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What can I expect during the editing process?

Your filming is done and you’re about to see the first edit of your video. You know it won’t be be finished but beyond that, you’re not really sure what to expect.

Together, we’ve made it to the editing stage of your video, which is why I want to talk about what you can expect during the editing stages.

Your investment here of just a few minutes can have a HUGE impact on our ability to deliver your video on-time and on-budget.

With that as the background, here’s what you can expect during the 3 stages of video editing.

The 3 Stages of Video Editing

Story Cut

Your video is all about telling a story, so it makes sense that we start with the Story Cut.

The Story Cut establishes the order of your videos story.

The purpose of the Story Cut is to craft a strong story.

What you’ll see

The real beauty here is found in the story, think of a diamond in the rough. So in the Story Cut you will see:

  • raw elements

  • straight cuts

  • gaps

  • jump cuts

You won’t see

  • polished look or feel

  • matching video or audio

  • music

  • voice over


All of that can be distracting so here’s what I suggest.

  • Listen to the Story Cut before you watch it. Close your eyes or don’t look at the screen. Whatever it takes to keep that lack of polish from distracting you from the most important part of this edit, the story.

  • Check the Story Cut against your creative brief to make sure all of your bases are covered.

That’s stage 1 of your edit, the Story Cut.

Rough Cut

Once we have the story in place, we’ll start to fill in the missing details in the Rough Cut.

A Rough Cut is a refinement of the edit.

The purpose of the Rough Cut is build the story with more visual and audio elements.

What you’ll see

  • new b-roll to help visualize the story

  • the timing will start to take shape

  • placeholder graphics

  • new music being roughed in

  • placeholder voice over

You won’t see

  • matching colors

  • final graphics

  • perfect audio levels

2 Suggestions

  1. Take some time to live with it. Don’t watch it once and rush it out the door. Watch it a few times over a few days.

  2. Ask yourself this question: Is anything missing or unclear?

That’s stage 2 of the edit, the Rough Cut.

Final Cut

The third stage is called the Final Cut.

The Final Cut is where the placement, order, and timing of every clip in your video is finalized.

The purpose of the Final Cut is to make sure that everything in the video is where it should be. In other words, we want to make sure that everything is locked in place so that from this point on, nothing moves.

What you’ll see

  • everything in it’s final place

  • final timing

  • final graphics

  • final voice over

  • final music

You won’t see

  • final color correction

  • final audio mix


Much like the rough cut, my suggestions here are to:

  1. Take some time to live with it.

  2. Watch it critically

  3. Ask yourself the question: Can I live with everything in this video as it is?

It’s important to lock the video here because once you approve the Final Cut, we’ll do all of our polishing to the audio and the video with color correction and mixing before we deliver the master to you.

Each stage of the edit is built on the previous stage. Everything we do is based on what you’ve just approved. That means the later in the edit process changes are made, the bigger the impact those changes can have on our ability to deliver your project on-time and on-budget.


  • The Story Cut establishes the order of the story

  • The Rough Cut builds on the story

  • The Final Cut locks the story

That’s what you can expect during the edit process.


If you have questions about editing your video, send me an email to and ask away. If you liked this post, please hit the like button below or share it with a friend, someone you know who can use a little video help.

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