I transitioned from video editing to being a freelance communication coach in September. I wanted to post a list of resources for video editing before I forgot what resources I found helpful, so I made this post. If you just want to get started, you may be able to just skip to the “Other Resources” header below where I mention some videos that helped me get started editing in Resolve.
The Master List
Learn one thing, do some deliberate practice, get feedback (from another video editor), repeat. Your first few videos probably won’t be that good, but they’ll teach you how to be good if you play it right.
As one of my friends told me to do with public speaking, “Pick one thing, practice that one thing until that one thing becomes automatic, then do it again with something else.“
Most of these suggestions are for DaVinci Resolve, but you may be able to learn from them if you don’t use Resolve.
- Setup folders on your computer and bins in Resolve from a template and/or power bin (Video, Assets, and Audio folders).
- I use human-readable names inside folders named for the month. E.g. August 2023, September 2023, etc. (though 2023 September might be less confusing if you’re going to edit long-term).
- Import the video into the video folder in Resolve.
- Import any assets into the asset folder.
- Create a new timeline with a human readable name you’ll recognize later.
- Turn on voice isolation (in the Studio version) and/or apply compression with a 5db make-up gain and -15 db threshold (adjust these numbers to match the person in the video). Make sure the compression switch is red (on).
- Watch through the video looking for big sections or phrases to cut.
- Look for phrases they repeat because they thought of a better way to say it, cut all but the best (usually the last). Leave in phrases repeated for emphasis unless you need to keep it to a certain time limit.
- Go back through again and edit little verbal mistakes and filler words, but don’t sacrifice the flow of the video to cut small mistakes. Flow is more important.
- Leave short pauses, cut uncomfortably long pauses (unless they really need the audience to spend some time to think about it).
- Trim a little more fluff as needed.
- Ask another editor to give you feedback on the video.
- Upload and schedule it on YouTube.
- Look at how it looks on YouTube.
- The title occupies the bottom part of the video YT Shorts so anything at the very bottom of the video won’t be visible, you can use the grid feature in Resolve to make sure any graphics are above that threshold.
Set them up how you like them so they make sense for you.
A video editing friend setup his Resolve shortcuts so his left hand is always on the keyboard and his right hand is always on the mouse. If you’re planning on editing a lot, it’s worth at least trying to use these keyboard settings (you can just import them):
DISCLAIMER: I haven’t actually used them. This was after my time.
Settings and other Materials
What settings to use (this is easy to skip, but something as simple as setting the wrong cache folder can mess you up later): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6o0LLsRLEA
This shows you how to access the backup settings: https://youtube.com/watch?v=-gTORR3qcpA
You’ll want to enable Live Save, Project Backups, and Timeline Backups. Eventually you’ll mess something up or your computer will freeze and you’ll want to be able to restore from a backup.
If you’re doing YT Shorts, make sure that you have a vertical resolution set in both the project and export settings.
DaVinci Resolve for noobs (a YT Shorts series): https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLsVDy3wGxbDA-pvAT1eH2_khEe0lDe90e
The crash course for using Resolve (the Edit and Fairlight pages are probably the most important): https://youtube.com/watch?v=h9MrEaELl2M
Install the free Magic Animate tool for easy animations: https://youtube.com/watch?v=gvGB3M7Xmo0
There are some free sound effects available in the Fairlight Sound Library (click on Sound Library when on the Fairlight page). It’s not super extensive, but it’s a decent collection. I think I remember it taking a GB or two of space.
If you have any performance issues (choppy playback on advanced edits, etc. in Resolve), follow this tutorial: https://youtube.com/watch?v=xGOb_9Tv8T8
And if you still have issues, this one too: https://youtu.be/-SUogkvMzbI
And if that doesn’t work, disable proxies and make sure your render cache settings are correct (smart, render every frame). Fusion effect filters aren’t helped by proxies, but can be cached.
And if that doesn’t work, drop your resolution in the project settings, and raise it back up to render (suggested by the creator).
Any other questions you have can probably be answered by:
Some more info for newbies: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xk5479ikMHw
The most important thing is to practice, get feedback, and keep getting better. You can learn the basics for free with the resources I shared above, but if you want to go faster you can buy a course with help. These courses have a Discord community where you can get help from other students and sometimes staff, that was most of the value for me. There’s usually a Black Friday sale:
Here are some free picture/video websites you can use for commercial use:
You otherwise have to be careful about picture/video licensing.
The Noun Project has some affordable icons you can use in anything (note: the images have a different (more restrictive) license): https://thenounproject.com/pricing/
I used Canva Pro (~$15/mo) for YouTube Shorts because their graphics library is extensive and easy to use, but you can’t use Canva graphics for anything that isn’t public because their licensing is dumb: https://www.canva.com/pro/
Storyblocks (~$20/mo): https://www.storyblocks.com/
Envato Elements ($16.50/mo) https://elements.envato.com/pricing
They have different pros and cons. Storyblocks is mostly video and I think Envanto has some pictures as well. Envanto requires you to “report” every project you use, but they do have better/looser terms in general.
Disclaimer: I have not personally used either of these services.
The most important thing is to start editing, get feedback, repeat. These resources can accelerate your progress, but don’t get overwhelmed by how many they are. Take each editing skill one at a time and keep practicing it until it’s automatic, then repeat.