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How to Edit YouTube Videos for High Engagement

How to Edit YouTube Videos for High Engagement

Making a good video for YouTube isn’t about
flashy special effects or custom animations. In fact, no fancy camera, software or trick
is going to make you the next YouTube star. But if you’re a beginner and you want to learn
how to edit videos for YouTube, I’m going to show you the exact workflow we use to drive
what really matters to gain traction on this platform. Engagement. Stay tuned [music] What’s up creators? Sam Oh here with Ahrefs, the SEO tool that
helps you grow your search traffic, research your competitors and dominate your niche. Now, if you came here to learn fancy tricks,
that’s not what this video is about. YouTube’s entire platform is built on how
well you can engage your audience. And editing your YouTube videos properly is
a proxy to higher engagement. Here’s a quick overview of the video editing,
production, and collaboration tools we use. Adobe Premiere, Adobe After Effects, Adobe Audition, QuickTime Player, and Dropbox. Now, you can obviously use alternative tools
like Final Cut Pro instead of Premiere or Filmora instead of QuickTime. I just find that these tools work really well
together. With that said, let’s jump into the 10-step
process we use at Ahrefs to create engaging videos for YouTube. The first step is to add all audio and visual
assets to your Premiere Project. So I’ve already recorded the video here and
added it to a separate Dropbox folder. So as we work on the project, it’ll start
syncing to the cloud since there are two people who work on each of our projects. Next, I’ll set up a new project in Premiere
called 1. And I’ll just enter in the name of the video. Now, I’ll create a new “bin” and drop in the
raw footage as well as a new folder called “Assets,” which has sound effects and visual
assets we use for nearly every video. Step 2 is to clean and enhance your audio. Bad audio equals a bad video. For example, if you listen carefully, you’ll
hear buzzing in the background. That’s my desktop. But remove the noise and you have cleaner
audio. To do this with your video, right click on
the video file in Premiere, hover over “Edit” in Adobe Audition, and select clip. This will create a new audio file in Premiere
and open up Audition with just the extracted audio. Now, zoom in and select a portion of the audio
where the noise is constant and isolated. Then select “Effects”, “Noise Reduction,” and “Capture Noise Point.” Next, click on “Effects”, “Noise Reduction,” and select “Noise Reduction Process.” By confirming this effect, you’ll remove any
“noise” that sounds similar to the point you captured. So in my case, my desktop fan. You can create the same effect in a free audio
tool called Audacity, but I prefer to work in Audition since it integrates with Premiere. Finally, we add a little effect to my voice
because it sounds dull without it. I have a preset with some Parametric Equalizer
and Hard Limit effects added. So I’ll apply the settings and now I sound
like Asian Barry White. There’s no use in going through these exact
settings because it’ll depend on your voice. Play around with the settings and see what
sounds best for your video. Cool. So we’ll save this. And the final step for audio is to merge the original
video file with the new edited audio. Just click both files, right-click, and select
“Merge Clips.” Now you’ll want to make sure that you synchronize
from the “In Points” and remove the audio from the original audiovisual clip. This will replace the old audio with the new
and you should now have a nice sounding video. Let’s move on to step 3, which is to cut out
all mistakes from the video. For our videos, the raw video is usually double
the length of the final video. Oftentimes it’s because I repeat lines in
a different tone. So if you’re as picky as I am, then you’ll
have to cut out a lot from your raw video clips, which can be time-consuming and frustrating. Alright, so I need to remove all of the mistakes
that I made or choose the best versions of certain sentences spoken. So I’ll usually look at the audio waves to
get an idea of where these mistakes are. And there are big gaps with no audio, then
it’s easy to identify that as a place to cut. So I’ll select this part, and cut it using
a Premiere shortcut. You can just Google for Premiere shortcuts
because it’ll differ between Mac and PC. Now, what I see a lot of people do when they
edit videos is they don’t pay attention to the audio gap between the last sentence and
the next sentence. For example, you’ll see that there’s a bit
of a gap here. We want the video to flow naturally, but we
don’t there be an awkward pause between the two cuts. So I’ll actually cut a bit of the part where
I’m taking a breather, which creates better flow and keeps the video moving. Clean up all cuts for your entire video and
by the end, you should have a raw version of what your video will look and sound like. Alright, step 4 is to record the screencast,
or for vloggers, that might be to record b-roll. Since we create how-to videos specifically
on SEO and digital marketing, I use screencasts to better illustrate concepts and strategies. At this stage, the only thing we’re doing
is recording a screencast over the audio and we’ll deal with effects and cuts in the next
few steps. The point is that having a screencast as well
as a talking head lets you select between two different types of footages, so you can choose which one is most appropriate for your final product. Now, if you’re vlogging, it might not make
sense to use screencasts, but I highly recommend using b-roll. Now, rather than recording completely random
b-roll clips after you’ve created your video, you’ll want to plan these ahead of time. Since our videos are mostly scripted, I use
Google Docs and add comments where I think b-roll would be effective. Like in this video, I’m talking about how
I hack golf, life, and traffic. More footage gives you more
options when editing your videos. Use screencasts to make concepts super clear, add b-roll as a way to connect with your audience through relatable real-life visuals. Best of all, these work well even if you’re
in a so-called “boring” industry like SEO. Step 5 is to sync your other footage with
your talking head. There’s not much to say here. Since I record the audio on top of the screencasts,
I basically just match up the audio waves from the screencast with the talking head. There are some tips and tricks to do this
using “syncing” features, but I find it easiest to just compare the two audio wave tracks,
and then match them up until they sound similar. From here, it’s just a matter of showing the
screencast when it’s most effective and to show the talking head where it doesn’t make
sense to show the screencast. Let’s move on to step 6, which I think is
one of the most important steps in the editing process. And that’s to “close the gaps.” After you’ve edited your talking head with
a screencast or additional footage, your project is going to have gaps. When the gap is too large, it might be a sign
that you’re talking too much or staying on the same screen for an unnecessarily long
time. And unless you’re an engaging speaker, people
will often get bored. For example, in this video, I have nearly
a one-minute long conclusion recapping everything that I talked about. So this is something that should have been
condensed. Other drop off points were mostly my voice
talking over a screencast where nothing was really going on. So I created the gap system. Here’s how it works. As you can see, I’ve already gone through
all of step 4 and 5 and made the necessary cuts to my screencast and talking head. Now, pay attention to the gaps. It seems like there’s quite a bit of talking
head action going on, and to me, it doesn’t make sense to throw in a screencast clip just to fill in these gaps. So I’ll fill it with other elements that make
sense. So that might be a text screen, b-roll, or
sometimes a custom animation. There isn’t a general rule of how small these
gaps should be, but the key takeaway is that you want to keep the flow of the video moving. Alright, we’re just about done the main parts
of the video, so let’s polish it off with step 7, which is to add jump cuts. A jump cut is a transition between two shots
from the same position. It creates the effect of the scene “jumping,”
hence, the name, “jump cut.” It’s a simple way to add dynamics to a video
and help make mistakes look polished. For example, before every video begins, I
say, “stay tuned” and twirl my finger. A jump cut is used to create a sense of movement
or beginningness to the video. Or if I were to say something like: “but there
is one thing that you have to do when making a peanut butter sandwich – add bananas.” Adding the jump cut adds emphasis to the point that I’m making. To add a jump cut in Premiere, just increase
the scale of the clip. Since our original video is in 4K and downscaled
to 1080P, I’ll change it to 53.5, and then I’ll adjust the position by moving the horizontal
and vertical positions until it’s in a good place. The last thing that I’ll do before I hand
this off to our awesome animator is step 8, which is to add “production” notes for the
real expert. Our animator is awesome! He can literally make any idea that I have
come to life. But he’s a not a marketer by trade. So adding production notes is a great way
to create an intersect between design and marketing. Now at this point, I’ve already reviewed the video
in full at least two times. Once for editing the talking head, and another
for the screencast. But I’m actually going to watch the video
now, and anytime I want to show something on the screen, I am going to make a note for our animator. For example, I think it would make sense to
put brackets around the gaps or fill it in with some other color. So I’ll add a marker, and say, “add a rectangle
or fill in the gaps with a color to show that the gap exists.” And I’ll change the marker color to orange
since we’ve created a color-coded system for different types of animations. Then I’ll do that for the entire video, and
here’s what the final project will look like with markers, cuts, and all. Step 9 is to add all of your effects and animations. And I really wish I could give you more details
on this, but our animator literally just gets down to business and sends me back a polished
video, which is a huge reason why I get messages and comments like this. His tool of choice is Adobe After Effects,
so if you like some of the effects we use, search for videos related to After Effects
or watch the one that I have linked up here to dig deeper. Let’s move on to Step 10, which is to review
the final video and add the finishing touches. So at this point, I watch the video and make
sure that all of the notes were done correctly, look for inaccuracies, typos, or sloppy transitions. But as I do this, I’m not looking at the marker
notes that I made. And the reason for this is because what I originally visioned isn’t always going to be the best result. As I go through the video, I’ll review every
second of it and see if my eyes gravitate to the places that I want our viewers to look. If I start getting bored, then I pause and
consider things we can add, remove or change to the video to enhance engagement. Now, if something seems confusing to me, then
how confusing is it going to be for someone who’s never heard of SEO or our toolset? And we recently started using Dropbox’s awesome
integration for videos and comments. It basically adds a timecode at each place
and lets us feed off each other. The point of this step is to clean up any
loose ends and make sure that the video is the best that it can be. After he’s made the revisions, I’ll review
it one last time to ensure everything is on point and that we’re both happy with the video
we’ll be publishing. Now, you might be thinking that our video editing
process is overkill. But at Ahrefs, we prefer to focus on the quality
of our content and production over quantity. Now, if you enjoyed this video, then make
sure to like, share and subscribe, and I highly recommend digging through some of our videos
if you want to learn more about SEO, video marketing, and digital marketing. So until the next video, keep grinding away,
and I’ll see you in the next tutorial.

36 comments found

  1. Hi Sam, once again, funny timing! I was watching watching your videos the other night and thought I might use your video intro video style as inspriation for upcoming ones I'll be making.

    For example, your intro style: Short clip introducing the topic, then logo/branding intro clip. then to the main content. Clear, to the point, and I would think the engagement is very good, too.


  2. Very detail workflow explanation. Thanks a lot.
    Just wanna make career development channel with indonesian language

  3. 'Asian Barry White' – that put a badly needed smile on my face. Thank you. Really useful video too, as always. Btw, I find Auphonic also does a great job of cleaning up and normalising audio.

  4. OK, we were JUST talking about this. I'm clearly commenting before I've watched the video but I'm SO very excited about it, haha.

  5. Please do more videos about editing
    This is an important burden for many people to start their channel and use your other videos
    I for example 🙂

  6. hi i record videos from mobile. So i go with 16:9 ratio. But it makes empty space on both sides so but should i do.

  7. It was about time …… excellent video!!!!! I have a small channel we cannot get afford AP yet. But sure with this video we will improve A lot the quality as you do it on Ahrefs.👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍

  8. Thanks for your Video Sam .
    I used to edit my Videos Using Filmora Video Editor . Because it is Light Weight and have All Functions Related to Video Editing . 💖

  9. Hey!

    There is someone trying to duplicate your video to promote SEO group buy tools

    Check the link above and take necessary action immediately.

    Your true follower 🙂

  10. Make a video to make documentation images for blogs with best free resources… And how the pictures will capture readers engagement…

  11. Great video! Have you heard of It makes what you mentioned Dropbox lets you do for video feedback a lot easier. Plus they have a really nice Adobe Premiere integration that I think you’d love 🙌🏼

  12. @0:09 Love this channel's humor. They don't take themselves too serious, even though they are as serious as it gets when it comes to SMM tools.

  13. Max, my dear first future subscriber 🙂 I can't even watch my video, let alone edit the bi*ch 🙂 Crossing youtube off my to do list for now. Feel free to check out my written content for your daily dose of skincare though 😄

  14. Great stuff. I use FCPX and between Pixel Film Studios, Videohive, and LenoFX, there are enough low-cost graphic templates to get some great animations. Just a technical point: a jump cut is what you're starting out with. It's when the camera angle remains the same but the action changes. What you're creating by zooming in is a push in. You're essentially making it look like you were shooting with two cameras. Really doesn't matter but just a technical note.

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