Editing Tips for Beginners

After editing a couple of times you start to see that you should have some guidelines to help you do it. These 5 rules can be applicable to every editing tool:

1. Be organised with your audio

I know these sounds like I am giving tips to college students but it is not true. Practising good organisation skills by keeping your audio files in folders and correctly labelled will save you a lot of time. That way you will exactly where you put all the tracks and will have an easy access to the original files.

If you don’t try do be (a bit) organised you may lose all your audio files and then there is nothing you can do.

2. Listen to your audio first

Before you start editing do listen to the whole track. Beginners tend to start editing when they first hear the material. While you listen make notes of the minutes and sections you want to edit. Actually, if you can make notes during the interview and you will save a lot of time.

By listening to what you have first, you will have a clear idea of what you want to cut and how you want to build your narrative. Don’t rush it.

3. Check if it is the right bit

When you cut some part make sure it is the right part. Play it back and see if you are happy with it. You can be tired and not paying much attention and, by accident, you might cut the wrong part without even without noticing. If this happens it is a major draw back can could have avoided in time. So, make sure that you have the part you really want.

A good way to be more efficient while editing is to use headphones since it is less distracting and all you will hear is your audio. Basically the headphones will shut you down from the world during the editing process.

4. Don’t “overedit”

You don’t need to edit every second of your file, especially during the first try. It is always good to do the first editing and then return to it and be more precise.

As Adam Westbrook mentions:

Let the sound breathe

You have to give the sound some time otherwise it will sound robotic. If you are doing an audioslideshow you will want to capture the interviewee breathing, finding the right words and the thinking process like he was telling a story. If you edit too much you will edit the personality out of the character. As I said in my post about Recording Audio, you should gather background sound for your audio slideshow to use it in the pauses. But again, only and when it fits.

5. Always save the project

Don’t leave the saving part for the end. Your computer can crush or block and you will end up losing everything you have so far. It doesn’t hurt to save the project once and a while during the edition.


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