TGN Focus – Video Nip and Tuck

Let’s face it, very few YouTubers know much about the art of video editing. Cat fail video montage anyone?

But most of us here at TGN believe that 10 minutes of video editing can take your video to the next level. Really? 10 minutes?

Yup. Video editing is another big separator that a lot of gaming YouTubers almost unanimously agree upon. It’s not like you need to give your video a Jay Wilson circa 2006-2012 Diablo 3 overhaul every time you make a Let’s Play, but a little nip and tuck goes a long way. Here are 3 quick questions that you might want to ask yourself before you upload our videos:

“…initial engagement is something

we see a lot of big Gamers do”

1.  Does my video engage right away? Whether you start right at the action, have a nice branded intro, or you have a comical blooper in the first 15-30 seconds of your video, initial engagement is something that we see a lot of big Gamers do. Think of how quickly we skip past the advertising on the average YouTube video – it’s like viewers have the attention span of a gnat!

2.  Do I have any big lulls in my content?  Nobody makes videos that are all action, all the time, but most viewers will move on to other things if there’s a big pause in appealing content. We always try to keep the content lively to keep attention, and even cut or speed things up if necessary to maintain a good flow. In viewing some of the content on big gamer channels, this was another pretty common practice.

“There’s nothing worse than coming across a video with killer content that’s been ruined by rendering problems”.

3.  Does my video have any visual or audio glitches? There’s nothing worse than coming across a video with killer content that’s been ruined by rendering problems. Uploading a video with problematic visuals or audio can really bring down your watchtime.

Now, that’s all very well and fine, but what tools do the most successful gaming YouTubers use to make their videos stand out? A select few are very skilled with top-end software like Adobe After Effects or Cinema4D, but the basics can easily improve our content and I’ll get into the expensive ones in another article.

My basic philosophy is this: the more we play with our videos, the better our videos can potentially be. Of course, it is possible to overdo it and lose the content in a mish-mash of flashy visuals. There’s a balance. Like the force. Yeah. Let’s use the force.

These Might Be the Programs You’re Looking For…

Windows Movie Maker- The Free Option

Obviously, free is great.  It’s even better when that free thing is actually a pretty solid product.  With WMM, all of your basic needs are there: adding video, trimming, splitting, and changing speeds.  What’s missing?  Depth of features and toolsets.  A lot of the included transitions can be a little cheesy for most of us too.  If you’re looking to get a feel for video editing without an investment, WMM is the way to go.

Sony Movie Studio – < $50 Option

The logical step up from WMM with an all-around better kit, more functionality, and more options for pre-developed transitions and effects.  This is pretty much the go-to for most YouTubers that don’t feel they can squeeze enough out of the Windows FreeWare, but don’t want to drop the extra cash on something more professional.  What’s the major advantage here?  It’s the perfect middle-ground between a limited FreeWare option, and an over-capable high cost program.  If you are willing to learn with it, you won’t be disappointed.

Adobe Premiere Elements 11- ~$100 Option

Less commonly used by gamers than its Sony counterpart, Adobe Premiere Elements 11 is a solid starter program.  Yeah it’s got an extra bit on the price tag, but this kind of thing is what Adobe is known for – editing professionally and easily.  While its feature set is only marginally better than Sony Movie Studio, the difference here is in user-friendliness.  I’m not an expert in video editing, but I’ve definitely been behind the scenes of some gems with this software.

These are good programs to get started, but really serious YouTubers will definitely opt for the higher quality programs that I touched on earlier.  The TGN team uses the more robust programs ourselves , and they are a pretty significant investment so I’m going to cover them separately in a future article.  For now, it’s all about getting started with the right tools for the job.

Simple enough? Be sure to add your insight to what’s been said here on our partner forums, and join me next week for more TGN Focus where I’ll cover the ins and outs of screen recording for PC (consoles to come).

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