Tips on How to Edit a Promo Video

Producing a promotional video is one of the tougher kinds of content to produce as a videographer. These types of videos tend not to be super long; however, the impact they're required to make is what put them in that challenging category. In a recent video, we offer up some valuable tips to help you edit your promos more effectively. 

Telling a Story

This is probably the most important part of a promotional video. If a promo video doesn't have a clear message or story, then more than likely it's not going to work. There are several ways of doing this, and the most obvious way is through an interview or voiceover. Along with the interview, having an appropriate b-roll to illustrate the feeling and points raised makes a huge difference. This use of b-roll is what can really set apart your videos. 

If you watch the video linked above, you'll notice how Patrick Hall is able to make use of lots of different clips to create a narrative. The video starts off with clips of Miami giving this feeling of traveling through the city to a location. The interview then starts when the subject is perceived to have arrived at the location. 

Hall discusses how he didn't have appropriate clips for every section of the video. This is why he used a website called Artgrid. This website offers a wide range of stock footage you can use for your videos, even if it's for commercial use. These are available in high resolution and high frame rates too, giving you that extra bit of flexibility. 

The way you select clips and arrange them can have a huge impact on how the story is told. B-roll isn't something that just looks fancy; instead, it's a way to establish a mood or setting and help lead from one point to another. 

Edit to The Beat

If you've ever listened to a piece of music that's out of time or not in sync, it can be extremely jarring. This is similar when a certain clip or video doesn't fit the music. Selecting the right kind of music is the first step, editing your clips and video to the beat of the music is what really blends everything together. 

Hall discusses how he uses Artlist, a music stock website that has a huge range of different kinds of music. Once again, the music from this site can be used for commercial uses too, and what's incredible is that you can still use the songs you've downloaded, even after your subscription has ended. 

In order to make the most of your music, it's probably a good idea to end and start clips to the beat of the song. A lot of music that most of us generally hear has four beats per metronome bar. Editing to these beats is what will give that feeling of a good flow.

Finally, it's a good idea to try to match your clips to how the music builds. The feeling of the piece needs to work well with how the clips are arranged or the kind of clip you use. 

Other Tips

Two Camera Angles for Interviews

Hall discusses why it's important to have two camera angles when filming an interview. This can really save you in post if anything should go wrong, and also, it helps produce a more dynamic-looking video. When you have two camera angles, switching between the two angles just offers that extra depth and dimension that really takes the production value to the next level. 

More B-Roll Is Better

The more b-roll footage you have available, the better and easier your editing process can be. Having more choice of different kinds of clips can sometimes be a huge help. This is especially the case if there are any mistakes you're trying to mask or if you don't want to show any cuts in an interview. Placing a b-roll clip over a cut in an interview can give it a seamless feel. 

I appreciate that sometimes, you may not have the time to go out and shoot lots and lots of different kinds of b-roll. This is where Artgrid can offer a huge degree of value. I should clarify that just because you have more b-roll doesn't mean you should use every single clip. Being selective is important. 

Shoot in Higher Frame Rates

If it's at all possible, try to shoot your b-roll clips at a higher frame rate than what your intended final output is going to be. For example, if you intend on exporting your final video at 24 frames per second, it's probably a good idea to shoot your b-roll clips at at least 60 fps or even higher. 

This allows you to slow down your clips to give a more dramatic look and feel. There is, of course, a balance to be maintained, because having everything slowed down can feel like a little too much. Having a good balance between normal speed and slow-motion clips is probably a good idea. 


Transitions can be brilliant when used sparingly. If all of your clips have some crazy transitions, it can become a bit too much, and this is why being a little reserved in this area can really elevate your videos. The use and impact of interesting transitions really cannot be understated. What's also important is the audio that you use to give depth to any transitions you may want to use. 

Artlist also has a wide range of sound effects available for you to download, so if you are going to use an interesting or creative way to transition from one clip to another, using one of the sound effects from Artlist may be useful. 

Final Thoughts

As someone who produces video content for my own YouTube channel, this video from Hall was properly useful to me. For my own content, I think adding more interesting transitions with audio clips will be helpful. Also, the storytelling aspects and how to use clips to serve the narrative is something I'll definitely be doing from now on. 

What's really great is the fact that even if you don't have all of the clips or audio that you need, websites like Artlist and Artgrid can essentially fill in the gaps. The drone clips alone offer such great value for money, especially for me, due to the fact that I don't currently own a drone or have a license. 

Check out the full video linked above to see how Hall edits his promo videos, and be sure to check out the Artgrid and Artlist websites. 

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Keith Meinhold's picture

Thanks, plenty of food for thought. Glad you didn't include any surfing clips for Miami.

Keith Meinhold's picture

I always found a storyboard a big help even if I didn't exactly stick to it. It is also vital to consider the audience. A video intended for business / office environments probably shouldn't rely on audio since users will have their audio off or risk irritating colleagues.

T Van's picture

Having great content really helps with whatever it is you're making. Great scenery.
The two angles for the interview is something I am not particularly fond of. Imagine having a conversation with someone and then for no apparent reason they turn away from you to talk to somebody else who you never see? It's awkward and it's kind of a turn off for a viewer, IMHO.
General rule of thumb for shooting b roll, lots of different angles, lots of extreme close ups and always, always mix it up with a good number of wide, medium and close up shots. It really helps in editing. Cutting from shot to shot really helps the flow if you have something wider, or tighter to cut to instead of another of the same framing. Like around 7 minutes in where it's medium wide to medium wide of the swimsuit model getting photographed. I think if you'd cut in a tight close up after the first medium wide, it would have been much more engaging. Closing in on someones personal space with the shot really makes people feel a connection. IMHO having more closeups in general would have helped this piece.
Another thing is always put your meat and potatoes on the plate first thing. Usually you'll have a very specific audio script from the client about what they want to say. At least all the ones I've ever worked with. So get that audio down in the timeline first with any accompanying on camera talking heads. Get the story roughed out first before you spend any time on effects, or transitions . The story is everything. The polish and sprinkles are nice, but you can spend the rest of your life shining it up and tweaking every effect and sound effect. You also don't want to put precious time into a shot that in the end you leave on the cutting room floor.
Great promo for Artgrid. Nice scenery.