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Skills Guides

Video editing


Getting started with making videos

Thanks to video sharing platforms, it is easier than ever to share videos over the internet. But how do you actually create a video?

If you're making a viral 10 second video of your cat, then you can just pick up your phone, hit record, and then upload the video to the site of your choosing. However, you might want to cut together a few videos of your cat, and maybe put some explanations about how your cat is technically able to make those impressive leaps in between the recorded footage.

You'll want to plan out your video, create or find different media, and then edit them together in a video editing tool. Below are slides for two sessions, Introduction to filmmaking and Video editing skills, which will take you through the key considerations and tips for choosing and using the right tools to create videos.

Introduction to filmmaking

This session looks at how we tell stories, fictional and non-fictional, using video, how different styles of video content are used, and how to get started planning and creating videos.

Viewing the full Introduction to filmmaking slides on Google Slides allows you to view the speaker notes which have added commentary.

We also have some short videos going over these topics, which you'll find below.

Video editing skills

Following on from Introduction to filmmaking, this session covers practical elements such as getting media files, choosing a video editing tool, and how the basic functions such as trimming and splitting clips and exporting your final video work.

Viewing the full Introduction to filmmaking slides on Google Slides allows you to view the speaker notes which have added commentary. There is also a Video editing skills PDF guide that covers key points and details.

We also have some videos on specific elements of the video editing process, which you'll find below.

Video editing skills

This guide has an overview of the key areas of getting started with making videos, from working with different media files to using the features of video editing software.

It doesn't focus on any one video editing tool. We recommend looking online for help guidance on using specific applications as though most tools work in very similar ways, they all have slightly different layouts and ways of doing things.


Subtitles are blocks of transcribed text that appear at the bottom of a video. Whether you're deaf, struggling with an accent, watching the video in a distracting environment, or just don't have the sound on, subtitles allow you to read the speech and sound of the video.

For more information about subtitles — how to generate them, how to edit them, and how to incorporate them into a video — take a look at our Subtitling Skills Guide:

And here are some useful links to subtitling help for some of the most common platforms used at York:

Digital video: the technical stuff

Video may generally be thought of as a series of still images arranged together, one after the other, to give the illusion of movement. This is literally true of something like film where a string of photographic images are displayed in quick succession.

Digital video follows a similar model, but with raster images rather than celluloid. As such, most of the content on our Image editing Skills Guide will be very relevant, albeit with the added dimension of time.

Since video is usually accompanied by audio too, and since a lot of the principles of digital audio extend to digital video, we'd also suggest taking a look at the Audio editing Skills Guide.

Frame rate

Frame rate is the speed at which one still image replaces another on the screen. The higher the frame rate, the smoother the illusory movement will appear.

Galloping horse, animated using photos by Eadweard Muybridge

The above gif is made up of 15 still images (numbered 2-16) animating at 10 frames per second (10 fps or 10 Hz). Most cinema film animates at 24 fps (24 Hz): that's sufficient to trick the eye for most humans, but you'll often see higher frame rates than that.

Most digital video, like film, uses 'progressive scan': a posh way of saying that one still image appears after another.

The most common framerate in digital recording is 30fps: 30p (where the 'p' stands for 'progressive scan'). That's because it's aligned to what American television does (but more of that below). If you're wanting to keep file sizes down, you should be able to get away with 25p, or even as low as 10p if you're just recording a desktop application on a computer screen.

The lower your framerate, the smaller your video file, but too low and your video will look jerky.



As with digital images, size matters. But video has a very different history to that of the still image: a history wrapped up with that of television broadcasting. While a still image can be pretty much any size you like (within reason), there are certain standards to be aware of in video, and a whole new set of terminology for describing them.

Then there's the fact that video resolution is usually expressed solely in terms of its height...

YouTube supports a range of standard sizes of video: 144p, 240p, 360p, 480p (equivalent to American standard definition TV), 720p, and 1080p (equivalent to UK high definition TV) — the 'p' refers to the 'progressive scan' method we mentioned above. In each case the value is the height of the picture in pixels. If you're uploading a file to YouTube, there's currently no point recording it at a higher resolution than 1080px tall.

So what about width?


Containers and codecs

Video files contain both video and audio data, so a lot of video filetypes are quite relaxed about how that data is encoded so long as they're wrapped up in a way that's recognisable: they're basically 'containers' for different types of encoded video and audio which are then decoded by a coder-decoder ('codec') program.

Encoding digital videos can therefore be a bit confusing: there are a lot of options, and a lot of codecs to choose from (not all of which are widely installed on people's computers). So what video format should you choose?


By far the most common video format, H.264 (also known as Advanced Video Coding (AVC)) uses lossy compression that works in a similar sort of way to that of JPEGs and MP3s. It's used in Blu-Ray discs, on most streaming platforms, and in an increasing amount of digital television broadcasting. It's mostly used with the .mp4 container.

Other formats

There are a range of other formats and codecs to choose from, some of which have more adoption than others. Most formats can be played using VLC Media Player.

Video editing software

Corel VideoStudio is available from the University's "Software Centre" on managed computers, and a handful of University classroom computers. Adobe Premiere Pro is also installed on a handful of University computers.

PowerPoint can be used to create videos (animations, screencasting, narrations, etc.), and basic video editing is possible on Windows using Photos, and on a Mac using iMovie.

There's also a range of free tools available online (as ever, with free online tools, you should think critically before using them):

Finally, for playback and simple format conversion there's:

Screencasting software

If you're wanting to record the content of your screen (and maybe a voice-over), you'll want a tool that can do screen recording. We take a deeper look at that on our...

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