Video Editing 101

In this recorded webinar for team members on video editing and video compositing, we’ll show you how to use the free OpenShot video Editor to edit clips and combine them to create a finished video like this one:

Both Microsoft and Apple include a free video editor with their operating systems, but the included features tend to be fairly basic. The process for creating a video is usually something like this:

  1. Start a new video project.
  2. Import video and audio clips into the project.
  3. Place the clips on a timeline, and remove any portions of the original cips that you don’t want to include in your finished video.
  4. Add transitions between the scenes, if you want something like a fade-out at the end of one scene, followed by a fade-in of the following scene.
  5. Add titles and/or credits.
  6. Export the finished movie to a video file (e.g. MP4 file).

The process using more advanced video editors is generally similar, but these products include additional features that you can use to create videos that take advantage of techniques such as chroma keying to remove video backgrounds, add animation, use picture-in-picture, etc.

Here is the recording of our webinar, in which we’ll demonstrate how to use OpenShot to do this. We’ll also show you how to use Snap Camera and Zoom to record video clips that add costumes and disguises to the person in front of the camera, along with a background image behind them.


This open source software is available for Windows, macOS and Linux. It has many more features than the video editor that came with your operating system:

  • Trim and slice: It’s easy to trim your video clips, and arrange them along a video timeline.
  • Fades: There is a simple way to fade in at the start of a video or audio clip, or fade out at the end.
  • Resizing and repositioning: You can easily resize visual elements, or reposition them within the video window.
  • Unlimited tracks: You can add as many layers as you need for background videos, images, and audio tracks.
  • Keyframe-based animation: You can fade, slide, bounce, and move any of the visual elements in your video project.
  • Video effects: OpenShot includes tools to remove the background from your video using chroma keying invert the colors, adjust brightness, and more.

You can download OpenShot for free from

Images, Videos, Music, and Sounds

The sample video shown in the webinar includes images, video recordings, music, and sounds downloaded from the Internet. All of these media files were published online with a license that allows anyone to use them freely without having to pay a license fee or credit the author. Here are a few sites from which you can download files of this kind:

  • Pixabay: Over 1.9 million high quality stock images, videos and music shared by community members. You can copy, modify, distribute, and use these images, even for commercial purposes, without asking for permission or giving credit to the artist.
  • Unsplash: All of the photos published on this website can be downloaded and used for free, for both commercial and non-commercial purposes, with no permission needed (though attribution is appreciated).
  • Pexels: All photos and videos on Pexels are free to use, and attribution is not required. Giving credit to the photographer or Pexels is not necessary but always appreciated.
  • FreePD: This site has hundreds of MP3 audio files with a Creative Commons CC0 license that allows you to use them freely without attribution.
  • Freesound: Freesound is a collaborative database of Creative Commons licensed sound effects.

Snap Camera and Lens Studio

Snap Camera is an application you can install on your PC or a Mac to use Snap Lenses with your own live streams and video chats.

Lens Studio is designed for artists and developers to build augmented reality experiences for hundreds of millions of Snapchatters. You can use this software to create and publish your own Snap Lenses.

Background removal

Removing the background from an image can be tedious, and the use of chroma keying (green screen or blue screen) to remove the background from a video doesn’t always work as well as you might like.

This is a very common problem, and there are now commercial services for removing backgrounds. These online services don’t necessarily work well for every image or video. On the other hand, using one of them could save you quite a bit of time.

  • Unscreen: This service removes the background from uploaded videos. It’s free for up to 5 seconds of video.
  • This site is designed to remove the background from uploaded images. You can download a low resolution version of the result for free, or pay a fee to get the full resolution image.

This workshop was created by NH-DI volunteers Craig Richardson and Sarah Richardson. You can find more workshops on our Online Workshops page and in our NH-DI Roundup newsletter.