How To Learn Video Editing (Best Tools & Resources)

Affiliate Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links that I get a kickback from.

Video editing is one of the best high-value skills you can learn from the comfort of your home.

Every brand, every influencer, every content creator, and every YouTuber would pay a lot of money for a good editor.

How do I know? I have a YouTube channel and I’ve experienced this first-hand. Finding a good editor is no easy task.

When I was starting out on YouTube I learned to edit videos all by myself by watching YouTube tutorials, taking Skillshare classes, and experimenting myself.

It took around one year to fully master Premiere Pro and become comfortable with it to the point where now I know that I can take on any video project and edit it relatively well (at least for YouTube).

How To Learn Video Editing

Although I learned how to edit videos mainly for YouTube I will try to compile general advice for learning any kind of video editing be it for editing verticle mobile videos like for Instagram and TikTok, doing commercial editing work, editing wedding videos, GoPro footage, iPhone footage.. You get the point.

Here is the best advice I could give to a beginner trying to learn video editing from scratch:

1. Good editing is not about fancy effects

Editing is super important. Without it, the video will flop completely.

It helps tell the story.

This is something beginners often forget. 

The point of editing is to help tell a better story.

Not to overwhelm the viewer with fancy animations, transitions, or 300 cuts every single second. That’s just retention hacking.

It’s nice if there are fancy effects or transitions but they’re not the main thing.

Whilst retention-focused editing is effective in the short term all it does is leave the viewer overwhelmed and unsatisfied in the long run.

The best videos inspire, make you laugh, teach you something new, take you back to your childhood, and help you relate to someone.

They don’t overwhelm you with multiple cuts or effects every second. 

That’s just not the point.

“The best videos can be made without fancy effects the goal is to make something simple and engaging, timing, flow, effective use of music, and simplicity of story… It takes lots of practice, but prioritize telling a great story before you learn anything fancy… fancy edits are useless if the story isn’t engaging”.

– Zachary Levet (Video editor for Ryan Trahan)

When learning how to edit videos don’t focus on cool-looking effects but rather try to edit a video in a way that is best for the viewer.

And being overwhelmed by fancy edits is not it.

2. Pick a software and master it

Tools are just that, tools.

It doesn’t matter if you pick the latest trending editing software or use something that just gets the job done.

I use Premiere Pro for editing all my courses and YouTube videos.

DaVinci Resolve is also a good option if you’re looking for something free.

Final Cut Pro is also a great pick for Mac users because it’s a one-time payment compared to having to pay a monthly Creative Cloud subscription for Premiere Pro.

Once you do pick a software though don’t look back. Don’t switch after 1 week because you found out that there’s one thing one editing software does slightly better than the other.

They all get updates and change over time. Pick something and stick with it.

If you use something simple like CapCut or iMovie then only switch once you outgrow the software.

Once you see that the editing software you’re using becomes too limiting and there are features that you’re missing, that’s the time to switch to something more advanced.

Until that happens though, switching around different editing software will leave you overwhelmed and most likely you won’t be utilizing most of the features that they offer anyway.

So only do it when you have to.

If you want to learn how I edit YouTube videos in Premiere Pro I recommend checking out my YouTube Video Course.

It has five chapters covering all the Premiere Pro basics, how to edit fast, how to use effective editing techniques such as masking and different presets, how to balance audio, work with music and sound effects, and also dives deep into how to edit videos for the YouTube algorithm.

3. Become an active viewer

One of the best ways to learn is from people who have already done what you’re trying to do.

If you’re trying to learn editing for YouTube then watch YouTube videos and analyze every second of it. Same with movies, Shorts, Reels, TikToks, everything.

Instead of looking at the video for the entertainment value look at it from an editor’s point of view.

Analyze why was there a cut here, stop, rewind, look at transitions, pacing, storytelling…

This is one of the fastest ways to improve.

If you watched a video that captivated your attention, scroll back and look at the most engaging part again. Why was it so engaging?

4. Try Recreating effects

Once you’ve noticed an effect or a “cool edit” you’d love to know how to do yourself, don’t sleep on it. Do it.

Try to replicate it as best as you can.

But what if you can’t?

Once you encounter a roadblock go to YouTube or Google and seek out a solution.

Don’t give up until you replicated the effect you saw somewhere to match as closely as possible with yours.

It doesn’t have to be perfect but doing this will sharpen your editing skills so much more than mindlessly looking at tutorials and not actually using what you’ve learned.

You see, the best way to learn is to do something yourself. Our brains retain information a lot longer if we put it to use.

5. Practice practice practice

You won’t learn to edit video by not doing it.

But how can you find practice when you’re not good at it?

Try making a YouTube video (you don’t have to publish it if you don’t want to), freelancing on Fiverr, being an assistant editor, re-editing a YouTuber’s video for free and sending it to them (this is one of the best ways to land an editing job for a YouTuber if you actually do a good job), creating a montage, even a 10-second clip of the effect you learned applied on some free stock footage.

Create anything. The more you practice the better you’ll get.

Even though I took editing courses, and looked up a bunch of YouTube tutorials about editing, the thing that helped me learn the most was editing my own YouTube videos. I’ve edited more than 200 now and it’s been the best way to actually learn to edit.

6. Learn a new editing trick every day

The best way to take in new information is not all in one chunk.

Your brain will retain tiny amounts of important information spaced out across time better than all at once.

I found that when I try to learn a bunch of new Premiere Pro keyboard shortcuts or effects I end up remembering just a few that stood out the most.

However, if I learn one per day then that’s the one I’ll remember.

Of course, as I’ve mentioned before, using those effects in your editing is what’s going to force you to remember them best.

But if you don’t want to spin up your editing software each time you learn a trick then spacing out your learning can be a very powerful tool to help you retain that information better.

Moreover, a person who learns a tiny bit of information every day for a lifetime will always beat someone who goes hard for two months and then quits.

7. Take an editing course

Video Editing Course For YouTubers

You can learn anything on the internet for free.

YouTube is full of free editing tutorials and software walkthroughs.

The problem is that that’s not very efficient.

Most free stuff is geared towards complete beginners, information frequently repeats itself and it’s scattered all over the place.

That’s where courses come in.

Think about it, a person has spent their time collecting, condensing, and presenting all their knowledge most efficiently in one single place.

If you’re serious about learning how to edit videos then I think taking a course is the best approach if you want to do it fast.

If you want me to help YOU learn how to edit videos in Premiere Pro and grow your YouTube channel check out my YouTube Video Course.

You will learn how to make videos in your bedroom and become your own boss from just your laptop.

8. Try working for someone as an editor

Once you know a little bit about how to edit videos you can sharpen your skills by working for someone as an editor.

This will force you to learn and best of all be paid to do it.

Working for someone as an editor can be a great stepping stone to starting your own YouTube channel or an editing agency.

Best Video Editing Courses

Thanks for reading 👋.

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