How to Edit Videos on a Laptop Computer

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You don't need a ton of high tech equipment to produce a good video; all you need is your camcorder and laptop.

In recent years, laptops have become almost as powerful as desktops. You don't have to remain stationary when doing things such as editing photos or video. You can take your project with you. With the right combination of laptop and video editing program, you can produce professional looking videos anywhere.


Step 1

Make sure your laptop is capable. Editing video is both a processor and memory heavy process. If you have a slow processor and only the minimum amount of RAM required, your video editing software may run slowly. Also, make sure you have enough hard drive memory to store your clips and renders.


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Step 2

Choose video editing software. Most computers today will have a program installed with the operating system, such as iMovie or Windows Movie Maker, but these tend to be basic. If you want something more advanced, consider purchasing it. Consumer grade video software runs as little as $50, while professional options such as Avid Media Composer can cost thousands of dollars.


Step 3

Become familiar with your software. Certain video editing programs have a higher learning curve than others. If you've chosen a professional grade video editing program, such as Final Cut Pro or Avid Media Composer, learning the program may be difficult, so you take a tutorial or read a manual to get acquainted with the various functions of the program.


Step 4

Capture your video. Connect your connection cable or SD card to your laptop. Open your video software and look for an option that says "Capture." The labeling may be different, depending on your software. For example, in Final Cut Pro, the option is "Log and Transfer." Capturing your raw footage imports it to the video editing software so it can be edited.


Step 5

Edit. Once you have captured your video, your clips should appear in your clip library. From there, you should be able to drag them onto the timeline, trim them, slow them down, add effects and manipulate them any way you want.

Things You'll Need

  • Laptop

  • Video editing software

  • Video editing software tutorial


Of the two professional options, Final Cut Pro is less expensive and has a lower learning curve than Avid Media Composer.

Heavy video editing will likely drain your battery power; have your laptop charger on hand.


For most laptops, editing video will be slower than editing video on a desktop. A laptop powerful enough to do heavy video editing will likely cost more than a desktop with the same capabilities, so, if you are serious about editing, consider purchasing a desktop.