Video editing tutorial

Creating engaging video content has never been easier, thanks to Descript. This all-in-one audio and video editing platform combines the simplicity of text editing with the power of video production, making it an indispensable tool for creators of all levels. This guide will walk you through the essential workflows when creating video projects in Descript.

1. Transcribing your recording

A typical first step in Descript is to import your video and transcribe it.

Transcribing recordings in Descript

If you already have a recording ready to edit, you can:

  • Drag them straight from your computer
  • Use a URL for videos you’ve found online.

When transcribing multiple files at, you have options depending on how you want to upload and transcribe them:

  1. Combined into a sequence: this groups the recording to a sequence—a virtual container that groups related files allowing you to text edit them together as a unified script. This is ideal for situations like multiple speakers recorded in the session or different camera angles of the same video shoot.
  2. Keep separate: simply add the transcribe files to the script one after the other.

For more help and information on transcription, check out getting started article or the transcription articles in the  reference manual

2. Editor overview

Before diving into our creative process, let's take a quick moment to explore and familiarize ourselves with the editor. For a full walkthrough of the interface, check out our Descript tour video.

Screenshot of the Descript editor with editor panels labeled

The editor is where you'll create your video and audio projects. There is a lot that you can do here, so it's helpful to break it down section by section:

  • The Script editor is where you edit your media by editing text, correct and adjust your transcriptadd AI generated audio, and leave comments for collaborators.
  • The Scene rail lets you navigate through your project’s scenes like slides in a presentation. This feature streamlines rearranging visuals, ensuring your content flows just as you envisioned.
  • The Canvas is your stage for arranging and adjusting the visuals of your scenes.
  • The Timeline displays your composition over time, offering a traditional video/audio editing experience. Here, you can make precise edits to your media and adjust the word alignment of your script.
  • The Sidebar is packed with powerful features, so let’s look what each tab offers:
    • Underlord: your AI assistant editor that helps you make human content at inhuman speed. From writing to editing to promoting to publishing, Underlord harnesses the apocalyptic power of AI to strip away drudgery — leaving you in full control over your creative vision.
    • Project: Access all project files, sequences, and compositions in your project.
    • Scene: Customize visual scenes by applying premade layouts, effects, transitions, and more.
    • Layer: Adjust the visual and audio properties of your project.
    • Record: Record multitrack audio, video, and screen recordings directly into your project.
    • Elements: Add shapes, text, waveforms, progress bars, and more to your project.
    • Captions: Add fully polished captions to make your content more accessible.
    • Media and Music: Explore Descript’s vast library of stock media to enhance your projects.
  • The App bar is your hub for viewing project syncing activity, managing the compositions in your project, accessing settings and preferences. publishing or exporting your content, and granting project access to collaborators. 
New to script editing?

Check out our getting started article and learn how you can edit video and audio just like a document.

3. Adding scenes

Scenes is how visual changes are handled in Descript. Think of scenes like slides in a presentation. Whenever you want to introduce new elements like B-roll, titles, or make a change to a visual, you're essentially creating a new scene. 

Creating scene boundaries in Descript

  1. Add script content (video with spoken audio, or just audio) to your composition — either by importing and transcribing a file, recording your script content directly in the app, or writing your script from scratch using the writing tool.
  2. Place your cursor in the script where you want to add a scene boundary.
  3. Add a forward slash / to your script.

4. Video and audio effects

Descript offers a suite of effects that can transform your videos, making them more engaging and professional. Let's dive into how you can utilize two of Descript's flagship effects: Green Screen and Studio Sound, in your projects.

Remove backgrounds with Green Screen

Green Screen is a powerful tool for editors looking to blend elements seamlessly into different backgrounds or settings. This effect allows you to place your subjects in any environment without needing a physical green screen during filming. Here’s how to bring this creative vision to life in Descript.

Applying Green Screen effect in Descript

To apply Green Screen and remove your background:

  1. Select your video: the most straightforward way is to click on the video in your Canvas
  2. Enable Green Screen: With your video selected, ask Underlord to apply the effect, or open the Layer panel and turn on Green Screen. A message will appear indicating that Green Screen is being applied to the file. The processing time will vary depending on the length of the video.
  3. Add a background: You can use your own background image, or use a stock media visual. Once you add in a background to your scene, Right click on a visual in the scene and adjust the layer order.

For more help and information, check out Green Screen in our reference manual.

Enhance audio with Studio Sound

Now that your video is coming together, let's get your audio up to a professional production quality in just one click with Studio Sound. This flagship effect uses artificial intelligence to enhance speakers' voices while reducing and removing background noise, room echo, and other sounds you don't want.

You can apply Studio Sound to your script or layer from the Layer panel. Or, just ask Underlord to make you sound good.

Applying Studio Sound to a file in Descript

5. Add in transitions and stock media

Creating a video that captures your audience's attention requires more than just cutting and editing footage. Let's explore how you can use transitions and stock media to your project.

Adding transitions between scenes

adding a scene transition

  1. Select the scene you want to add a transition to. You can do this by placing your cursor within the scene, or click on the scene thumbnail in the Scene rail.
  2. Open the Scene panel of the sidebar.
  3. Click + in the Transitions section and choose In for a transition at the beginning of your scene or Out to add one at the end of the scene. 
  4. Fine-tune the length and properties of the transition by selecting the Additional Settings icon in Descript icon next to the transition.

Adding stock visual and music

Adding some stock media can really bring your video to life. Descript has an awesome library of videos, GIFs, images, and audio that you can use. You can find everything you need in the Media and Music panels on the right side of Descript.

Adding stock media in Descript

Here’s how to add stock media to your project:

  1. First, pick the spot in your project where you want to include some stock media.
  2. Next, explore the Media and Music sections in the sidebar to find the perfect images, GIFs, videos, music, or sound effects.
  3. Once you've found what you need:
    • If it’s a picture or video, simply click on them to automatically add them to the current scene in your project.
    • If it’s music or a sound effect, click the + button to add it right at your cursor’s location.

6. Exporting and sharing a project

Once you’re satisfied with your video, it’s time to share it with the world. Descript offers a wide variety of export and publishing options.

GIF showing how to publish and download your Descript project

You can publish or export your work in just a few steps:

  1. Select Publish and choose the file type or platform you will be exporting to:
    • The Publish tab allows you to publish directly to various integrated platforms. You can also publish to the cloud, then Download to your computer—it’s super-fast. Click here to learn more
    • The Export tab has various options for exporting to your computer.
  2. Adjust your export or publishing settings.
  3. Click Export or Publish button at the bottom of the Publish panel.
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