Essential Rules for Shooting and Editing Video


1. Make sure you are getting good sound. Video is 51 percent audio.

2. Get steady shots. Use a tripod when possible.

3. Get more interviews than you think you need. At least two are required for assignment.

4. Frame your interview using rule-of-thirds.

5. Get soundbites that describe what is happening and why audience should care.

6. Shoot in sequences. Make sure you have the five required shots (WS, MS, CU, PoV, RS).

7. Get more b-roll than you think you need. But don’t go overboard.

8. Avoid pans and zooms. If you use one, you should know exactly why you use it.

9. Pay attention to light and shadows.


1. Use one computer. One editing program. Back up project on an external hard drive. Save all of your clips.

2. Log your clips. Transcribe your soundbites. Storyboard before you start editing.

3. Audio before visuals. Build your story around audio (soundbites, natural sound).

4. Start with action. Make sure you have a good opening shot.

5. Your story angle should be clear in the first 20 seconds of your video.

6. Cut on action. Start the cut at the beginning of the action. End the cut at the end of action.

7. Cut on the rest. Make the cut when the subject stops.

8. Avoid cutting during pans, zooms and tilts.

9. Avoid jump cuts.

10. Use cross dissolve and fade to black transitions sparingly.

11. Use lower thirds (full names and occupation/role) rather than “My name is…”

12. Make sure you have a closing shot.




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