VIDEO MAXIMUS Part 5: Editing Video

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This is part 5 in a 7-part series of articles examining how a nonprofit organization with a small staff and limited budget can successfully delve into video, and utilize it in a variety of powerful ways to achieve multiple goals. See if it doesn’t get you thinking about Video Production for your organization. Access the previous entry here.


Once you’ve got all your footage “in the can” (camera), then it’s time to get it onto your computer, edit it and get it out into the world.

As mentioned earlier in this series, I almost always carve up the footage of an event into separate videos, one for each speaker. I do this for a number of reasons. One practical factor is this allows me to work with smaller video files on my computer. But the most important reason for doing this is that individual videos offer much greater promotional opportunities. In promoting each video separately, you can focus on the important points each speaker makes. Those individual videos are also much more likely to get promoted by the speakers and their organizations.

Many events lends themselves naturally to this concept. If you think about it, what are press conferences, panel discussions or awards ceremonies, but a series of people, each bringing a unique perspective to a theme? Take the awards ceremony, for example: you have a Master of Ceremonies making introductory remarks. Then they introduce someone who is going to introduce an awardee. That person speaks about the awardee. Then the award recipient speaks about their work and receiving the award.   It’s a similar breakdown with a panel discussion: a moderator introduces the panel and topic, then they proceed to each taking turns talking for some block of time, followed by a Q&A. And once again, it is practically the same format with a press conference. These events are naturally comprised of individual segments that are best represented and promoted via individual videos for each speaker.

For the actual editing, I use a very inexpensive video editing program called VideoPad Video Editor. But there are many programs you can use. Most of them function pretty much the same way, with the screen divided into 3 essential sections. One section is where you manage all of the various “elements” of the video you are creating: the video files, still images, audio files, etc. Another section is a timeline where you put all the various elements together, cutting video, moving them around, overlaying text or audio, etc. The final section is where you can test run your work to see how it will look as a finished product.

For the most basic video, here are some things you can do to give it a professional look:

Add a branded intro. One easy way to do this is to create a new video file, add your organization’s logo, set it to display for a few seconds, and then add some special effect to it, like a horizontal swipe, or a fade. You might even add some audio. Make sure the file is just a few seconds long, and save it. Later, when you are working on your event videos, you can insert this branded intro at the beginning of each video.

Likewise, a branded outro. This would include whatever text you’d like to end each of your organization’s videos with (such as a reference to your website).

These “intros” and “outros” can be used on all videos produced for your organization. But each event might need its own additional intro and outro, which you can prepare the same way as described above. For these video clips, you might create a clip with a photo of people at the event, with the title, date and location of the event superimposed.

When you are ready to produce an event video, you insert your main organizational intro vide into the timeline first. Then add the event intro video segment. Then you can add the clip of the first speaker, followed by the event outro, and the main organizational outro clip. At that point, you essentially have the entire video finished in the timeline.

Fine Tuning

A few seconds into the speaker’s talk, it is customary to place a subtitle on the screen showing the person’s name and affiliation that fades out after a few seconds. How long the subtitle needs to be on the screen will depend on how much text is involved. You can experiment with it, watching the output and making necessary adjustments.

It is also customary to use transitions between segments of video. For example, you might fade out your logo “intro” and fade into the first speaker. Having one clip fade out as another fades in is called a “cross fade” and is very easy (just a couple of clicks) to setup in your video editing program. Generally, cross fades are also used between scenes involving the same person talking – in other words, if you are connecting two clips of the same person talking, you can use a cross fade between clips, which blurs the point where the film is cut and makes it less disruptive to the flow.

There are many types of transitions you can experiment with – swipes, fades, and special effects. It’s really up to you.

Going Beyond Basic

It is also not very difficult to add elements to your video such as music, narration, and more, to really give your video a professional quality and help tell your story. We’ll get to those ideas in a later series, but for now it is good to simply strive to achieve quality in the video you are producing now, and plan to build upon that skill and knowledge as you go along.


The articles in this series, and others relating to nonprofit social media, can be accessed at

My company is called SocialNet Works, LLC, & our motto is “Helping Faith-Related Nonprofits Gear for Growth through Social Media.” We provide all of the video services described in this series, as well as offer training to in-house staff on the same practices.