How I learned to make video editing suck less

redlinederby Friday, 9/20/2019
Site manager

It's no secret that I do not enjoy video editing. It’s tedious, time-consuming, and my efforts rarely meet my desires. To that end, if I’m honest, it’s been a big deterrent (I don't think I'm alone either). Hosting races and doing projects like the fantasy league often got derailed under the looming doom of having to produce video.

But believe me that I've tried to overcome. If I took the time I’ve spent trying to reduce my effort in video editing, I’d probably have been able to pump out hours of good video. I’ve tried live streaming. I’ve made software to help and databases to track. I’ve purchased apps that promised efficiency. My goal every time was to not only make it easier on me, but to make the final video easy to watch and feel a little different than others out there.

Then it hit me. Just give in, man.

Work with what you have

In my efforts to be creative and different, I lost sight of the basic objective - to prove that the racing actually happened.

I’ve chosen not to invest the time or money like 3DBotMaker has. His videos are badass but I’ve accepted that level quality just isn’t in me. I don’t need to make videos that look like ESPN highlights. So for a recent hosted tournament, I decided to just give in and use what’s in front of me...

...and that’s the iMovie app on the iPhone and iPad. It's free! Search in the App Store.

I shoot all my video with an iPhone anyway so using iMovie eliminates the hassle of getting all the videos off my phone and onto my computer for editing. Instead, I’m doing all the work in one spot. Makes sense, right?

So why didn’t I use iMovie before? The simple answer is my ego. I wanted my videos to look a certain way with specific fonts, colors, and so this. iMovie is easy to use but it doesn't offer much in the creativity department. You pick your template and you're stuck with it. I thought to myself, "I can certainly do better," which has always been my downfall.

This time, instead of fighting iMovie, I designed around its limitations. You can't move text around with iMovie, so I made a background that accounts for text placement. It’s not much but it gets the branding in there and is something I can reuse over and over.

Want to use the background in your video? Download the background and use it all you want.

The fewer video clips, the better

As for the rest of my workflow, the biggest change I made this time was taking one long video per match-up. Before, I would take a video for each trip down the track. That left me with tons of 5-second videos and that became a huge hassle to manage when I tried to import them into the timeline. I spent more time squinting at the tiny clips and importing them than I did anything else.

Now, I import one full race at a time and slice it into smaller chunks. iMovie's tools for cutting, trimming, and even adding slow-mo are great. Once things are cut, I toss in some photos and use the built-in text to label everything. All in all, less than 5 minutes per video.

I put a dry erase board next to my track and wrote the match-up, making it the first part of my videos so I can easily see the race names when browsing through videos on the tiny phone screen. I don't know why I didn't do this before!


Once I'm happy with the final video, I export it to Dropbox (also free), which syncs up with a folder on my computer. From there I upload to YouTube and add the titles, descriptions, and other add-ons YouTube offers. Honestly, the YouTube process is now more of a hassle than video editing.

For once, I decided not to reinvent the wheel, and so by just using off-the-shelf parts in iMovie, I’ve whittled down video production time to manageable levels. And since I do all the editing on the phone, I can even work while watching TV, which makes the time go a little faster.

All of this isn't to say that I now enjoy video editing. Far from it. But the necessity of video is now a little less daunting. Video is still a time suck, especially if you have a huge bracket, but by reducing some of my lofty expectations, it no longer takes me hours to produce 5 minutes worth of video, and that's a win.

Here's an example of a video using this process. Nothing fancy but it's clean, clear, and easily put together in a few minutes.


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LeagueofSpeed 9/20/19
Event coordinator

Editing is what it is...the show must go on....

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3DBotMaker 9/22/19

Great tips! I actually use iMovie on the Mac due to it's simplicity and workflow.

  • We're not a Mac home and options for Windows are slim outside of pricey Adobe stuff. Given how easy the phone version is to use, I imagine the desktop is even better. — redlinederby
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