Best video editing tips for YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok

Top tips for creators on how to edit the best videos for TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube.

Best video editing tips for YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok

All creators have been here: You’ve recorded a killer video that you’re convinced has what it takes to go viral – or at least get the attention of potential new followers. You know the content is on point but when you post it, it doesn’t do as well as expected.

One possible reason for videos not performing as well as we wanted them to on social media is due to poor editing, or a total lack of editing in line with the platform’s standards.

But the fact is, if you want to make it as a creator, you need to be able to do a bit of everything. We’re not talking about becoming a pro at Premiere Pro… simply understanding what each platform wants from its videos can help you create them to a higher quality in the first place. So when it does come to editing time, you’ll only need to make a few touch-ups.

Here are our top tips for video editing for TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube.

TikTok

Know the best length

TikTok videos can be as short as 15 seconds or as long as 10 minutes, which leaves a lot of scope for the ultimate length for peak performance. But with some TikTok viewers claiming that any video over one minute is too long, it’s best to keep yours short.

Of course, there are some topics that only lend themselves to longer videos, and viewers of these channels are likely to be open to this extended length. But if you’re going for top performance, keep it snappy. You can even speed up the playback of your video to keep it under one minute if you need to.

Know the best dimensions

TikTok is designed to be uploaded and watched in portrait, with the best dimensions being 1080 by 1920 pixels. This is the standard size for most smartphones, so if you’re recording your video within TikTok it will automatically set these dimensions for you. But if you record on another camera and upload later, you’ll want to keep this in mind – and avoid landscape filming altogether.

Record quality audio

Good quality footage with poor quality audio makes for an overall poor quality video. So if you’re recording any audio for your TikTok channel, it’s worth investing in a good microphone. This won’t just boost the sound of your voice but it will also help to muffle any background noise far more effectively than your phone’s built-in mic can.

Enable captions

It’s now widely agreed that having captions enabled on your videos is best practice. It helps those with accessibility needs to understand the content of your video, and is also more appealing to the large proportion of people who choose to watch content with the sound off. So make sure you save space for TikTok’s auto-captions at the bottom of your screen – you don’t want them covering any vital visuals.

Enabling TikTok captions means that when you upload a video, you can enable captions within the platform’s own editing page. Just turn on ‘Captions’, and it will generate text for the audio in your video. You can then check and edit any mistakes before publishing.

If you’re adding captions in an external editing app, you can position them wherever you like. But be aware that users will be expecting to see them in the bottom center of their screens.

Use editing apps

Though TikTok’s own editing tools are pretty good, sometimes you just feel your content needs a little bit more. That’s when we turn to video editing apps like ViaMaker and BeeCut. ViaMaker is made by ByteDance, who also created TikTok, which means it’s perfect for editing content destined for the platform. It allows access to custom TikTok fonts, advanced effects, and is super easy to use – plus, it’s free!

BeeCut is also free and is designed to help beginners edit their videos in a more professional way. So it’s a perfect choice for anyone who’s great at creating the content, but not so confident when it comes to editing. As well as adding new filters, you can also cut and delete frames and edit the duration of your recording.

Instagram

Know the best length

It’s recommended that Reels are kept to between 7-15 seconds for maximum engagement, although Instagram feed videos can be as long as 26 seconds before the performance starts to wane.

As with any channel, if your content requires a longer video time, don’t let these predicted insights hold you back – these numbers are your friend when it comes to editing. Just make sure your video is as engaging as possible and doesn’t run over for the sake of it.

Know the best dimensions

In its bid to emulate TikTok, Instagram Reels now take up a full screen on smartphones so portrait videos at 1080 by 1920 pixels are the ideal dimension. Portrait has always been the best option for Rees and Stories, but if you’re posting feed videos you have a little more scope thanks to the grid’s square layout.

Record quality audio

As with TikTok – and any video platform – investing in a good mic is the best way to ensure top-quality audio. Instagram stories often lend themselves to spontaneous recording while you’re out and about so it might not always be possible to record the best sound in these instances. But when you can, make sure your Reels and feed videos are created with sharp sound and no background noise.

Enable captions

Instagram Stories has long allowed for automated captions, which can be moved to any position within your video. So you don’t have to record with captions in mind – just sit them wherever they’re easiest to read without blocking your visuals.
In Reels, Instagram offers both automatic and manual captioning, so if you prefer you can type them out yourself. You can choose the font and format for your captions, and again position them wherever you like. However, the bottom center of your screen is often the most accessible, like this.

Use editing apps

Instagram is offering increasingly advanced editing tools for Reels creators. But if you want to give your video an extra professional touch, apps like InShot and Canva offer easy-to-use features.

InShot can help you trim, splice, and even change the dimension of your video without compromising the quality. While Canva’s Video Editor is perfect if you want to add some extra effects to make your video stand out. It offers templates, images, illustrations, and even a scheduling tool for posting to Instagram.

YouTube

Know the best length

Research website Statista found that the viewers prefer YouTube videos to be around 11.7 minutes long, though many argue that anywhere between 7 to 15 minutes in the sweet spot. The platform lends itself to longer-form content where viewers are engaged for far longer than they are on social media sites like TikTok and Instagram.

However, in their push to win some of TikTok’s audience, YouTube’s new Shorts feature is set up specifically for short, spontaneous videos. For these, the maximum 60-second length is just short enough that users who are used to using the platform for much longer viewings will stay engaged the whole way through.

Know the best dimensions

On standard YouTube videos, the ideal dimensions are landscape at 320 by 240 pixels. However, for Shorts the optimum size is portrait 1080 by 1920 pixels – however they can also be made in square format at 1080 by 1080 pixels.

Record quality audio

Even more than on TikTok and Instagram, high quality video and audio are paramount on YouTube. After all, if you’re going to be keeping your viewers interested for 15 minutes at a time, they’re more likely to keep watching if the quality is up to standard.

So, even if you don’t think it’s worth investing in a mic for the social media videos you record on your phone, creating YouTube videos without one is a non-starter. Viewers use YouTube like others watch TV, so if your sound isn’t professional, they’ll go elsewhere.

Enable captions

YouTube allows for live automatic captioning in livestreams, and either automatic or manual captioning in uploaded videos. Here, users can choose to have their captions turned on or off. But either way, they’re best presented in the bottom center of your video using a font that’s easy to read. So, whatever you’re recording, make sure you leave a centimeter or so of space at the bottom of the screen for your captions.

Use editing apps

Though YouTube Studio does allow some editing capacity, most professional creators will use external editing tools to boost the quality of their videos. One of the best around is Adobe Premiere Pro, which is used by filmmakers and creators alike. It’s best to learn by taking a course and does incur an annual fee, but the outcome is some of the best-looking video content around.

But for beginners or those looking for a quicker and easier (and cheaper) option before investing in professional tools, HitFilm Express is a brilliant tool for motion tracking, stabilizing, and enhancing video for free – and without a watermark. Apple users can also create top-quality videos in iMovie.