5 Parts of a Video Editing Project

If you’re fairly new to video editing, this article will give you an overview of the basic steps you’ll take in any given video project.

1. Setting Up the Project

If you’re organized from the beginning, it’s going to make your life so much easier. I recommend creating a 3-level hierarchy of folders on your computer or hard drive. Video Projects could be your main folder, and within that create folders named after the projects you’re working on. For example Procedure 1, Procedure 2, and so on. Lastly, I recommend creating folders for your types of media within each project folder, such as Video, Images, Audio and any other media you have.

Now, copy your video, images, audio, and/or other files to these folders accordingly and you’re ready to open up the editing program. The benefit of doing this each time is that you’ll always have your original media stored somewhere on your computer in an organized fashion when you need to find it later.

How To Set Up Your Video Editing Project

Folder structure for video editing project

2. Importing Your Media

It’s important to grasp what you’re actually doing when you import. First, know that when you’re editing your files, you’re not editing your actual files. When you “import” files you’re not putting them into a program, you’re linking them which is actually just pointing the editing program to a location on your computer where files are stored. So you can think of importing like “linking” to your files.

Now, open your program and go to “File – Import” or find the button that lets you “Browse Files”. Locate your media that you organized in Step 1: Setting Up the Project and click import. Being mindful that your files are linked once you’ve imported, you don’t want to move your media around on your computer or it will break that link. If you move a file to another folder or even rename a file, your editing program will give you an error message letting you know a file is missing. In this case either move it back, or relink it in the new location or with the new name.

Importing First Steps with iMovie and Windows Live Movie Maker

  • Importing medical & surgical video files with iMovie
  • Importing medical & surgical video files with iMovie
  • Importing a video file with Windows Live Movie Maker
  • Importing a video file with Windows Live Movie Maker

3. Editing: Trim, Split & Move Clips

Now that you’ve imported you’ll see your files in a window or bin within the program and you can begin adding files to your timeline. The timeline is the area of the interface where you can drag your video, images, audio, etc. It’s where you piece together your final movie. For a refresher on the parts of the interface please reference our article on A Basic Video Editing Program Layout. Now you can trim clips, split them at a certain point and move them around on the timeline or just delete them.

For Steps 3 & 4 I show you screenshot examples using iMovie, but the tools to trim, split and move clips will remain basically the same no matter what program you are using. Focus more on editing the right content and less on the tools themselves.

Basic Edits with iMovie

  • medical video highlighted section add selection to timeline
  • medical video clip being split at playhead
  • Medical pathology video clip being trimmed on video timeline
  • Medical pathology video clip being trimmed on video timeline

4. Editing: Titles, Transitions, Audio

Now that you have the basic trimming and arrangement of clips done, you want to polish your video a little more. Most programs have bins of effects, titles and transitions for you to apply to your clips. In this example I’ll show you using screenshots from iMovie but I’m sure your program will have tools very similar to these.

Polishing & Refining Your Video Edits

  • Title being superimposed over pathology medical video
  • Transition being applied in between clips on video timeline
  • Narration tracks being added to medical video timeline

5. Exporting

For the world to be able to see your perfected new movie, your editing program has to combine all the videos, effects, titles, transitions and audio into a single file. This is called exporting. I have listed a couple of settings below that should help you export to a compatible video format.

  • Choose an MP4 video file
  • If you can choose a codec choose H.264
  • If you can select audio, choose AAC

Exporting with iMovie

Exporting with Windows Movie Maker

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