Edit video with OpenShot

Apps & Software

Especially after the summer holidays, editing videos is a job that quite a few people are faced with. If only to get all the superfluous material from the shot holiday films. You do not need to charge this activity thanks to the open source video editor OpenShot. And with these tips, it is not that difficult anymore.

Tip 01: Install

OpenShot is a versatile video editor with the friendly operation, which makes it an excellent alternative to Windows Movie Maker. Pleasant side effect: you can choose versions for Windows, Linux, and macOS. The installation is straightforward and has no annoying options with advertising malware. The first time you start the program, a short introduction appears. In the first step it is possible to change the default option Yes, I want to improve OpenShot! to turn off. This prevents you from sending usage data to the creators if you are very fond of your privacy. Go through the introduction and the fun can begin.

Tip 02: Import

Firstly, a video file must be imported into OpenShot, for example from your smartphone, digital photo camera or, of course, an equally digital video recorder. However, these films must first be transferred to the PC. For this, you walk the usual way, whether or not helped by software supplied with the device. Use the Windows Explorer to browse to the folder where the video files have been saved. Click on a file and drag it to the left window – under Project files – of OpenShot.

Tip 03: Filmstrip

The clips are now imported into OpenShot. To really do something about video editing, drag them – in the desired order – to the timeline at the bottom of the screen. It does not matter in which ‘track’ you put the clips in succession. So basically take the upper one (Track 4), otherwise, you might continue to scroll back and forth. First, place two clips neatly behind and against each other. Then we immediately add a ‘start effect’ in the form of a zoom-in. To do this, right-click on the first inserted fragment. In the opened context menu click Animation / Start of fragment / Zoom / Zoom in (50% to 100%). Of course, you can also use one of the many other available effects.

Tip 04: Preview

You can view the added effect directly. Click on the play button below the preview panel. Remember that the preview may be slightly less fluid than later in the final film. In the preview image, you see live applied effects. If you have a somewhat slower PC and/or video card, you may have an image (frame) here and there. In addition to the playback/pause button, there are a few more buttons below the sample video. The left-most and right-hand yellow copies serve to quickly jump to the beginning or end of the content on the filmstrip. The white ‘double triangles’ ensure forward or backward play. Repeatedly clicking one of these buttons allows for fast playback. Too fast? Then click on the opposite button to slow down the case again.

Tip 05: Transition

A hard transition between clips can sometimes be beautiful, but often not. Certainly not if both clips are not completely related to each other. If you want a softer transition, you can choose from a range of effects. Click on Transitions above the filmstrip. Often the simplest effects are the most beautiful, such as fading. It provides a quiet view that does not give the viewer a headache. But if you want to indulge yourself, you can: psychedelic effects enough. To set a transition effect between two clips, first, drag an effect to the end of the first clip and then the same effect to the beginning of the next. In other words: if you want to make fade to black at the end of a clip, then you drag the block Faded towards the end of the first clip.

Drag this Fade effect wider or narrower to extend the effect. By default, Fade is set to fade in. To fade slowly to black, click the added effect in the filmstrip with the right mouse button. Click on reverse transition in the context menu. Now drag the Fade effect from the transition panel to the next block again. Drag it to the desired length. This time you do not have to choose a reverse transition, because we want to fade in and that is the standard behavior of this effect. The end result is now that the image slowly turns black at the end of the first clip and the item If you want a softer transition, you can choose from a range of effects.

Tip 06: Crossfade

If you want to make a real ‘crossfade’, then more creativity is needed. Drag the video clip to a track lower, for example from Track 4 to Track 3. Make sure it overlaps slightly with the previous clip. Also, drag the Fade effect (or another) back to the beginning of this moving clip. You have now created a good crossover.

Tip 07: Save project

You have already done quite a few things in the software. Time to save the project. In the menu File on Save project. Give your project a name and keep it in a folder where you can find it again. Note: you do not save the movie yet! This is purely the description of the whole. It is therefore important to ensure that the source clips remain in the folder from which you have also added them from the Explorer.

Only when the project is completely finished and you are sure that you do not want to change anything, you can delete or move the source files. And only after rendering and saving the final video. We will come back to this in detail. Furthermore, in the folder where you save the project file, there is also a folder with the name thumbnails created. You must leave that folder too. Even if you have saved your project on the desktop, for example, .age of the next clip slowly becomes visible.

Tip 08: Better filming

This video editor is especially useful for shortening fragments. Often there is a strange movement at the beginning and end of a recording from the loose hand. Golden tip when filming: take care of some rest at the beginning and the end of a recording. Either: keep the camera stationary for a second or three and then start moving. That makes editing the video clips a lot easier afterward. Transitions also look more beautiful when the image is not moving, in which the camera does not move. For example, the pans are very nice but keep the camera at the end of such a pan. Moving directly from a pan to a next fragment often looks ugly.

Tip 09: Shorten

Shortening – also called “trimming” – of a video clip is simple. Move your mouse to the beginning or end of a video block on the timeline, up to the point where the cursor changes into two opposite horizontal arrows. You can now drag the block to the desired length with the left mouse button. In the preview window, you can see exactly where you are going to cut. If you have cut the block to length and removed the superfluous items, you will see that a possibly succeeding block is a bit further.

The resulting black space between the two blocks is not good, as it also produces a black image during that time. Put all subsequent (or previous) blocks neatly closed again. Do you have multiple blocks including effects spread over different tracks, then it is important to first select all the blocks to be moved. This can be done by clicking the Control-click. Then drag the entire selection to close. It is also possible with the mouse a selection frame to drag all the blocks to move, just what you find more comfortable. If everything is properly connected again, the operation is successful.

In the first instance you do not need the sound: first, the image must be in order

Tip 10: Effects as last

A very practical tip for video editing in OpenShot: first place all video clips in the correct order on the timeline and adjust them in length. Only add (transitional) effects afterward. It means that you have to pay less attention when moving the blocks. And you also do not run the risk of destroying a perfectly placed (transitional) effect because you accidentally have not selected it.

Tip 11: Separate audio

You have undoubtedly noticed that no soundtrack is shown in OpenShot. In the first instance you do not need that either: first, the image must be in order. It is practical to separate image and sound from each other. You can then edit the image and sound independently of each other. You can do this by right-clicking on a video clip in the timeline, and then choosing in the opened context menu for Audio Separation and Single Clip (all channels). You will now see that – after a short wait – a new audio block appears immediately above or below the corresponding video block. Or the video block moves to a track lower or higher, just what is better in terms of placement. For the sake of clarity, we have just set up a new example project.

Tip 12: View audio

From the longer block, the audio is now separated from the image. As a result of two identical blocks on the timeline. But pay attention to the naming: we see IMG_1872.MOV and IMG_1872.MOV (all channels). That last block with the mention all channels is the audio block. Do you want to make that clear, click, right-click the last audio block and in the opened context menu under Display to view audio waveform? You now see a graphical representation of the soundtrack that accompanies the clip.

Tip 13: Fade in and out

Now OpenShot is not a sound processor; For that, you have to move to something like the open source Audacity. However, this video editor does have a few practical tools. For example, fading in or out of the sound is possible. Right-click on the audio block and look in the opened context menu under Volume. There you will find volume options divided into three categories. Under the Beginning of Fragment, you will find the fade option and the Fade option under End of Fragment. Each time you can choose between fast or slow. The volume of the entire clip can be increased or decreased under the Entire clip. There you can also choose to automatically fade in and fade out at the beginning and end respectively. In principle, these are all the tools you need to put video sound in order.

If you have bad or uninteresting sound on a video block, remove it

Tip 14: Music

Adding music is very easy. Drag an audio file (for example, an mp3 or FLAC) to your Project files in OpenShot. Then drag the music from there to an empty track. You can move, trim, and so on the audio track just like any other blocks. For example, if you have poor or uninteresting sound with a certain video block, you can completely remove the sound. Separate sound and image first and then remove the sound block (select and press Delete). Now you only hear the background music. You can see the complete picture above under the heading Audio separation.

Tip 15: Export

When your film is ready, it has to be exported. To do so, click the Export video on the File menu. Enter and file name and select and folder via the Browse button. To be as compatible as possible with a range of playback devices, choose the best behind Aim for MP4 (h.264). Most digital video and still cameras film in Full HD 1080p (interlaced) at 30 frames per second (fps). Choose behind Video profile. If your camera is set differently, you can choose from a long list of other settings. Ensure that the option High is chosen after Quality. Click Export Video. This job can – especially with longer videos – take a while!

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