Thankfully almost all video editing suites follow a similar design philosophy that makes talking about and transferring between them easier.

  • Footage View
    This is a playback window where you can see the (unedited) version of a current clip
  • Sequence / Final View
    The final culmination of cut together footage and visual effects are typically displayed in the upper right.
  • The footage bin
    This is where the individual clips, video files and possibly still images that make up your compositions will reside. Depending on the program you may also find the squences/compositions themselves listed.
  • The Timeline
    It's easier to visualize a video project that is made up of multiple clips and video files on a timeline where you can where and when they overlap or fade into one another. Left to right is the video time, lower to upper are the visible layers.
The typical video editing interface (Adobe Premiere Pictured). Note both the footage monitor, the final output monitor above and the footage bin and timeline below.
Also note how the footage bin contains two entries names "sequence" and that the timeline has two tabs named the same. Each sequence (composition) has its own timeline. Right now a single video file resides within one sequence as a single clip (the large light blue bar).

Common Tools

Most tools within a video suite will be self explanatory. The selection tool, commonly an arrow, will allow you to select and move individual clips within a timeline. A knife (razor) tool will allow you to split a clip into several pieces. What might not be as intuitive are keywords like "rippling".

Basically any time you see the word "ripple" attached to a tool or function you can presume it will have the effect of moving clips along with the paired function. A "Ripple delete" for instance will not just remove a clip but move other clips to fill the empty area that would otherwise be left behind by the removed clip.

Rendering / Output

For the most part rendering a final video file will be as simple as "File > Export > Video" and that is that. Some programs, like After Effects, require a little more work. These quirks will be discussed in thier specific pages.