Video Editing

Tell a story with editing

Editing is much more than learning how to use edit software. Editing is also about which choices you make to tell your story.

I created the following videos to show you how to edit two common video projects for TV news.

Common mistakes to avoid

One of the most common mistakes beginner editors make is choosing the wrong transition. Adobe Premiere Pro has a long list of transition options, but most of the time, you’re better off with a basic cut. When in doubt, cut.  

Some transitions, like slow dissolves and dips to black, can create a somber mood in your video. But these must be used thoughtfully and sparingly. Here is an example of poor use of a dip to black transition.

I watched this video while working at WTTA and really wanted to air it, but I chose not to, simply because of the dips to black. There are way too many and they’re very distracting. The transitions take people away from the story when they should be used to pull them in.

Remember to always have a specific reason for using transitions and effects. Moderation is key.

Jump cut

Many beginners will make the mistake of not covering their jump cuts. A jump cut happens when you shoot an interview with your camera in the same spot, edit a few sound bites together back-to-back, and don’t cover cuts in your a-roll with b-roll.

When you edit sound bites together, you want to cover those jump cuts because they reveal a lapse in continuity. I encourage you to use at least three pieces of b-roll in a row to cover jump cuts so that it’s not jarring and obvious that you’re just patching up the video. It helps when you shoot a lot of b-roll because you’ll want a variety to choose from so covering jump cuts looks like an intentional and artistic decision.

But what do you do in the real world when you have two hours to shoot and edit your entire video? You may get to your computer and realize you don’t have nearly enough b-roll but you have to cover your jump cuts. One way to “cheat” is to zoom/scale in on your frame and mix up the shot as much as you can. The shot should be 30 percent different for it to pass.

Here’s an example of an interview that starts with a medium shot. The camera didn’t move or zoom during the interview. I had to zoom in on Adobe Premiere Pro to create the illusion of having moved the camera so I could avoid jump cuts:

For news videos, avoid jump cuts at all costs. But some editors can use jump cuts creatively for a film like you see here in the “Royal Tenenbaums.”

Starting out in Adobe Premiere Pro

Click this link for a PDF to walk you through editing and exporting in Adobe Premiere Pro: Premier CC 2015 help guide 

Adobe also has a great website that teaches you how to use their products:

These helpful Adobe Premiere Pro tutorials teach you what Premiere does and how you can use it:  

Editing 4K video? I suggest using a proxy file since 4K can be a bit much for an average computer to handle. Check out a video and steps to make your edit more efficient:

Image stabilizer

I highly suggest you check out Adobe’s image stabilizer tutorial because it will teach you how to add an effect to your shaky video to make it appear smoother. This is particularly helpful when you’re editing mobile video.


There are thousands of tutorials on YouTube, so if you ever want to learn a new technique, just search for the keywords. Here are some of my favorites:



Text Effects

For cool After Effect templates go here:

Video Effects

Audio Effects

Time Savers


Other Cool Tutorials

If you find a great tutorial, share it in the comment section.

Mobile Editing

There are more mobile editing applications now than ever before. Adobe Premiere also has an app for editing video on your phone or table called “clip.”

I also encourage you to experiment with mobile editing apps like Videolicious.

Adobe After Effects

Another great tool to making your videos look great is Adobe After Effects.

Here’s a beginner’s tutorial:

Here’s one example of how to step up your transitions with After Effects:

USF Digital Media Commons Tutorials

In addition to these tutorials, you can also find free tutorials and in-person help at the USF Digital Media Commons. Click here for more information.

Published by JeanetteAbrahamsen

I am an instructional designer and TV news instructor at the University of South Florida. My passion for innovating learning led me to pursue my PhD in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Instructional Technology. I love creating media to enhance eLearning and foster online engagement. I teach students to create multimedia stories for broadcast, web and social media platforms. I lead the Florida Focus class where students produce daily news shows that air on Tampa's PBS station. My reporting classes collaborated with Tampa's NPR station to produce award-winning stories. I am an Emmy Award-winning journalist. I produced thousands of hours of TV news in some of America's largest media markets at Tampa's NBC station, San Diego's ABC station and the San Diego Union-Tribune. I also produced immersive 360-degree virtual tours at the University of South Florida and reported for Hashtag Our Stories.

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