Descript Tutorial (2023) – Best AI Video Editor?

The Descript Video Editor is an awesome video editing software option with some incredible AI video editing tools that can save you a ton of time! 

One of the coolest features in Descript is that it can automatically transcribe your videos and you can then edit the video by editing the transcription – just like editing a Google doc!

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And it’s not just video editing that Descript is capable of. It also has powerful audio editing, podcast editing, screen recording and transcribing capabilities. 

Whether you’re an absolute beginner or an advanced editor – Descript will save you HEAPS of time. 

In this complete Descript tutorial, you’ll learn exactly how to use the Descript app on Mac & Windows. Find out why it’s one of the best video editing software options when it comes to streamlining your workflow. 

Here’s exactly what we’ll cover: 

Let’s get started. 

Getting Started With Descript 

First thing’s first, head on over to the Descript website. In the top right corner, select Sign Up to create a free account. 

Once you’re in, you’ll see a menu on the left hand side with various options and in the middle area is where all your projects will be visible. 

Go to the top right corner and select New Project. Select your project type (Video or Audio) and hit Done

New project button in Descript app
After sign up, click New project to start a project in Descript which will prompt you to also download the app

At this point it will prompt you to download the app. Select Download the Descript app and it will automatically start downloading onto your computer. 

Once it’s been downloaded and installed, open the Descript app. You’ll need to sign in again and then you’ll see that the app interface is pretty much identical to the browser interface. 

Double click the project you just created to open it. 

Descript app Recent projects page interface
Inside the Descript app, you will see the new untitled project you have created on the website

Start by giving the project a name. Below that you can see the different options for your project: 

  • Choose a file to transcribe
  • Start recording
  • Start writing 
  • Start from a template
New project interface in Descript app
This is what it looks like when you open a new project

Since we’ll be editing a video in this tutorial, we want to upload our video recording. You can either drag and drop the video files or select Choose a file

Likewise, if you’d like to edit audio files, you can drag and drop those sound files into the project for audio editing. 

As part of the import process, Descript will transcribe the entire file. You’ll get a pop-up window where you can select your transcription language, then press Transcribe

While this is loading, you can click on Speaker name and type in the name of the person speaking. Then press Done

Transcription pop up window where you add speakers in the videos in Descript
Enter a speaker name while your files are being transcribed (which should take just a few minutes)

PRO TIP: You don’t need to set the speaker name but this can come in handy if you have multiple speakers or if you want to train the AI to learn your voice (more on that later!). 

Then you just need to wait a minute while that finishes loading. 

Now on the left side you’ll see a complete transcript of the video. On the right side you’ll see the video file. Down the bottom is the video editing timeline. In the right panel you’ll find tools, effects and controls. There are also some extra tools in the top menu bar that we’ll cover shortly. 

Descript App interface
Like other video editors, you can find the editing timeline at the bottom of the screen

How to Edit Videos In Descript 

The first thing we recommend doing is locking down the video format. You can access this by hovering over the video window – this will show an icon in the top left corner of that box. This is where you can adjust the aspect ratio and video settings. 

There are a few options for different aspect ratios here: 

  • Landscape
  • Square
  • Portrait
  • Advanced (this is where you can switch your frame rate & video quality)

Now, let’s start editing down the footage. 

Aspect Ratio and other video settings icon on the top left of the Descript Preview Area
Change the aspect ratio and edit the video settings anytime by clicking on this icon on the top left of the video preview area

Removing Mistakes in Descript

One of the biggest advantages of having the transcript in Descript is that you can edit your video by editing this text. So not only can you use the video editing timeline to edit, you can also use the text. 

Just by looking at the script, you’ll be able to spot any mistakes you made while filming – where you’ve repeated something or taken a few attempts. 

It’s so quick to visually notice a mistake and delete it within the transcription. If you’re someone who takes a few attempts (guilty!), this allows you to see at a glance which ‘take’ was the good one.

A part of the transcription highlighted to show that you can highlight and hit delete to edit in Descript
Simply highlight the part you want to edit in Descript and delete to remove it from the video

So, to remove any additional speaking before your good footage all you have to do is highlight the excess text and hit the Delete button. 

And bam, that footage has been deleted. This is going to increase your editing speed so much! 

Moving Text in Descript

But deleting mistakes isn’t the only thing you can do. If you want to move a section of footage, simply select the text, right click and select Cut. Go to the place you want to move that footage to, right click and select Paste. Then hit the Play button and you’ll see how seamlessly this plays! 

PRO TIP: You can also use the regular keyboard shortcuts to do this (e.g. Command and V to paste). 

Remove Pauses With Descript

Another awesome feature is that you can tell whenever there is blank audio by the little pause icons. Next to the icon is the number of seconds that pause goes for. This makes it super easy to clean up your footage and remove any pauses. 

There are a couple of ways you can actually implement this though. 

First of all, you can just hit Delete on the keyboard where that pause is. 

Secondly, you can use the video editing timeline. Start by increasing the height of the timeline so it’s easier to see. Then scrub through your footage until you see a gap. 

Audio waveforms in Descript shown after the editing timeline's height was increased
Dragging up from the playback buttom area on the editing timeline shows the layer where you can see the audio waveforms

For example, we have a 5.2 second pause between the words ‘easier’ and ‘so’. We can click and drag the word ‘so’ to remove the gap and place it next to the word ‘easier’. That gap will now be removed. 

Another way you can do this is using the automatic gap removal tool. 

Go to the Effects icon in the top right corner of the transcript window. If you hover over this icon it says ‘Shorten word gaps, remove filler words and more’. 

Diamond icon on the top right of transcription area for shortening word gaps, removing filter words, and other features in Descript
You can select the amount of time you want to shorten your pauses to and then press Apply to all 

Select Shorten word gaps… and you can set the threshold (e.g. any pauses that are three seconds or more) and select the length you’d like to shorten them to (e.g. one second) and then press Apply to all

Now all of those audio gaps will be tightened up! 

PRO TIP: You can also check out the filler word removal tool to remove filler words such as ‘um’, ‘ah’, and so on. 

Timeline Tools in Descript

As we mentioned, you also have heaps of video editing features down in the timeline. You can pick up and move your clips to make everything sound exactly the way you want it to. 

One of the most useful is the Split tool which allows you to cut your clips so they can be moved around. You can access this by right clicking on a clip and selecting Split

Now that you’ve got the hang of editing in Descript, let’s take a look at the other things you can do in this awesome software. 

How To Add B-Roll In Descript

You also have the ability to add b-roll or overlay clips, graphics, animations and other cool things like that into your videos. 

But the way Descript does this is a little different to most video editing software. 

Descript uses something called Scenes to help you control what’s being shown on screen. 

Each Scene is indicated by a / on the transcript. To insert something into that Scene, press the + button.

Forward slash in the transcription area in Descript indicates a scene and a plus sign symbol next to it can be clicked to add additional files or another scene
To add a file or another scene, click the plus sign (+) next to the forward slash ( / ) on the left hand side of a section on the transcription area

From here you can choose from a bunch of different things, such as: 

  • File
  • Marker
  • Comment
  • Recording
  • Text
  • Captions
  • Shape
Additional options under the plus sign including Recording, Text, Captions, Shapes, Waveform, Animation, and more
You can add texts, captions, audios, shapes, and many more by clicking the plus symbol that can go on top of your main video

Go to File so you can select the b-roll clip you’d like to add in. 

That footage will be added in as a clip above the primary footage layer on the video editing timeline. 

It’s a good idea to switch to Layer view on the video editing timeline so you can see the different video layers. To do this, select the Layer icon in the top right of the video editing timeline. 

Layers icon in Descript app that looks like staggered stacked lines
Selecting the stacked lines icon on the right hand side of the editing timeline will show you the layers of your project

Just like in regular video editing software, you can trim the b-roll clip by grabbing the handle and dragging it to the point you want it to start. 

To remove the audio from your b-roll footage you can select the clip, go to Audio in the right panel and hit the Mute button. 

Audio settings on the right hand side of the preview area with mute enabled
Select the video you want to remove the audio from and hit the speaker icon on the right side under Audio

One thing to note is that you can only add ONE b-roll clip per Scene. If you want to add more, you’ll need to create another scene. To do this, press the Add Scene button next to the + button. 

This will add a / indicating that a new Scene starts. Now that you have an extra Scene, you can add another b-roll clip. 

How To Add Titles In Descript 

To add on-screen titles, go to the T icon in the top menu bar and select Title

The title will appear on the video preview. To edit the text, simply click and type. 

T icon on the top bar for titles, subtitles, texts, and captions
To add a text in your video, click the T icon on the top bar and select Title

Then you can customize that text in the right panel. Things like the font, size, color, border and much more can be adjusted here. 

You will see the title as a chunk in the timeline and as a small square in the transcription. Just like in most video editing software, you can click and drag the box in the timeline to adjust the length of time the title appears for. 

A title layer selected in the project and right side bar highlighted where you can customize the font style, size, and alignment among other settings you can edit
Edit and customize your text in the right panel

You can also pick it up and move it around in the timeline if you want to change when the title will appear. 

How To Add Effects In Descript

Select the primary video clip on the timeline and go to Effects in the right menu.

Press the + button and you’ll see the different video effects available in Descript: 

  • Chroma key
  • Color adjustments
  • Blur
  • Film grain 
  • Pixelate
  • Zoom blur
  • Eye contact 
Effects settings on the right side bar in Descript with options like Chroma key, Color adjustments, Blur, Film grain, Pixelate, Zoom blur and Eye contact
To add an effect, simply click on the Effects or plus icon next to it and choose what you want to use

So there’s lots of cool stuff in here that you can use. 

The Eye Contact feature is a new tool that’s out in beta. This comes in handy if you weren’t looking at the camera lens while filming (e.g. maybe you were reading from a script slightly off to the side). 

It uses AI to make it look like you were making eye contact with the camera lens at all times. We tested this out and it was surprisingly impressive and a bit creepy! It worked really well when the person was looking to the left, right and below the camera, but it wasn’t great when looking above the camera. 

We can definitely see this being useful for a lot of people though! 

Eye contact feature enabled under Effects in Descript
Add and enable Eye contact under Effects when you want to make it look like you’re always looking straight at the camera

How To Add Audio In Descript

To add music to your video project, you can either drag and drop the audio file onto your project or you can go to the + button, select File and choose your audio file. 

The music file will appear as another layer on the video editing timeline. You can edit this clip the way you can edit any other clip on the timeline. 

Music waveform selected in the editing timeline and a green underline on the transcript indicating a music is added and overlapping the layers in Descript
Once your music is added, a green line under the transcription will be visible on the parts it overlaps in the layers

Another awesome feature inside Descript is that it will automatically set your music levels. It does this by analyzing your music track, analyzing your primary audio and then adjusting the volume level of the music to what it thinks is a suitable level. And it does this really well! 

If the automatically set levels aren’t to your liking, you can select the audio clip and go to Audio in the right menu. This is where you can manually adjust the volume levels. 

Audio volume slider that you can drag left or right to adjust the desired decibels of your audio or video file
You can adjust the desired volume on the right sidebar under Audio, next to the speaker icon that you can use to mute your audio

It’s not just the music clips that Descript does this for. It also adjusts your primary audio levels to what it has determined to be the optimal level. 

There’s a good chance you’ll find these automatically set levels are just right. 

Audio Effects in Descript 

There are a bunch of awesome audio effects in Descript that will help take your video project to the next level. A lot of these are usually only found in professional software so it’s awesome to have them in here. 

Audio Ducking

Audio ducking is a feature that adjusts the volume levels of your music track so that when there isn’t someone speaking in your audio, it will boost up your music volume. Once it detects that someone starts speaking, the music levels will be lowered back down. 

To turn this on, select the audio clip, go to Audio Effects in the right menu and toggle on Ducking

Studio Sound

Studio Sound is an amazing AI sound processing feature. It does an awesome job of cleaning up your audio, removing background noise, removing echo and that sort of thing. 

Basically it makes your audio sound great with the click of a button!

To turn this on, select the audio clip, go to Audio Effects in the right menu and toggle on Studio Sound

Studio Sound feature settings under Audio Effects in Descript
The Studio Sound effect massively improves the audio quality 

How to Add Captions in Descript

Descript makes it incredibly easy to automatically add captions to your video projects. Go to the T icon in the top menu and select Captions

Then as you scrub through your video, you’ll see that the text in the transcript appears on screen as the video plays. 

Captions option under the T icon on the top bar in Descript
Add captions by selecting Captions under the T icon on the top bar

And again, all of this is customizable. You can change up the size, font, effects and more. If you go to Style, you can select from a huge range of different caption-types that can help you create really engaging and dynamic captions. 

For example, you can make the active word highlighted or you could change how future words look to differentiate the words. 

It’s super powerful to have this tool so easily accessible and to be able to add captions so quickly. That’s right, no more manually typing out each individual word!

Customizable settings for Captions in Descript
You can customize your Caption’s text or background color or enable active or future words

How To Adjust Colors In Descript

You can also do color grading or make color adjustments in Descript as well. 

To do this, select your primary footage clip and go to Effects in the right menu. 

Hit the + button and select Color adjustments

Color adjustments settings under Effects in Descript
Select the video you want to color correct and adjust the settings on the right side bar

Now keep in mind these tools aren’t bad, they will allow you to make some good adjustments – but they definitely aren’t professional grade tools. 

Some of the color settings we’d recommend adjusting include: 

  • Exposure 
  • Color temperature
  • Saturation

There are also some other settings in there if you’d like to tweak things further. 

Descript also makes it really easy to apply those effects to all your video clips. Once you’re happy with the color adjustments, just select Apply to all scenes in the right menu and then all your Scenes will look the same. 

Apply to all scenes button under the right side bar settings in Descript
You can select “Apply to all scenes” once you’re happy with the color adjustments you’ve made

Descript Overdub Feature

As we mentioned earlier, this is probably the coolest feature of Descript. It’s an AI voice generator that matches your voice which you can use to correct any mistakes. 

You can use this to create whole sentences and paragraphs that you’ve missed or you can use it to replace just one word. You could even use it to generate content for you using one of the stock voices. 

To use the overdub feature in your own voice, you’ll need to train up the AI. Previously you had to read out set scripts so it could learn your voice. But now all you need to do is upload video or audio files of yourself speaking and it can learn your voice that way.  

Overdub feature under the Script tool icon on the top left corner of the transcription area
Go into the Overdub function in the top left corner

Select the icon in the top left corner of the transcript window and press Overdub

Highlight the text that you want to change and it will prompt you to assign a voice. You can choose from one of the stock overdub voices available or hover over Overdub Voice and select I want an Overdub voice that sounds like me

Edit speakers pop-up window where you can add a speaker and train the Overdub Voice to sound like you
Select from available overdub voices or train Descript to make a voice that sounds like you

A new window will appear. Select Create a new voice and enter a name for the overdub voice. From here you need to upload or record at least 10 minutes of your voice, but they recommend using 30 minutes for a more accurate overdub. 

Once you’ve provided that, it can take 2-24 hours to have your voice created. 

When your voice is ready, select the words you want to change again, press Replace with and hit Overdub

Overdub selection after highlighting a text in Descript
Highlight the text you want to overdub, click Replace with and select Overdub

Simply type the words, press Overdub again and it will start processing. Then press Play to hear your updated content. 

This is unreal – you can super simply swap out a word without needing to reshoot a whole chunk of your video. 

One thing to note is that there is no video footage associated with the new audio you created. So you’ll likely want to add some b-roll clips over the top of this footage. 

Overdub feature on a highlighted word to be edited in Descript
It only takes a few seconds for Descript to generate the Overdub

Now that you’ve edited your footage to create a video masterpiece, it’s time to export. 

How to Export Projects on Descript 

Go to Publish in the top right corner. You’ve got a few options here but here are the ones you’ll most likely be using: 

  • Publish directly to YouTube and other video platforms under Publish
  • Export as a video file, audio file, GIF, transcript file or subtitle file under Export
  • Export your timeline directly to other video editing software for further editing under Export
Publish menu with different platforms you can publish a Descript project to
There are heaps of options for exporting your file 

Once you’ve selected your export type, you can go ahead and dial in some of the video settings. You can change the video quality, dimensions and video title here. And then hit Export

The fact that you can export directly to more professional editing software like Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro and DaVinci Resolve is a game changer. This means you can quickly do a base edit using these incredible tools and then send it to your usual editing software. 

This will save you so much time! You’re not just limited to the video editing software listed – it will work with a lot of other editing software as well. 

Of course, you can also still use it as a complete end-to-end editing solution. 

Exporting menu options in Descript
It’s super easy to export your file to other video editing software

Descript Pricing Guide

There is a free plan available but any videos you export using the free version will have a watermark. We recommend paying to remove the watermark so that your videos look more professional. There are a couple of paid plans to choose from: 

  • Free: $0/month and includes 1 hour of transcription per month & has a 720p export limit
  • Creator: $12/month and includes 10 hours of transcription per month & a 4K export limit
  • Pro: $24/month and includes 30 hours of transcription per month plus access to all features 

So if you want to use the Overdub feature, you’ll need to be on the Pro version. We think this is a small price to pay for something that will save you SO much time. 

Descript Pricing Plan
We recommend choosing a paid option to unlock a lot more of the awesome features

Now You Know How to Edit Videos by Editing Text 

There you have it, our updated Descript Tutorial with everything you need to know about this unreal video editing tool. It’s awesome to see how far it’s come and how many new features have been implemented since our last tutorial!

Even if you’re an absolute beginner, Descript has all the tools to make editing quick and easy for you.

If you’re more advanced, this will help you edit down heaps of footage fast so you can build out your story and then export to more professional editing software. 

Descript is one of the best video editing apps for anyone looking to speed up their video editing workflow!

Now that you know all about Descript, if you want to find out the other awesome AI tools we recommend right now check out our guide on the Top 5 AI Tools For Video Editing

FAQ

Is Descript good for video editing?

Absolutely! Descript is a powerful video editing tool that allows you to quickly edit down your content, without needing strong video editing skills. 

Can I use Descript for free?

There is a free Descript plan available but we’d recommend jumping on a paid plan to unlock all the powerful features. 

Is Descript a video editor?

Yes, Descript is a video editor as well as an audio editor, podcast editing tool, screen recorder, transcription tool and much more!


Recommended Gear & Resources

Check out an up-to-date list of all the gear, software & tools we use and recommend right now at Primal Video on our resources page here!

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