It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned pro or just getting started. The key to editing a great video is to master the basics. Today, we’re going to cover all the basics of video editing using footage from the Nikon Z 30. We’ll cover everything from offloading media to uploading the final product to YouTube.

Step 1: Shoot with the edit in mind

Let’s get the obvious out of the way. Video editing can be taxing on your computer. Video files tend to be big and unwieldy, so it might feel like you need a big, beefy computer if you want to edit video properly. Fortunately, that isn’t always the case. Because it’s designed with content creators in mind, the Nikon Z 30 records resource-light video files. That means you don’t need a ton of computer power to edit the footage.

There are a couple of ways you can optimize your footage for your editing workflow. When shooting with the Z 30, you have the option to shoot either .mp4 or .mov files in H.264. You can choose when to shoot lightweight and easily shareable files in .mp4 and when to opt for higher-quality .mov files, which are better for editing on a computer.

Along with file type, you’ll also want to consider resolution. Shooting in 4K will give you the best image quality and some added flexibility in post-production, especially if you plan to export in 1080 HD. However, if you want to give your computer a break, you can still shoot in HD. This will minimize both file size and headaches in the editing room.

Step 2: Offload media

After you’re done shooting your video, there are a couple of different paths your footage can take. One option is to send short 10-20 second video clips or photos directly from the Z 30 to your smart device using the Nikon SnapBridge app. From there, they’ll be ready to share on social media. Shooting .mp4 files is a good choice for this workflow.

If you want to create a longer video using different clips, you’ll need to move your files to your computer for editing. When using the Nikon Z 30, the fastest and easiest way to transfer data is to connect your camera to your computer via USB-C.

As you’re transferring your footage and gathering other assets, be sure to keep everything organized. To save yourself some frustration, take time to create and stick to an easy-to-understand file structure. That way, you won’t have to pull yourself out of the editing zone to hunt down that one perfect clip.

Step 3: Add metadata

Along with maintaining a consistent file structure, another great way to keep your footage organized is to add metadata. To help ensure you can always find the clip you need, connect relevant information to each video file. This will also come in handy if you ever need to dig through your footage archives for a future project.

Step 4: Choose your selects

Selects are the video clips that you plan to use in your video. In other words, they’re your best clips. Vloggers often come home with a heap of footage, but they can’t include everything in the final video. This is the point at which you need to decide what’s in and what’s out.

Step 5: Rough cut

By this stage, you’ll have all of your footage offloaded and organized into a logical file structure. All of your clips will have metadata so you can find them easily for this and future projects. Finally, you’ll have a collection of favorite clips to use in the edit. Now, it’s time to put everything together in your rough cut.

The rough cut established the story arc. Even if you’re sharing your real life in a vlog, a clear story helps keep your viewers engaged and watching until the end. For the rough cut, it’s important not to get lost in the details. Instead, take a high-level approach. Your goal is to arrange your clips in the desired order to form the video’s overall structure.

Step 6: Fine cut

With the rough cut in place, you can move on to the fine cut. This phase is all about cleaning up the rough edges and refining the pacing and flow of your video. When you’re completely satisfied with your video, you’ll have reached a milestone: picture lock.

Step 7: Color, graphics, audio

After picture lock, you won’t make any further changes to your editing timeline. However, you may want to polish your video with a few final post-production tasks. Often, clips will need color correction and grading, like when using Z 30 footage shot in the Flat picture profile. This profile gives you more flexibility for color grading without the hassle of dealing with log footage.

It’s always best to wait until after picture lock to do color work. That way, you avoid grading clips that won’t make it to the final cut. If you want to skip color grading in post, you can also shoot in one of the Z 30’s Creative Picture Control settings, like Dream, Bleached or Melancholic.

Picture lock is also the time to add any graphics or special effects needed for your video, as well as background music, voiceovers and sound effects.

Step 8: Export and deliver

With all that done, the final product is ready to be shared. Before you export your finished video, determine its delivery destination. YouTube, Facebook, TikTok and Instagram all have different video upload requirements. Knowing where your video is headed will help you choose the correct export settings. That way, your finished video can look its best.

If you don’t have time to edit a full video and just want to share a quick update with your fans, don’t worry. Using the Nikon Z 30, you can go from shooting directly to sharing thanks to the Nikon SnapBridge app. This allows you to use your smart device to share your photos and short video clips immediately after capture.

The camera

We made it all the way through the editing process. Now, let’s take a quick look at the camera that got us here: the Nikon Z 30.

This vlog-ready camera features a 20.9 MP DX-Format CMOS sensor and can capture video at up to UHD 4K 30p and Full HD 120p. In addition to slow-motion shooting, the Z 30 also offers in-camera time-lapse. Plus, it supports livestreaming in Full HD at 1080/60p as well as continuous stills shooting at up to 11 fps.

Reliable Eye and Face detect autofocus for people and pets means your footage will be in focus and usable for the edit. An ISO range of 100 to 51,200 for photos and 100 to 25,600 for video helps maintain detail even in low light. The camera’s vlogging-optimized design features a 3-inch 1.04 m-dot free-angle touchscreen LCD and a built-in stereo mic. You can also connect your own mic with the Z 30’s 3.5 mm microphone input.

Available kit lenses include the NIKKOR Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR Lens and NIKKOR Z DX 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3 VR Lens. If you add on the Creator’s Accessory Kit, you’ll also get the RØDE VideoMicro Microphone with windscreen as well as a SmallRig Tripod Grip and Bluetooth remote control.

The key to effective video editing

A great editor needs great footage. With the Nikon Z 30, you can shoot videos you’ll be excited to edit and share. You can learn more about the Nikon Z 30 here.