4 Techniques for Proofreading Your Video

Meryl Ayres


Et voila! You’ve edited a complete proof of your video, and you’re feeling like a champ. High fives all around. But how do you make sure it’s bulletproof? After hours spent staring at the same footage, it can be hard to detect issues in your own work. Believe me, I’ve been there.

That’s why I use a few simple techniques before I claim victory over my videos once and for all.

Close Your Eyes

When you are finished editing your video, sit down in front of your screen, press play, and close your eyes. By isolating the sound, you will most likely pick up on subtle audio elements (both good and bad) that would otherwise go unnoticed.

Maybe there’s a delightful-yet-distracting little bird chirping in the distance. Maybe the background hum dramatically changes from shot to shot. Maybe the music needs to fade out at a slower rate. I bet you’ll hear something that could improve with some tweaking, and even if you don’t, it can’t hurt to double check.

Close Your Ears

Okay, now turn off the volume and play your video again. Thank goodness for sound, right? It may seem like a boring task, but watching your video sans sound can help you hone in on your editing decisions.

Pay attention to the quality and the length of the shots, how they begin, and how they end. What about the order of your shots? Sometimes minor switcheroos can transform your video in major ways!

Grab a Friend

It’s time for the real test. Sit down (or stand up) and watch your video with a friend. Every time you catch yourself becoming self-conscious about the length of a shot, take note. This means the shot is too long.

Here are a few comments I’ve made while watching with friends:

  • “This part’s kind of boring, but it’s sort of necessary.”
  • “The ending’s a little rough (nervous laughter).”
  • “She’s a little quiet at this part, but I feel like you can still hear her.”

If you find yourself wanting to interject with a justification for something, it usually means that your video could be improved! It’s easy to get lost in your own work, and having a second pair of eyes watch a final product is incredibly beneficial for tightening up your editing.

Step away for a day

As our friend John Barker reminded us the other day, it’s always a good idea to take time away from your video before sharing it with the world.

As with any type of editing, separating yourself from your project will help you refresh your biases and patterns of thought, enabling you to return to your video with more discerning eyes.

Alright folks. Close your eyes, close your ears, grab a friend, then disappear! Rhyming is not my forte, but you get the picture. Try out these techniques with your next video, and let us know how it goes!

Meryl Ayres


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