What I learned from video editing my Budapest trip

Budapest heroes square

Last week I posted my travel diary video of our city break in Budapest. Since I’m a complete beginner at video editing, I thought it would be useful to follow up with what I learned from making my second video, ever.

Why I’m sharing this

I find that there are not that many posts about video editing for beginners, except for maybe learning basic video editing. Most videography vloggers/bloggers seem to focus a lot on LUTs (or more particularly on buying their LUTs), using drones or other pro equipment. While this is all great for making polished and professional videos, it doesn’t help a beginner (like myself) to understanding video editing best practices first. 

By writing down what I learned, I can keep track of what I need to practice more or focus on in a next video. And hopefully it will be useful for other video editing beginners who are also still learning to get the hang of videography.

My video editing tools

I shot this video on my iPhone 8 and edited with Lumafusion on an iPad pro (2016 edition)

What I like about this setup is that it requires the bare minimum for video editing beginners. You don’t need expensive equipment, Lumafusion is an affordable video editing programme that rivals other professional video editing software, and this setup allows you to edit on the go. Which is exactly what I did: I started importing and prepping my clips on the return flight!

Read here why I’m using Lumafusion for video editing.

The only downside was the lack of storage space on my iPad. I was really hitting the limits of its 32gb of storage space with all the clips I made on this short weekend trip. I’ll probably look into bringing a portable storage device with me next time. 

I noticed that Lumafusion supports Gnarbox, which I’m kind of interested in but on the other hand it might be a bit overkill for a beginner like me. There might be other, more affordable alternatives for portable storage too. But I digress…

What I wanted to learn

I think it’s important to focus on learning one new thing per video, especially if you’re a beginner. For this video, I wanted to focus on learning in-camera transitions

My experience as a photographer has taught me that it’s usually easier (and imho better) to make your edits in-camera and not in post production. Fixing it in post is usually time consuming and requires great skill to get it right. In that sense, I’d say practising in-camera transitions is part of learning video editing best practices.

A great resource to learn more about in-camera transitions is Jesse Driftwood’s masterclass:

In the end, only one in-camera transition made the cut. Or maybe I should say that at least one made it? When it came down to actually recording footage, my brain just went blank on keeping track on where I did which transition. I didn’t have a clear vision in mind of how I wanted these transitions to fit in my video. 

My key take-away from this exercise is that I need to do more prep work.  And to maybe practice in-camera transitions on short clips at home.

What I also learned

During editing, I also learned to make speed adjustments in LumaFusion. There was a large sequence of the funicular at Buda Castle that required some speeding up to keep the momentum of my video. And while I was at it, I also adapted the speed on some other clips for the same reason, albeit the speed adjustments were a bit more subtle.

I also did some simple colour grading to make the colours pop. This showed me that you do not necessarily need LUTs. With some simple colour grading you can already change a lot. I’m not planning to purchase any LUTs until I’ve gotten better at video editing.

A great resource about basic colour grading on Lumafusion, is Lee Savitz’ video:

Using a video grip

Another thing that struck me during editing, is how shaky my footage of Budapest is compared to my Japan footage. I shot everything handheld, in comparison to Japan, where I brought the Manfrotto Pixi mini tripod with me. I basically used the mini tripod as a makeshift video grip, which – I realize now – vastly improved the stabilisation of my footage.