How to Video edit Interviews

Editor Sammi Wilde at Bellyflop TV

I edit a lot of the videos. I wanted to do a blog post about what goes into editing a customers video interview to make them sound and look their best.

Every film is started from scratch – Jonathan will go out and film, this usually involves interviewing one or two people following our filming notes, and then he will bring back the footage to me in the office.

Once imported, I get started on syncing the interviews. If there’s one interview, it runs to around 30 minutes, 2 interviews run to around an hour and so on… there’s a lot to get through. At this point all of the interviews are unbroken and run smoothly -there are no ‘jumps’ or ‘cuts’ but this will change.

Video Interview Techniques

Here’s an example of what a ‘smooth’ sequence would look like unedited.

To make these hour + long interviews into a 2 minute film it can take a lot of cutting out what isn’t ‘relevant’ so finding the most suitable clips is the priority.

I start to sub the interviews down cutting out the questions, the ‘ums’, ‘ahs’ and any gaps or repetition to try and get a feel for what the interviewee is saying. This means that parts of the interviews have been taken out and ‘audio cuts’ have been created. In laymen’s terms I have taken two parts of the dialogue – that were originally separate – and stitched them together. This is now not a continuously flowing section and the person will look as though they are ‘jumping’ or as Jonathan likes to say, “They look like Max Headroom.” (Just type it into YouTube!)

Video Interview Techniques

Here’s an example of what a ‘cut down’ sequence would look like – notice on V1 how lines have appeared where I have cut out sections of the audio.

Essentially this is why we use what we like to call ‘cutaways’, they cover the audio cuts to make the film smoother.

In some cases I have taken a phrase at the beginning of an interview and stitched it onto a sentence at the end of one to make a coherent statement. This happened recently when a customer asked me to add a word onto a sentence that the interviewee had missed out – in this case I was able to, but it depends on how the word was said.

Once I have a flowing, coherent and intelligible 2 minute audio sequence it is then that I start to add music and cutaways.


Above is a rare occasion I’m on a film shoot, at Stockport Town Hall with camera operator Neil.

This is not the part where I just throw anything over the film; Jonathan works hard to film your business in the best light and films what is relevant to what the interviewee talks about – it’s the reason the interviews are filmed first, so we know what visuals we need to put over the top. If I’m covering a section of the interview that talks about (for this blog’s sake) a computer, Jonathan would’ve filmed a computer and so I’ll include that clip where relevant.


Here’s an example of a sequence where I’ve added other visuals, or cutaways, to hide the audio cuts I’ve made.

Jonathan likes to use the example of a film about a zoo; if the person interviewed talks about seeing lions and tigers and bears, then the viewer would expect to see lions and tigers and bears. You literally “show what you say.” Have a look at us filming ‘behind the scenes’ here.

Some customers listen back to the draft and wonder why a person is not on screen when they are talking so smoothly about the subject – the reason why it sounds so smooth is because I’ve edited it that way. The idea of the interview is that the person says what naturally comes to mind first rather than reading from a script. This way what is said comes from the heart and shows the viewer that they are passionate about what they do.

There is method in the madness of why someone is not on screen throughout their interview.

Customers are all more than welcome to sit with us as we edit their films (we are in Regent House, opposite Debenhams in Stockport).

Author: Sammi is the primary video editor at who is responsible for editing the video footage into short films following the brief set by customers. Feel free to call Sammi in the office on 0161 477 5621.


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