How To Learn 80% Of Video Editing In 15 Minutes

In this video editing tutorial, you're going to learn 80% of video editing inside Adobe Premiere Pro in just 15 minutes. Alex walks you through creating a commercial from the ground up and the 8 steps you need to edit any video!


For those who have not mastered the process of video editing, we have put together this guide that will show you how to leverage just 20% of your effort to edit cinematic videos. 

We’ll get you 80% of the way there in just 15 minutes the rest just come down to practice! Even if you’re a seasoned video editor just one tip you learn in this guide could save you hours! 

The 8 fundamentals of video editing: 

  1. Importing & Organizing Media 
  2. Sifting Through footage 
  3. Finding The Right Song 
  4. Building The Story
  5. Color Correction & Grading 
  6. Motion Graphics 
  7. Sound Design 
  8. Exporting 

Mastering these 8 fundamental steps and the 80/20 mindset will have you staying focused and spending less time on the basics of video editing. Leaving you with more time and energy to keep creating mind-blowing content! 

Step 1: Importing & Organizing Media 

Your organization is critical for keeping your projects safe and easy to find. You will also find your workflow will be much more efficient.  

Firstly, create a new project:

  • Name it 
  • Save it to a location like your hard drive or a folder on your computer.
  • Set up your autosave for 5-minute intervals
  • Create bins to organize your project files.

I like to create a folder specifically for my saves this way it's easy to find all your saves for a project and keep it separate and organized from all your media.

Also, a quick tip that could save you a headache or two, I like to set my autosave to every 5 minutes.

You never know when your editing program decides to just shut down for fun. For Premiere Pro click on Premiere Pro in the top left of your screen > preferences > general > autosave, and set it to 5 minutes. 

Next, create some bins to organize your project files. Create Bins for your Footage, Audio, & Sequences.

Bins help you stay organized a speed up your workflow so you know exactly where your assets are at all times.

You can do this by right-clicking on the project space, and selecting "new bin"

- OR -

By clicking where the arrow is pointing in the image below while in the project panel. 

Your sequence is where you will edit your footage and audio. 

Your sequence is also where you will export your final video. 

Note that you can have multiple sequences, and it is recommended to have at least 2. 

Having one sequence for organizing and cutting, and another for your final project can help speed up your workflow and keep you organized. 

Create a new Sequence by selecting the "new item" but in the project panel. 

You can also stack sequences on top of each other or put them side by side so you can literally drag footage or audio from one sequence to the other, or it helps you copy and paste a little bit quicker. 

When selecting your sequence settings here are the 5 most important settings:

  • Editing Mode 
  • Timebase (frame rate)
  • Frame Size 
  • Pixel Aspect Ratio 
  • Preview Format 

There a many presets where it says "editing mode" up top, but these can often be confusing.

So you can select "custom" for the editing mode and just manually enter your timebase and frame size to keep things simple. 

Here a some of the most common frame sizes. 

  • 3096 x 2160 (4K)
  • 2560 x 1440 (2K)
  • 1920 x 1080 (1080p): This is the most common one at the moment.

Here a some of our favorite and most commonly used sequence settings: 

1. Youtube HD 

  • Timebase (frame rate) = 23.976
  • Frame Size 16x9 = 1920 x 1080 

2. UHD / 4k 

  • Timebase (frame rate) = 23.976
  • Frame Size 16x9 = 2160 x 3840 

3. Instagram HD (Square) 

  • Timebase (frame rate) = 23.976
  • Frame Size 1x1 = 1080 x 1080

*The timebase settings are for your frames per second, and these can change depending on how you want the footage to look or what setting you shot in. We prefer to use 23.976 fps as it gives a more cinematic feel to your video.

For Pixel Aspect Ratio we always choose Square pixel (1.0) 

For Preview File Format we always choose I-Frame Only MPEG

Once you know your most regularly used sequence settings, it's super helpful to create custom presets to save you time when you need to set up a new sequence.

Step 2: Sifting Through footage 

By right-clicking on your Footage bin, you can select Import and then select the location your footage is stored on and import it. Repeat this step for your audio as well.

Once you have imported your footage and audio drag it onto your sequence for sifting and cutting. 

This is where we look through and find the clips that are best for our final production. 

The very basic things we look for: 

  1. Is the shot properly exposed?
  2. Is it in focus?
  3. Does it have smooth movement? 
  4. Is it a good shot?
  5. Does it serve a purpose? 

This is where good preproduction and planning can really help out. Plan, plan, plan out as much as you can beforehand.

Step 3: Finding The Right Song 

Music can make or break your video. Finding a complimentary song is critical to making a video that flows well.

It's important to use royalty-free music or get the proper license if you are using your video for anything other than personal use.

It can be tricky and pricy to license music directly from artists and their management teams, so we love to use music subscription services like Music Bed, Epidemic Sound, Artlist, and Soundstripe to name a few.

This will allow you to legally publish your videos without copyright claims. 

A song will help you structure and pace your edit. Cutting along the beat is one of the easiest ways to create a video that flows seamlessly.

It can help to narrow down a few songs and then put your footage over each song to see what compliments the footage best. 

Step 4: Building The Story

Building a story to follow is one of the most common mistakes beginner filmmakers make. 

Again, pre-production planning and storyboarding are some of the most important things to do. Planning out your shots will make it 10X easier to tell a story instead of trying to piece together a bunch of random clips. 

Here few basic tips to get you started: 

  1. Make sure you are telling a story (not just showing cool shots in a montage) 
  2. Pre-plan and direct your shots. 
  3. Use establishing shots to set the scene. 
  4. Make sure shots flow together. 
  5. Quality over quantity.

Step 5: Color Correction & Grading 

Now that you laid out your clips and have them cut to your music you are almost done just a few more steps to go. 

Next, we can Color Correct & Grade our video clips.  A cinematic video contains natural colors

We suggest having one adjustment layer for correcting the footage, and another adjustment layer for color grading the footage. 

Color Correcting our footage is the first step. Things we correct for could be the color temperature, maybe it's a little too cold, so we would add some warmth to it.

Maybe it's slightly over-exposed so we would bring the exposure down a little bit, or may the highlights in the sky are a bit too bright so we want to bring them down.

Color grading is when we add a stylized look to the footage after it has been corrected

One of the most famous stylized looks is teal & orange. A classic Hollywood look. The greenish-blue teal forms a backdrop and the orange in the foreground. 

They are complementary, which means they are opposite of each other on the color wheel. They complement each other and create contrast when put together. 

Color grading is also where you could add a LUT (Look Up Table) to add that color grade almost instantly.

LUTs are not necessary but can help speed up the processor, and can be a fun way to add other people's look to your videos. 

Keep an eye out next to you sit down to watch a movie you will notice and common color grade throughout the entire film.

Make sure to watch the video at the top if you haven't where Alex shows you how to color correct and grade footage in a matter of minutes starting at 6:40! 

We also have a full tutorial on correcting and grading LOG footage you can find here!

Step 6: Motion Graphics 

Motion Graphics are one way to immediately up the production quality of your video, especially if you are making a video for your business or someone else's.

Adding simple motion to your graphics is one of the easiest steps to making more professional-looking videos. 

You can even use already created motion graphics templates too! One of our favorite resources is Motion Array

Motion graphics can be created within adobe premiere which Alex breaks down in the video above.

In our program 14 Day Filmmaker we break down motion graphics and how we can create more professional-looking graphics in Adobe After Effects. 

Step 7: Sound Design 

Sound design can often be overlooked by beginner editors. Proper sound design can add a whole new dimension to your video. It can help immerse your viewer in the video and make them completely captivated. 

Sound design can be as simple as adding in the atmosphere sound effect of the city, cars honking, birds chirping, the wind blowing, rain falling, and so much more.

You can also get creative by adding sound effects like whooshes, hits, risers, or any other sounds that might help bring life to your videos!

Good sound design should not be overlooked. It's one of those little things that makes a huge difference. The audio is half the experience of watching a video so do not forget about it!

Motion Array and Epidemic Sound are two great resources for sound effects. There are also tons of online resource to find free sound effects like 

Step 8: Exporting

Now it's time to review and export your video! 

Make sure to always review your video, and if possible have a friend or family member take a look before you export it as well.

Review Checklist: 

  1. Make sure video cuts are clean 
  2. Is that sound okay? No peaking or abrupt stops?
  3. Is the color okay? Do the colors look natural?
  4. Does it tell a story? 

To export click, File > Export Media

Now export setting can vary depending on what platform you are sharing on and what resolution you shot in. 

For most people, the preset, High-Quality 1080p HD will get the job done just fine. There is no need to worry about all the different settings when you're starting out. 

3 steps to exporting videos: 

1. Format: H.264 is the most popular format. This format will create a .mp4 which is both high quality and smaller file size than other formats like .mov.

2. Preset: This contains all the possible platform-specific export options. 1080p is the standard HD setting for most platforms. You will likely choose this alongside the intended destination, for example, ‘YouTube 1080p Full HD.’

3. Output Name: You need to make sure you set the export destination and name. If you don’t, you might not be able to find the finished project once it has been exported. Click on the Output name and set your name and saving location.

Then hit Export and BOOM! You're done! 

Conclusion to editing videos in 8 easy steps.

This 8 step process gives us 80% of the results every time, and the rest really comes down to creative touch and practice.

After years of professionally editing videos, our team has learned a few things, to say the least.

We have worked in and created tutorials for the most commonly used editing software like Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, & DaVinci Resolve. What you just learned about can be applied to any editing software

If you're craving more in-depth tutorials on video editing check out 14 Day Filmmaker.

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