How to Make a Compilation Video

Man making a compilation video in computer at home desk

The only thing better than one great video is a compilation of a dozen great videos. Compilation videos package the best parts of other videos — like great moments in film, funny pet clips, or sports highlights — into one captivating video. Here’s how to make one that keeps viewers watching to the very end.

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What is a compilation video?

At its simplest, a compilation video is a single video composed of several clips. Compilations are some of the most popular videos to create for social media since they can showcase pretty much any content. The clips chosen for a compilation video usually have a connecting theme, whether that’s to tell a story, demonstrate a phenomenon, or just keep viewers laughing. A compilation video can also serve as an acting reel for aspiring performers or show off the mixing talents of aspiring editors. This flexible video style gives creators a number of ways to produce and present their art.

Before you create your own compilation video

Whether you’re looking to add to your YouTube channel or create compilations of your favorite reels for Instagram, this easy and flexible style can come in handy for any level of creator or editor.

  1. Make sure you have the right to use the content. This is always a good idea when you upload a video online, but it’s especially important in case your video compilation goes viral: if it uses the copyrighted work of others, you could face big-time legal or monetary penalties. Rather than deal with DMCA takedown notices or potential lawsuits, use your own video content for your compilations rather than someone else’s.
  2. Find your video clips. To make the editing process easier, collect the videos you want to use in one easy-to-access folder.
  3. Check the format. Before you start merging videos, check to make sure your media is compatible with the video software you’re going to use. Descript supports a number of formats for photos and video files, such as JPEG, GIF, MP4, and MOV.
  4. Check the orientation. Keeping your video segments in the same aspect ratio (such as 9:16 for vertical videos, or 16:9 for horizontally shot media) will help you create a more seamless transition between clips.
  5. Know your goal. When working with a lot of content, it’s helpful to have an idea in mind of how you want to arrange your video sections. Before you get started, outline the order of your videos. It might also be helpful to take note of how long each clip should last.

How to make a compilation video

Once you’re ready to edit, you’ll want to choose your software. If you want to work from your mobile device, you can edit videos for iPhone using iMovie and for Android using InShot. For desktop, Descript’s video editing tools provide super flexible options for compiling videos. Here’s how to make a compilation video in Descript:

  1. Gather your video clips. Select the clips you’d like to include in your video. You can use the Descript video editor to trim your video segments down from their full length. Descript editing is non-destructive, so if you make a mistake, you can always undo or just find your raw, unedited video files in the media library of the Descript editor.
  2. Create your compilation. Drag and drop each of your videos into the timeline at the bottom of the Descript video editor. Hover your mouse over the edges of each clip to resize it to your liking. You can also click and drag the entire video clip to rearrange its order in the compilation.
  3. Play back and edit your work. Watch your compilation video from start to finish. Take note of any choppy segues or moments that don’t flow well together. Use the inspector on the right side of the screen to adjust features like clip speed and volume. If you’ve included music or if there is dialogue in your video, make sure the audio lines up with the timing of your video. You can also alter the text in the transcription box as another way to edit your videos.
  4. Incorporate extra details. Add music tracks, text, transitions, or graphics to your video compilation to make it pop. Adding music or images to your video is as easy as dragging and dropping. If you add extra audio, use the blade tool to edit the snippet directly on the timeline. For speech-heavy videos, you can add subtitles to make your video more accessible.
  5. Save and export your file. Different formats may affect the quality and playback of your video, so make sure you export your file using the right resolution and/or extension. With a paid Descript subscription, you can save and export your media without the program’s default watermark — or even with your own personal watermark to let the world know who the video belongs to.

Final thoughts

Compilation videos are a popular form of content across many platforms, including TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram. People seek out compilation videos for a number of reasons, whether for amusement, education, or plain boredom. Compilation videos are also a great way to capture your audience’s picky attention span. While internet users consume more content than ever, the average length of video has shrunk over the years from seven minutes to just over five. Compilation videos are a great way to fit a lot of content into a little space, which helps you keep viewers glued to your video — and your video alone.

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