Skip to content
Photo by Jakob Owens / Unsplash
Editor's note: This article is brought to you in partnership with Movavi. 

Music videos found their place in the entertainment industry since the emergence of Music Television (MTV) in 1981. Though they've been around for much longer, having a platform solely dedicated to sharing music with visuals became an experience people have started to look forward to.

The unique blend of sound, creative direction, and editing techniques involved in the production of music video production has turned it into an art form. Even more so, as technology continues to advance, it's enabled immersive music videos where fans can interact with the actual videos as well.

Music video editing is a specialized craft that requires a combination of editing skills and an eye for visual storytelling. Read on to learn about the art of music video editing and how you can implement it in your practice.

What is music video production?

Music videos are made not just as a creative interpretation of a song; it's also a promotional tool for artists to market their brand and identity. A music video can influence whether a song becomes a hit and impacts record sales and streams.

When you create music videos, it's important to be able to convey the message that the musician's song wants to impart, finding the balance of showcasing the artist and their talent.

The music video editing process

The music video editing process is a creative and technical endeavor that involves several key steps. It's a process where raw footage is transformed into a polished, final product that visually represents and complements the music. It can vary depending on production times, but ultimately it can be broken down into four key stages.

Here's an overview of the typical music video editing process:


The first and most crucial stage of production begins with pre-production. This is where planning for all the finer details come into play before you can dive into the actual work.

  • Concept development
    Before shooting, you need the idea ready. At the pre-production stage, a concept or theme for the music video is developed. This often involves collaboration between the artist, director, and editor to come to the final decision of what your video is all about.
  • Storyboarding
    Music videos always have a story. They can be linear, non-linear, or chaotic. After conceptualizing the idea, building the storyboard that outlines the visual sequence of the video will help lead viewers to the message. This can come in the form of a rough sketch, but the pros will have a storyboard artist illustrate the ideas for a clearer image of what they're planning.
  • Shot planning
    Planning the shot list of each scene goes hand in hand with storyboarding. This ensures that the footage created aligns well with the envisioned concept.


At a production level, the music video shoot is conducted based on storyboards and shot lists. This can include performance shots that feature the artist in different locations, often showing them singing or moving along to their song. Narrative scenes, dance sequences, and other special effects shots are done at this stage to pull everything together.


When it comes to post-production, it's important to compile all the various files needed for video editing to piece the entire music video together.

  • Organizing and reviewing footage
    Once shooting is complete, all the footage must be gathered and organized well for easy sourcing as video editors work through the entire project. Normally, the editor reviews each piece of footage to familiarize themselves with the content. They are then scrutinized and assessed by quality and relevance to the storyboard before sorting them accordingly.
  • Rough cut
    Rough cuts are generally about selecting the relevant clips that tell the story and stitching them together. It's also referred to as the initial assembly and is more about getting the video footage in the right order rather than perfect timing or effects. This can be tough especially if you're working with footage from multiple cameras.
  • Synchronization with audio
    One of the most crucial steps is synchronizing the thread of video clips with the audio or the main song. Sometimes there can be voiceovers or additional music as well that needs to be considered, depending on the creative direction. When syncing audio, all visual cuts, transitions, movements, and lip-syncing should perfectly align with the sound's beat, rhythm, and ultimately the mood of the song.
  • Refining the video and adding effects
    When the basic structure is finally in place, the editor refines the edits, making more precise cuts and transitions. This stage may involve a closer collaboration with the video editor, director, and artist for feedback and revisions. Visual effects, color grading, and transitions are also added in this stage to enhance the visual appeal and storytelling.
  • Final cut and revisions
    Once all elements are in place, a final cut is created. It is the most seamless version of the music video and is generally the final version. The final cut is reviewed by the director, artist, and possibly other stakeholders to see if all final revisions are made as necessary.
  • Sound design and mixing
    While the song audio is the main focal point of the music video, additional sound design like sound effects or ambient sounds might be added to add a more cinematic feel to the final video. Sound mixing ensures that all audio elements are balanced and cohesive before finally exporting the file.

Distribution and release

When the file is ready, it is then passed along for distribution and release. The final music video is then released through the chosen distribution channels and goes live on its designated launch date.

Technical skills in music video editing

To successfully create a music video, you go through many stages, each with their own intricacies for each skill. It can involve both proficiency in specialized software and an understanding of video production techniques.

Here are some of the key technical skills required for music video editing.


This requires knowledge of the intended shot composition, camera movements, and visual storytelling techniques. You'll also need the ability to interpret and enhance the director's vision through editing.

Color grading and correction

This skill looks at adjusting a video footage's color. You'll need to tweak color balance, saturation, and luminance to achieve a specific mood or style. Having a deep understanding of color theory and its application in visual storytelling will be valuable when color grading.

Audio editing and mixing

When it comes to audio-related editing and mixing, you need a good ear to execute well. The main task relies on synchronizing music tracks with video content while also adjusting audio levels, and adding sound effects.

Motion graphics and animation

Another highly sought-after skill in the video editing industry is the ability to create seamless motion graphics and animation. You'll need to create and integrate these elements into videos using professional tools like Adobe After Effects. This added visual effect can ultimately complement and enhance the music video's narrative.

Tools used in music video editing

The advancement of technology has enabled video editors to edit a music video more efficiently with a wide range of tools. While this list doesn't consist of them all, they are some of the most crucial tools a music video maker might need.

Video editing software

To make your own music video, it's important to choose the right music video editing software. Each music video editor offers a variety of capabilities, and depending on the requirements of your music video.

  • Movavi Video Editor
    A free music video maker that's ideal for beginners as it offers basic video editing features to help develop their skills. It also offers advanced tools that utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) to speed up production while also providing full control over traditional video editing capabilities.
  • Adobe Premiere Pro
    Widely used for its extensive features, Adobe Premiere Pro is great for editing music videos because of its compatibility with various file formats. Additionally, it can be integrated with other Adobe Creative Cloud applications.
    Another alternative tool that's on the more affordable end of music video makers is It's ideal for the seasoned professional video editor who wants to work with a combination of traditional video editing with more advanced AI video editing features.

Color grading software

When you want to make a good music video, it's important that you're able to visually evoke the mood of your music video concept. These are some good video editors that offer great editing features.

  • DaVinci Resolve
    DaVinci Resolve is a top choice for color grading primarily for its capability to color grade. With it, you can effectively control the many aspects of color along with lighting on the software.
  • Adobe SpeedGrade
    Adobe SpeedGrade is a sophisticated tool for color grading now integrated into Adobe Premiere Pro. It's ideal for a more cinematic type of music video, offering color grading and finishing tools for your final video.

Audio editing software

Audio editing tools are another valuable addition to the video creation process. Audio tracks are the very essence of making a memorable music video.

    An AI-powered high-quality audio separation tool. It can extract vocals, and instrumentals, and clean up background music with the use of noise reduction and algorithms.
  • Logic Pro
    Logic Pro is Apple’s professional audio production software. It's a professional tool also used for sound editing and scoring.

Asset management and collaboration tools

With the number of video files that come with the music video shoot alone, it's important to have the right asset management and collaboration tools that help make the production process flow smoothly.

    This cloud-based collaboration platform is used for sharing and reviewing video projects with clients and team members. It enables easy access and discussion over video projects.
  • Dropbox
    Dropbox is a commonly used app for cloud storage and sharing large video files. Its starting package allows you to use up to 3 TB of storage and lets you share up to 100 GB via links and folder sharing.

The value of skill and creativity in music video creation

The art of music video editing is a dynamic blend of technical skill and creative storytelling, translating a song into a visually captivating video. This process involves much more than just technical skill; it demands an intuitive understanding of rhythm, emotion, and an eye for detail.

As technology continues to advance, more opportunities open up for the realm of music video production. Innovations like AI-powered video editing and color grading can revolutionize the way editors approach their craft.