How to Make a Rough Cut of Your Marketing Video - dummies

How to Make a Rough Cut of Your Marketing Video

By Kevin Daum, Bettina Hein, Matt Scott, Andreas Goeldi

The first step in determining what your marketing video will look like is to make a rough cut, in which you line up all the good footage to figure out what works. A rough cut is typically much longer than the final product, and it doesn’t contain many of the elements from the final video, such as titles and visual effects.

To make a rough cut, first log your footage, then follow these steps:

  1. Review your storyline in sequence.

    Tackle every scene separately.

  2. For every scene, find the best takes that you marked during logging.

  3. Mark in and out points for every clip to trim it to the part you want in the video.

    Don’t worry much about the exact timing. It comes later.

  4. Insert the clip in your editing program’s timeline, in any order you want.

    It’s just a sequence of clips with no further treatment.

  5. Repeat this process for all scenes to assemble a sequence of clips that tells your intended story.


When you watch your rough cut for the first time, it probably looks bumpy, overly long, and <ahem> rough. Your goal is simply to figure out how well your material works when it’s assembled.

If it’s possible in your editing program, make a safety copy of your first rough cut, of either the timeline or the whole project.

This copy may come in handy later in the editing process, when you don’t see the forest for all the trees and you need a fresh perspective. Making a copy can also be a helpful way to find raw clips quickly if you have a lot of footage.