Guide to Editing Video

Most folklorists want to not only archive video footage, but also share it online or with their constituents. However, raw video footage from your archive is not the ideal way to share your hard work. At the least, some basic editing should happen — trimming the beginning and end, adding some contextual titles (artist name, location, some basic explanations), and cutting out extraneous content.

We recommend using Adobe Premiere Pro or Adobe Premiere Elements for video editing (see p. 5 for more information on these programs and other options). These are both non-linear editing (NLE) programs and will work on either Mac or PC platforms. They allow you to edit based on a timeline and stack different types of content on top of each other. They are also non-destructive editing systems, meaning that the edits you make are not permanent; if you crop part of a video, you can recover the cut portion at a later point.

Basic guide to editing with Premiere Pro (PP)

This is not meant to be a comprehensive how-to, but rather an introduction to the steps:

  1. Create a new project, saving this file in a production folder. When it prompts you for a new sequence, choose the settings that match your video content. For example, AVCHD > 1080p > AVCHD 1080p24.
  2. Import your video content into the “project” window box.
  3. Drag the video clips you want onto the timeline. Video will be on the top and audio on the bottom. Rearrange the blocks of content as desired.
  4. Use the “Selection Tool” (pointer on left) to crop or trim the beginning or end of each clip on your timeline, or to move the clips around the timeline. Use the “Razor Tool” (middle) to slice a clip in the middle, so you can manipulate each section separately. Tools
  5. Create a new title by going to Title > New Title > Default Still… This will bring you to a blank titler, where you can add text, add background colors, add shapes, and much more. Once you close out of the titler, drag your title from the project window to the timeline.
  6. If you have photos or other audio (like a music soundtrack), you can also import them into the project window and drag them onto your timeline. Keep in mind that you are creating layers from the top down, so whatever video/photo/title block is on top is the one that will appear on the top of your final video.Premiere
  7. Normalize your audio track to bring all your levels to a standard level (generally -0.1 dB).
  8. Once you’re finished making all adjustments, render the video (Sequence > Render Entire Work Area).
  9. Export your video (File > Export > Media…). For online use, select Format “H.264” and Preset “YouTube 1080p.”

Some helpful tips:

  1. When you import content into Premiere Pro, you are simply pointing PP to the location of those files on your computer. You are not actually moving content into the PP project. This means that if you move the location of your original video files, PP is not going to be able to find them, and will give you an error. It’s best to set up the folder structure of your production and video files before you begin a new PP project.
  2. If you record video and audio separately, or have multiple video angles of the same shot, and need to sync the audio to the video, Plural Eyes is a fantastic software tool. It will sync your audio and video and export the tracks to Premiere Pro.
  3. You can zoom in with the same little mountain icons as Prelude. You can also make the video or audio tracks higher vertically by clicking and dragging on the left side.