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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.


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.


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.


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).


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

Follow the journey here or on:

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