Give your videos the look and feel of a professionally edited film (Detailed Guide 2021)

video editing

Got some video footage you’re proud of? We show you how, using Lightworks, to give it some special effects that will make your friends sit up and take notice.

Using the free Lightworks video-editing program is easy, as we showed in our step-by-step guide. Now you can learn how to use some of the more advanced features.

Launch Lightworks. and use the displayed dialogue box to locate and select the project that we began in the last issue and then click the Open button.

If the Import window has been minimised, click the Enlarge button in its toolbar to make it bigger. The previously imported clips are displayed in the window. For larger thumbnails, click the Views toolbar button – the one on the left – and choose ‘tiles’.

To add an imported video to the project, select a thumbnail in the Imports window and then click the Viewer button that appears to the right of the thumbnail itself – this and other buttons appear when the mouse pointer is hovered over a clip.

In the new window that appears, click the third button down to the right (labelled ‘Pop out tile’) and the clip will be added to the Lightworks workspace. When not in use, it is a good idea to keep the Imports window minimised to maximise the space available for working.

We have already shown how clips can be added to a project by dragging them to the Edit window. As videos are added they appear one after the other in the timeline, which should be visible at the bottom of the screen.

To ensure that clips are always added to the end of the project, click the ‘go to end’ button at the very bottom of the screen – this is the right-facing arrow with a vertical line to the right and it is the fifth button – before dragging and dropping a clip into place.

When editing video, it is helpful to make the timeline as large as possible – this makes it easier to mark selections.

Start by moving this window all the way to the left of the workspace by clicking and dragging in the title bar. When done, hover the mouse pointer over the bottom right-hand corner until it turns into a double-headed arrow.

Now resize the timeline by dragging this corner of the window right and down.

Cutting footage from clips is a common requirement. To do this, start by dragging and dropping the red marker in the timeline to the point in the footage that marks the dividing line between what should stay and what should be deleted.

Now click the Delete button (at the bottom of the window).

This splits the clip in two with, in this instance, the unwanted portion to the left. Using the left mouse button, click the unwanted section of the clip and drag it to a blank section of the workspace before releasing the mouse button; this process needs to be repeated for any audio tracks, too.

This will leave a gap in the timeline, but this can be filled by simply dragging and dropping the clips that appear after the edit, so that the clips follow on from each other.

Much the same technique can be used to remove unwanted footage from the end of a clip, but removing footage from the middle of a clip requires two deletion markers – one at the start of the unwanted footage and one at the end.

With these in place, simply drag the section out of the timeline then realign the remaining clips as before.

If wishing to remove superfluous footage from the end of the very last clip in the timeline, position the red playback marker at the relevant point and then click the Remove button at the bottom of the screen – this will remove all footage to right of the current playback point.

The Undo and Redo button to the upper-right of the timeline in case mistakes are made.

Working with special effects is one of the most interesting aspects of video-editing and it is something that Lightworks handles very well. There are a number of built-in effects that can be used to improve the appearance of footage.

Start by positioning the playback marker to the point you want to apply an effect and then click the Effects button (at the bottom of the timeline). Click the dropdown menu at the top to view the different effect categories.

Colour levels are often an issue with video footage so select the Colour option under the Video heading and then select Colour Correction. Click the Add button and then click the coloured blocks next to the Black, White and Grey labels in turn.

Use the colour map to adjust the hues used in highlights, midtones and shadows, using the preview window as a guide to how things will look. When happy with the results, click the Save button to apply the changes. As well as special effects, Lightworks can add transitions between clips.

Again, position the playback control in the timeline, click the Effects button and then select Mixes from the menu.

There are a number of different transitions to choose from and there are different options available for each. Select one and click Add to configure the settings – many transitions will work just fine with the default settings but experiment with the length of fades and dissolves to get the best effect.

To replace or augment the existing soundtrack – to add music or narration, say – click the Settings button in the timeline and choose Add tracks. A new dialogue box appears: select Add Audio Tracks from the dropdown menu at the top of this window.

Ensure that the ‘Number to add’ option is set to ‘1’ and then type in a name for the audio track to help with identification.

Use the Location dropdown menu to choose where the track should be positioned on the timeline in relation to existing audio tracks and then click the Do It button.

Audio can be added to the new track by importing an audio file such as an MP3 and then dragging it into place. Sound on other audio tracks can be muted by clicking the track’s label (such as A1 or A2), removing its highlight. Clicking again will reactivate the audio touch.

When happy with the results, export the video so that it can be shared with others. Click the Export button towards the bottom of the left-hand toolbar – it features a down-pointing yellow arrow. Ignore the Content section for now and use the Destination section to choose a save location – click the Folder dropdown menu and choose where to save the file.

Click the menu to the right of the Format label and select AVI and then click the Start button. Lightworks will now encode and save the video in the chosen format, ready to be viewed in a media player or uploaded to the web.