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1 Tip I Would Give Someone Just Starting to Edit Videos for YouTube (or Filmmaking)

Updated: Jan 31, 2023

Want to draw your audience into your story (for video and film)?


Pace your cuts.


Here’s 1 tip I would give someone just starting to edit videos for YouTube (or for films):


➡️ Use shot-type to help inform the timing of your cuts.


Don’t let it replace other storytelling techniques (i.e. emotion, information about a character or story). Rather, let this be an assistive tool.


What do I mean by shot-types?


Films are composed of several. For now, we’ll focus on two: Close-ups vs. Wide shots.

  • Close-up shots: are great for creating intimacy and heightening emotions.

  • Wide shots: are great for establishing a sense of place and context.

Each can affect the pacing of your film.


CLOSE-UP SHOTS:

These tend to have less “information” on the screen. Generally, you can cut away from them sooner.


For example:

If this sentence was a Close-up, you wouldn’t need 1-min to read it.


Where this tip can lead you wrong is with stronger emotion. Think of it like being with a true friend who’s going through something deeply emotional.


You’re going to sit with them for as long as it takes.


Keep that Close-up shot on screen longer. Let us feel with them.

WIDE SHOTS:

These have far more “information” and detail (scenery). Generally, you’ll leave them on longer.


Think of it like arriving in a new city. It takes time for you to get familiar with the surroundings. So, with wide shots, let your audience get familiar with the space.

BONUS TIP:

Combine close-ups with wide shots.

  • Long close-up -> quick wide shot — creates tension & release.

  • Wide shot -> close-up — amplifies emotion (and can create tension)

Do this, and your audience will feel like they’re in the room with you (or your characters).

TL;DR

Adjust the timing of your cuts based on shot-type.

  • Close-ups: cut sooner (leave longer with emotion)

  • Wide shots: leave on screen (so your audience gains context)

Help them align with your story (and characters).

Take this knowledge even further:

StudioBinder has a detailed write up and 16-min video breakdown on how to use Close-ups in visual storytelling (like on YouTube or filmmaking).

See you tomorrow. Matt Cici


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