scholarship by showcasing how they would make their classroom more engaging for students via video submission.  For additional details, read our recent blog post on the Instructor for a Day contest.