So you have got your video tapes onto DVD but you have several hours of footage that you want condensing into a much shorter disc? Here is the beginner’s guide to editing video.


It is worth taking a few minutes to write down exactly what footage you have. Some important information such as dates, who is in the scene, and maybe a mark of how important you rate that footage. It is nice to have lots of video tapes with endless weddings on, but will you really sit through the entire church service of every relative, or do you really want to see every single present opening of your children from birth to adulthood? Taking a few moments to write down a few notes will help when it comes to deciding what goes into your final video and what can stay out.

Importing the video

Choosing the software you will use can be tricky depending on how much experience you have with computers. We have written a guide on video editing software. The first stage will be to import the discs into the software. Put your disc into the computer and depending on the software you need to “import the disc”, “import camcorder disc”, “insert file”, or something similar. You can then add the footage to your “timeline”, which is a strip at the bottom of your program with a video symbol. The video and audio will be inserted.

Cutting parts of the video

You can then move the slider left and right to the time you want to cut, click on the tool/symbol of the scissors, or possibly a dashed/dotted line indicating the cutting tool. This will cut the video at that point. Then move to the end of the section you want removing and press the cutting tool again. You can then delete that section of video. Continue doing that until you get to the end. Some video software will remove the gap, pushing the next section of video to the previous section, closing the gap. Some you will need to manually remove the gap. 


When you play the video it is nice to have a menu or chapters so you can instantly jump to the section you want. There will be a tool called marker/chapter, where you can indicate this is the start of a new chapter. A little symbol should appear at that time to indicate a new chapter. When you are ready to move on, the menu creation tool will have all your chapters ready for labeling.

It is also possible to insert titles anywhere in the video. Choose the title symbol, usually a button with ‘T’ on it. Click at the time point you want the title, and then create your titles. It can be to indicate the start of a new section, to narrate what is happening at that point of the video, or even to make comments you want to share. The title can appear on its own before a section of video or it can appear on top of the video as the footage is playing. If you want it to appear on top you will need to insert the title in the title strip just above the video strip.

Background music

Optional extra is to add some background music. There are lots of sources for music Online, and you can use any music you own. Import the music in the same way as you imported the video tape. Usually there will be a spare strip with a music symbol under the video timeline, if not you can add one. The volume can be adjusted so it does not drown out the audio from the video footage, or you can even mute the video audio if you want the background music to be the only sound you hear.

Exporting your finished video to DVD

When finished you need to Export your video. Choose the format you want, whether DVD or a computer file (mp4 etc). The converting process varies depending on how powerful your PC is and how much work is needed to change the format from your disc footage to the new format. More powerful computers might need an hour, some slower/older computers might need several hours. You can leave it on overnight if needed.

Watching hours and hours of home movies can become boring so it is always a great idea to put the time and effort into editing your video tapes so you have the best bits to enjoy.