Before You Begin Video Editing

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Video editing doesn't have to be difficult or complicated, but it does require the right equipment. Get started the right way with this beginners' guide to video editing.

Video Editing Computer

Video editing doesn't require an expensive computer, especially if you're a beginner. You'll need a decent monitor and video card, which come installed on most new computers. If you have an older computer, check it against your video editing software specifications to make sure it will work for video editing.

Unfortunately, many older computers simply aren't fast enough for it, and you'll need to upgrade your whole system.

Video Editing Software

Choosing video editing software can be daunting. There are many types of video editing software, all at different prices and offering different features. If you're new to video editing, I recommend starting with free video editing software, either Movie Maker or iMovie, which come pre-installed on new PCs and Macs.

Video Editing Accessories

Before beginning a video project, make sure there is enough space on your computer to save all of the files. One hour of full-quality DV footage, like you get from a mini-DV camcorder, takes up nearly 13 GB of hard drive space. If your computer's internal hard drive can't store all of the footage, buying an external drive is an easy solution.

You'll also need several cords, generally Firewire or USB, to make sure that your computer, hard drive, and camera can all communicate. Different computers and cameras accept different connectors, so check your manuals before buying anything.

Prepare Footage for Video Editing

Before you can begin editing, you'll need some video footage to work with.

Most programs accept a variety of formats for video editing, as long as they are digital.

If you shot your video with a modern camcorder, using the mini-DV format, it should be easy to import the footage. If you want to edit analog video, such as something on a VHS tape, you'll need to convert it to a digital format before you can import for video editing.

Video Editing Tutorials

We have tutorials for some of the most popular video editing programs, including iMovie, Movie Maker and Final Cut Pro. Most video editing programs also offer lessons and guides to get you started video editing.

Video Editing Tips

No matter what video editing program you use, there are some tips and tricks that will improve your video editing. Having the right computer, software and accessories is essential, but in the end great video editing will come from practice and patience. Have fun!