Video Effects: When and How to Use Them

Have you ever seen the slideshows and montages that old people make where they use all these strange transitions that make you cringe?

Well, that’s the sort of  trap many new editors fall into.

When I first started editing, I thought video effects were the mark of a pro. At every opportunity, I put some freaky weird filter onto the clip to spice it up a bit because I thought it was cool. It didn’t matter what the effect was for, and it barely mattered how it looked. All that mattered was that I was using it.

And to be honest, as far as learning goes, that’s not a bad thing. Messing around with video effects and gaining an understanding of them is massively beneficial in the long run, or so I’d like to say. In my case, I never ended up needing most of the video effects I arbitrarily threw around. Once other editors chastised me for bad habits, I developed an editing style that focused more on utilizing the clips as they were rather than arbitrarily “enhancing” them because people who knew nothing would say “This is awesome, it has so many video effects!”

So, if you’re reading this hoping to get into editing, I hope it gives you the opportunity to skip that stage of learning. Don’t touch the video effects panel/tab/window unless you are being very intentional with what you want. Don’t throw in a monochrome filter just for it’s own sake. Use it to convey a feeling. If you want the screen to look staticy, make it for a reason. Use video effects to compliment the footage, not get in the way of enjoying it.

Stephen Kennedy

Stephen Kennedy is a 27-year-old video editor from Connecticut. He has been editing as a hobby since 2006 and holds a bachelor’s degree in creative writing from Western Connecticut State University. Interested in creativity in all its forms, Stephen loves both hearing and telling good stories in any form, be it writing, movies, or music, and is constantly seeking God within all of them.

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