How to use photo, audio and video editing software



Last time I blogged I spent some time looking at the different open-source video, photo and audio editing software that you can use to edit your work. So, your next question would probably be how to use it? This post will focus on:


Editing audio using Audacity

Audacity basics: Getting started in audio editing

Source: Mindy McAdams


Editing pictures using Picasa

Source: ginacestaro66


Editing pictures using GIMP

Source: LadySongVideos


Editing video using Windows Live Movie Maker

Windows Movie Maker: Introduction to video editing

Source: Mindy McAdams


Of course, videos and slideshows cannot adequately teach you how to use editing software but it can give you a brief idea on how your work can be edited using such software. The only way to really learn how to edit your work using editing software is to practice, practice and practice. What do you use to edit your work? What tips can you give us on using editing software? What works best for you when editing? Please share your thoughts.


Editing Software for Photos, Audio and Video

Once you have taken captured your photographs or recorded your video and/or audio, you then need to edit it to create your story. Since most editing software can often be rather expensive and since most of us can’t afford such expensive software, your best option is to turn to open source software. Below I’ve included links to lists of open source software available for editing audio, video and photos.



Open source software for video editing:

Open source software for audio editing:

Open source software for photo editing:

Bonus Read:

I am only familiar with a few of the open source software mentioned in these links. What I am familiar with includes Windows Live Movie Maker, GIMP, Picasa and Audacity. I have found Windows Movie Maker quite user-friendly and easy to use, however, I haven’t really used it for editing videos (I have used it to make audio slideshows). GIMP is quite difficult to understand, while Picasa is easier to work with. Audacity is the only audio editing program I’ve used but I found it quite easy to understand.

Are there open source software that you use that wasn’t mentioned in these links? Which open source software do you find difficult to work with? Which open source software do you find easy to work with? Which open source software is your favourite?

Video: Working With Video

I do admit that I have very little experience when it comes to video journalism so I have tried my best to get as broad a range of information as possible on this topic. I have included:



Information on cameras:

A couple of how to’s, tips and myths about working with video:

And longer form tutorials:

What experience do you have with video cameras? What tips can you share with us? What’s the best advice you can give someone new to video cameras? Please share.

Photojournalism: Photography Basics

Before you can start taking photos, it is important to understand a few photography basics. I found a great series of posts about the basics of photography on Lifehacker:



In addition, you can also read:

Audio: Tips for gathering audio

Great quality audio recordings are very important particularly if you are uploading your audio recording as a podcast, using it for a radio news bulletin and/or using it for an audio slideshow. Here are a couple of tips you can use when gathering audio for your story:



  1. It is important to know and understand your audio recording equipment before collecting any audio or conducting any interview.
  2. Always be aware of any background noise that might be picked up by your audio recorder. Always try to take your interviewee to a quiet place or a place where there is less background noise.
  3. Take note of any ambient sound that might contribute to your story. Ambient sound is useful because it helps set the scene in the mind of the listener and also provides for a more colourful audio story, instead of an audio story filled with endless talking.
  4. Let your interviewee do all the talking while he or she is answering your question. Do not fill that piece of the audio recording with your “okays” and “uh-huhs”. This will only create problems during the editing process. If you do want to acknowledge that you are listening and paying attention to your interviewee just make strong eye contact and nod while he or she is answering your question. Do not add on to what the interviewee is saying. Listeners want to hear the interviewee, not you.
  5. If you can, make note of any key points made during the interview and the point (time on your recording) it was made. This is especially useful in cases where you need to edit your work quickly.
  6. Always make sure that your recorder is recording before and during the interview. If you can, make notes while you are recording in case your recorder does not end up recording.
  7. Make sure that you have enough memory on or tape for your recorder and also make sure that your recorder is fully charged or that you have brought enough batteries along with you.
  8. Do not place your recorder on any hard surfaces that might result in noise during your recording. If you are collecting audio within a controlled environment, an environment with soften surfaces is preferable.
  9. Your interviewee should never hold the recorder.
  10. If it is a controlled environment, always brief your interviewee before the interview.
  11. Ask your interviewee if he or she has anything extra to add after the interview. This is usually where additional valuable information collected.
  12. Be natural, be conversational. This will help with the flow of the interview and help the interviewee to relax.
  13. However, if you have limited time to collect the audio, get straight to the point.
  14. If you are going to have difficulty identifying the interviewees in your audio during the editing process, ask them to introduce themselves at the beginning of the recording.
  15. Wear headphones while recording. When you wear headphones you can pick up on how the audio sounds and so, also, better judge and adjust the quality of the audio.

Do you have any other tips that you would like to add? Do you have any stories you can share with us about lessons learnt while gathering audio? Please share with us.

Data Journalism: Tools For Data Journalism

Just like with blogging and social media, you need to know which tools are available for you to use for data journalism:

10 Tools That Help Data Journalists Do Better Work, Be More Efficient

Data Journalists Discuss Their Tools Of Choice

Additional read:

Three Key Players You’ll Need To Build A Data Journalism Team

Do you use any of these tools? How do you find it? Do you know of alternatives to the tools mentioned?