VIDEO EDITING techniques loved by pro broadcast filmmakers
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VIDEO EDITING techniques loved by pro broadcast filmmakers

Learn creative video editing techniques used by professionals. Be taught by a veteran, award-winning commercials editor.
4.5 (199 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
1,664 students enrolled
Last updated 9/2016
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  • 3.5 hours on-demand video
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Create inspiring videos through editing techniques
  • Capture an audience by creative editing techniques taught by an international award winning editor
  • Turn your amateur videos into a professional productions with creative editing flair.
View Curriculum
  • High quality video editing software that permits multi-layered audio.
  • An understanding of how to import media (footage) onto the hard-drive/s and then to create a time-line. A basic knowledge of these things is needed.
  • This is not a software course. It teaches editing techniques.
  • While this course may assist you in choosing the correct software for editing the way professionals do, we do not compare editing software products.
  • While we teach using Adobe Premier, this is not significant to the learner. You will be able to follow using any quality editing software such as Avid Media Composer, Final Cut Pro, etc.
  • We do not teach how to use editing software. But if you know the basics, that is enough to take full advantage of this course

Do you want to understand the rules broadcast professionals use when editing a TV show?

Do you want to improve the quality of your videos, to the point where your audience can't get enough?

Are you moving from still photography to video, and is editing a major challenge?

Are your videos just not getting noticed and shared on your YouTube channel?

You are a professional video editor, but are not getting noticed because your work is technically fine, but not creatively outstanding?

Then you have come to the right place.

Operators and editors.

In the pro broadcast world, there two types of editors: Operators and editors.

An operator is someone who should be an expert at the software, understands codecs, as well as the export parameters needed for broadcast. Very often, these people are not particularly creative, because creativity is not their main focus. Also, often, it's the technical side of video that excites them the most.

Before you do this course, I have a question:

  1. Do you mainly want to be taught all the technical stuff regarding video production? (called an operator-editor) Or. . .
  2. Do you want to become a creatively intuitive, clever video editor, that can create amazing content from your, or other people's footage? (called an editor)

If you answered 1., then this is not a course for you. I don't teach the tech stuff at all. Because, honestly, I am no expert myself. I have worked in broadcast TV as an editor for 37 years, won awards in New York and Cannes, and yet I still only have a basic understanding of the tech stuff. Because, believe it or not, I don't need it. And neither do you!

I am an editor. I am not an operator.

Editing video (understanding the software) is a straightforward, if complex subject. It is taught all over the Internet. But find me a truly creative video editing course. I can't find a good one anywhere. So I created this one.

Editing video is easy to do, but difficult to do well. The trouble is, most video courses on the net are presented by filmmakers making wedding videos and low budget music videos. Very few are broadcast professionals. The proof is that most video editing courses focus primarily on software, which requires limited creative insight.

This course is not about software.

You will learn:

  • How to attract, grab and hold onto your audience,
  • How to entertain your audience, and have them wanting more,
  • How to make your edits seamless and integrated,
  • How to select music, and avoid the dangers of bad music choices,
  • How to avoid the traps amateurs often fall into,
  • How to use the power of visual elements,
  • The importance of the audio track. Oh, so important!
  • Music montage editing— easy to do, but difficult to do well,
  • How to edit dialogue,
  • How and when to use transitions,
  • How to maximise the power of sound effects,
  • Some stuff about YouTube.
  • Editing software and what's good, and what's less good.

All these skills will make your editing experience easy and intensely creative. You can become a great filmmaker.

You will need:

  • A broadband Internet connection,
  • A laptop or desktop computer.
  • Editing software able to edit multi-layered audio tracks. Manipulating multi-layered audio is fundamental to good editing. Any edit software with multi-layer capability, able to handle your source footage, will do.
  • A basic understanding of video editing. As this is not a software course, you will need an understanding of your software, how to ingest media from your camera card, and how to set up a time-line to begin editing.
  • An ongoing project would be an advantage so you can practice some of the techniques shown right away,
  • A sprit of learning something new and intensely creative,
  • Be prepared to have some fun.

The syllabus

  • Part One: Preparation for the edit. Knowing where everything is frees you up to be creative.
  • Part Two: How to capture your audience within the first 20 seconds and keep them riveted.
  • Part Three: Music choice, music montage editing, back timing for effect and more.
  • Part Five: Editing styles. Lots of examples of styles and their affect on the audience,
  • Part Five: Transitions, pace and the story, and editing techniques,
  • Part Six: Lots of actual broadcast examples. Why they work and the techniques used,
  • Part Six: You-tube and presenting to camera. We talk software to assist you in making the right choice. Also, helpful tips on creating a You-tube channel and make money from it.

Software and equipment

Like our shooting course, we don't spend much time talking about equipment. We focus on teaching techniques to tell a great story—whether it's a full-length documentary, a wedding, or a 30-second commercial, it's all about story-telling.

You need to know the basics of your chosen editing software already. This is very important: Although what we teach is performed using computer software, this is NOT a software course. Instead of, how to use the software, this is, what to do with the software.

It does not matter what software you have chosen for your editing setup. As long as you know the basics, everything will be easy to follow and understand.

Your lecturer

Andrew St Pierre White has 37 years as a broadcast professional, with international awards to his credit. Included in these are Cannes Film Festival, Gold Award for Editing, New York TV, Silver Award Editing and Louries TV Awards South Africa, Grand Prix Editing.

He has edited numberless TV commercials, several documentary series, many corporate videos and some TV dramas. His work has been broadcast on major channels and networks on six continents. As a director of TV, some of his work is on YouTube, where his channel boasts over six million views a year.

Who is the target audience?
  • Video editing for those who understand the basics of their software, but now want to learn creative editing tactics
  • Editing beginners who are struggling to understand techniques to make videos that entertain and capture the audience
  • Editor of music videos, documentaries, weddings, YouTube clips will benefit from insight into editing techniques used by award-winning international editors.
  • Filmmakers looking for further insight into the affect of effects, sound tracks, music and more.
  • Amateur videos made to look like professional productions.
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Curriculum For This Course
29 Lectures
Introduction to editing software and what I teach
2 Lectures 14:31

An introduction to what we teach, and why.

Preview 08:57

Editing software. Where do I begin?
Capture your audience by maximising the impact of your videos
2 Lectures 09:47

Why be organised?

Being organised means energy is focused on creativity.

Remember, an editor uses creativity to manipulate images into a story designed to move viewers to emotion.

In editing, nothing stuns creativity quite like chaos. This is a sweeping statement backed up by years of experience in busy editing rooms.

With this in mind, the first thing I teach on this course is the power of organisation.

I think you will agree that the first part of a training course should be scintillating. It should be stuffed with mind blowing information that leaves you breathlessly wanting more.

Unfortunately, given the nature of editing, this section isn't one of those.

Organising footage is anal and, dare I say it, potentially boring in its extreme. It is a task usually given to the most junior assistant in a professional editing house. The professional editors do that for a very good reason — the youngster has to learn to be organised if he or she has any hope of ever making it in the big league.

So, cast yourself into the roll of the junior as you watch, absorb, and apply what I'm going to teach you. If you do this, like any professional editor with a diligent assistant, I can virtually guarantee you a rewarding, creative, mind blowing editing experience on every project you ever cut. I can certainly guarantee to minimise your frustration and a few bucket loads of sweat.

So ready for something dull? Good, because here goes . . .

Digital non-linear editing software is clever stuff. It seems to be super organised. It collects reams of media (video, audio, still photos, sound effects etc.) together in one place, and then seamlessly compiling the video according to the editor’s instructions.

As impressive as this looks, it is, in fact, not the case.

Instead, the software remembers where you put your media and then accesses it so smoothly that it appears as if it has collected it all together in one convenient location.

The trouble is, your media can be scattered over numerous sources, such as hard drives, CD-roms, and camera cards.

For example: imagine you created a movie using music from iTunes, stills stored on your photo card, and video footage on your hard drive. If, at some point, you delete that song on iTunes, or wipe your camera card, or change a folder name on your hard drive, your super clever editing software will be unable to locate the media. It will throw you up a message saying 'file missing' when trying to run your movie. That is not only frustrating, but embarrassing if you are trying to impress an audience with your craft.

Preview 05:24

Rule one of video editing: If your media is not stored in one properly labeled place, it cannot be accessed.

So the secret of good organisation is to put all the media, without exception, into a single folder (directory) in one central place.

  • This must be done BEFORE the first edit project is created.
  • I cannot stress the importance of this enough.
  • Every piece of media, without exception, must be stored in an easily identified place on the hard drive.
  • This is done BEFORE it is imported into the program project.

In the process of making things easy, computers will allow you to import music from applications like iTunes, or still images from iPhoto, directly into the project. This complicates things, so I strongly recommend you do not do it.

Take the media files that you wish to use in your project out of these applications by duplicating them, and then placing them into folders on the project hard drive.

This is explained and demonstrated in the instruction videos below.

The first deals with storing your media.

Look after your media
If your audience does not care, they will leave
2 Lectures 28:24

Even though making a film need not always be linear, it should have structure that is clearly understood and easy to follow. This means a beginning, middle and end.

The job of the beginning is to grab and hold your audience by making them care about the subject or characters.

As you can see from the stats below, you literally have seconds to achieve this:

  • You have less than 30 seconds to capture an audience for a documentary style program.
  • Terrestrial TV (the goggle-box): a documentary will be switched off within a minute or so.
  • You have less than 10 seconds with a selling film.
  • You have less than 5 seconds with a commercial, including TV commercials.
  • A You-tube video also has about 5 seconds to shine before the viewer moves on.

Seconds, that’s all it takes to lose your viewer.

Even if your content is of huge interest to the entire planet, unless you give a hint of that value as quickly as possible, the planet will just not be interested. Your message will never see the audience it deserves. It is therefore VITAL to capture your audience in the first 10 or less seconds. Now you know this, you are already one step ahead of your competition.

So, how do you immediately grab them by the heart?

Simple. You tug on their emotions. Some examples would include:

  • Build empathy, concern, or excitement for the person, place, or situation depicted in the movie.
  • Help them recognise that you have something they need or want.

These are all emotions. If your viewer feels nothing, within a fairly limited time, they will leave.

Audio leads the way

The best way to make your audience feel is with AUDIO not video. This means you should:

  • spend much more time and effort developing your soundtrack than your video. Neglect your soundtrack at your cost.
  • Use LOTS of sound effects.
  • Never remove the sound effects and expect the music to capture a mood. This is the single biggest mistake made by amateur (and sometimes pro) editors.
  • Never remove the sound effects and expect the music to capture a feeling.
  • Never remove the sound effects and expect the music to tell a story.
  • It is the sound that makes your audience feel. Never forget this.
Grab your audience without delay.

There are some tried and tested techniques you can use to keep your audience's interest. These are discussed in the following video. Briefly,

  • Use teasers to create the promise of good things to come;
  • Always leave them wanting more;
  • Never let them down —fulfill all the promises in your teasers.
Now you have your audience, now what?
Music. The Power to Create—or Destroy
6 Lectures 45:05

The first video covers the basic skills, music rights and library music.

Music Selection: how to get it right—and wrong

This video teaches music editing techniques including back timing.

Music editing techniques including back timing.

This video shows how to let the audio govern the storytelling.

How to let the audio govern the storytelling.

Music montage editing. Easy to do. Difficult to do well.

It’s not uncommon for an inexperienced editor to use montage editing as an excuse for compiling a sequence of shots because he or she has no clear idea of making a story from the footage. This is wrong.

Montages are best used to tease the audience into wanting more. Editing on the beat, off beat, and other techniques are demonstrated in the following videos. Music choice for montage editing is the easiest to get wrong. The mood and tempo must fit comfortably with the image mood and content.

The next two videos teach you how to edit music montages.

Music montage editing. Easy to do. Difficult to do well.

Music montage editing techniques that apply to a wide range of video edits

Music montage editing in a commercial

Music selection
1 question

When putting music into a sequence, I should . . .

Music in a sequence
1 question

Choosing and using music
1 question

A task using a Hollywood example, of selecting the right music for the right emotion.

Task to help you understand music selection technique
Story Telling Structures and editing techniques
5 Lectures 50:12

There are many ways to structure a story. Here are some techniques, with the components shown on the time-line.

Editing structure techniques

No story telling structure is the same. This is a basic story telling technique, that works well for simple story telling. It teaches the intro, pace and use of a combination of commentary, narration and music.

More editing structure techniques


A-Roll and B-Roll footage, and GoPros

  • A-Roll footage is your primary footage from your main camera used for telling the story.
  • B-Roll footage backs up the A-Roll content to aid storytelling.
  • GoPro cameras are best used as production value enhancers. Examples include the brilliant view of a landscape from a drone, the view from the driver’s perspective, or the submerged view of the boat’s hull in the water. These are perspectives that are not normal to the eye.
  • Long GoPro shots are not good for storytelling. Only use the best for few seconds, no more, unless the action changes and the storytelling is intense. No matter how spectacular, long drawn out shot with no strong storyline purpose are boring to most viewers. Use the best few seconds only, or cut back to another section to break the monotony.
  • Mostly, unless recorded with an external microphone, audio from GoPros is inadequate. Don’t use audio from the GoPro’s microphone if avoidable as the quality is very poor. Audio to enhance the images is vital, so be prepared to build an effects track in your edit.
Combining footage from various cameras

The 4-second rule is a techniques (taught in our Shooting for Storytelling Course). This is how such a shot is typically used in an edit.

Using the 4-second rule in an edit


An editor uses cuts, dissolves or wipes to move the viewer from one shot to another. These are called transition linking shots. They are not intended to communicate content or messages. Ideally, they should not even be noticed. If they are noticed, then mostly, they have failed in their job and should be reconsidered.

  • Dissolves are used to blend two shots, often to make the cut invisible or gentle to the eye. If a dissolve is not gentle to the eye, it is probably failing in its duty.
  • Be careful of wipes as they are mostly gimmicky. I have used them on occasions where the transition felt right, but I proceed with caution with all wipes. Once or twice I have used clock-wipes to suggest passage of time, but there was a very specific need to do this, otherwise I would have chosen something else.
  • Most of your editing transitions will consist of cuts. Good cutting should be invisible. Cutting video and audio together will make the cuts hard. Blending the audio across the cuts will smooth them out and should become a regular habit.
  • Gimmicky transitions like blocks, slides, spins, cubes, stretches, etc. are only suitable for the trash can. In short, NEVER use them for anything except to demonstrate how amateurs sometimes ruin their movies.

I recommenced that you work with your edit suite and experiment with the transitions available to you. You will find very few that don’t shout, ‘Look! I’m a clever transition!’


An editor uses sequence transition shots to move the viewer from one scene or sequence to another. Every transition linking sequences sends a message to the viewer. These messages can be subtle, like a change of location, change of day, or a new scene altogether. The marvelous thing about these transitions is that they communicate these things by dong almost nothing. But because the transition says so much about the content or story, they comuinicate more than meets the eye.

  • Fade to black and fade up from black. These works in an unobtrusive way to go to a new scene, new day, or new thought. Be careful where these are used because they can easily be interpreted the wrong way. If used in the middle of a scene, the viewer will consider this like starting a new chapter in a book within an existing chapter.
  • Fade to white and fade up from white. These work in a more noticeable way and suggest a change in thought, in addition to a change in scene. They are a more modern alternative to the fade to black-fade up from black. But be aware of over-using it as they are more obvious to the viewer.
  • If the content within the transition is important to the story, a visible transition should not be used as it will break the viewer's focus from the information contained within the sequence.

I must use a transition when . . .

1 question
Music, Sound Effects and Narration
7 Lectures 34:01

Some techniques used combining sound and effects. Here are three examples that demonstrate that sound effects with music, is far more powerful than music alone.

Music and Sound Effects. Samples

An extraordinary film that demonstrates the power of sound effects. Sound effects are more effective at storytelling than the video elements of your video. This will help you to never forget that! Watch it if you can.

Beware. Sensitive viewers may not enjoy watching this video.

The power of sound effects

More examples of music and sound effects. Music and freeze frames, narration and music.

Combining music, sound effects and narration

Narration ideas. Examples of narration in the present tense. Also, lighthearted narration can lift the story and give it a feel of being in the present.


It's always better to show, than tell. If you say something, either trough narration of commentary, that must be matched by the images, cutting pace and feel of the video. If they differ, the audience won't know how to feel about the story.

Show versus tell

Still images can be used disguised and seamless with the video images, or, in this example, they can be presented as still images for their own sake. In this case, they were so beautiful they were to be displayed as the fine are of still photography, within this, a episode in a TV series.

Use of still images

A very common mistake when making a video, particularly a short-form type, is to maintain one unchanging pace throughout. This is a sure way to send the audience into dreamland. Vary the pace, and use the techniques shown to do this. It keeps the content interesting. This is particularly valuable for subjects that are a little dull, and need spicing up a bit.

Pace. Guidelines on how set a pace within your videos

1 question

Using sound effects
1 question
5 Lectures 31:32

Tips on being an interesting and entertaining presenter. A dull presenter is a recipe for a very boring an unsuccessful video.

Be a presenter

Some examples of presenting to camera that keeps the audience engaged and entertained.

Presenter Examples

I have a large and successful YouTube Channel. (About 4 million views per year, and 20 000 subscribers as of March 2015) While no expert on the matter, here are some things I have learnt.

Creating a YouTube Channel for success

The right software for editing video is vital as many are just not good enough, even for the first time beginner. Be especially aware of free software, especially if it is labelled 'Professional'. In some cases, not only is it unsuitable for professionals, its also no good for beginners. Words are just labels to attract buyers.The video editing software industry is huge, and for a reason: good software costs a lot to produce. Poor editing software will lead to frustration, and if you are just starting your editing career, start with a chance of success by avoiding cheap editing software. It just isn't worth it.

Editing software and hardware

Thank you so much for doing my course. I hope it was valuable learning for you.

Conclusion, summary and intro to the Shooting for Storytelling course
About the Instructor
Andrew St.Pierre White
4.4 Average rating
807 Reviews
3,581 Students
4 Courses
TV Broadcast Professional

Andrew St Pierre White is a broadcaster, writer and presenter, with 38 years in TV, film and publishing. He is also a published author with over 16 book titles and his YouTube channel has over 12 million views and over 59 000 subscribers.

  • Included in his resume as director and photographer are over 80 TV documentaries, many of which have been on major TV networks. He's edited hundred of TV commercials and won several top international editing awards.
  • He's an award winning author, married to a NY Times bestselling author.
  • He's also a passionate and involved teacher.