Edit Videos by Editing TEXT! (Descript Tutorial for Video Editing)

Imagine if you could edit your videos as easily as you can edit a Google Doc… Well, this dream has become a reality. 

Thanks to a powerful new video editing software called Descript, you can now edit videos by editing text.

Important: When available, we use affiliate links and may earn a commission!

In this Descript tutorial, we’ll cover everything from how to use the impressive Descript Overdub feature to why Descript has quickly become one our favourite video editing apps. 

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

So if you want to learn how to speed up your workflow, keep reading this complete guide to Descript video editing.

Here’s exactly what we’ll cover: 

Let’s get started. 

Descript Review

Descript started out as an audio editing tool (mostly for podcast editing) but there’s now a bunch of new video editing features that make it an awesome option for video editing. 

So now it can be used as a start-to-finish video editing tool. Or it can be used to edit your content down super quickly and then exported to more professional tools like Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere.

Descript is an awesome tool for beginner and advanced video editors

Descript is an awesome tool for beginner and advanced video editors

If you’ve got a ton of footage, this workflow will make it so much faster to edit your content by quickly skimming through and removing chunks of footage that you don’t need.

There are some really cool features that will help with your video creation. You can:

  • Save out captions and subtitles (as both subtitle files and text documents)
  • Add subtitles directly into your video
  • Add music and B-roll 
  • Edit with team members using the collaborative editing tools

But, as we mentioned earlier, by far the coolest feature is the Descript text to voice function known as Overdub. 

You can edit your video by editing the automatically generated Descript transcription 

You can edit your video by editing the automatically generated Descript transcription 

You’re probably wondering how on earth the Descript software allows you to edit videos using text? The answer is the Descript AI voice inside the Overdub function. 

It generates a transcription of your video file that you can then edit like a Google doc. So if you’ve made a mistake while you’re presenting your video, you can literally just delete that piece and type in the correct words. The Overdub feature will then read out the corrected version in your voice that is generated by Descript AI. 

It’s insane and a little bit scary but pretty damn awesome. We’ll do a full run through of the AI voice later, so stay tuned. 

Now, let’s run through how to get started with Descript. 

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, go to the top right corner again and select Download Mac App or Download PC App. We’ll be running through this tutorial using the Mac version, but the PC and Mac versions are identical so don’t worry if you’re using a PC. 

You can download the Mac or PC app (they’re both identical)

You can download the Mac or PC app (they’re both identical)

Download and install the app onto your device. 

Then open the Descript app and you’ll notice a menu on the left hand side. This is where all your projects will be visible. 

Go to the top right corner and select New or go to the middle of the screen and select Start new Project . Give your project a name and select Create Project

To import your video footage, drag and drop the files or select Choose a file. Find your files and select Open

Drag your file or choose a file from your computer and it will be automatically transcribed

Drag your file or choose a file from your computer and it will be automatically transcribed

As part of the import process, Descript will transcribe the entire file. While this is loading, you can click on Enter speaker name and type in the name of the person speaking. Then press Done

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

Enter a speaker name while your files are being transcribed

Enter a speaker name while your files are being transcribed

Up the top of the screen you’ll see the video controls. You can go back or forward five seconds with the arrow buttons, you can adjust playback speed, you can record more audio, and on the right you’ll see the audio bar. 

There are a bunch of features in the top video control panel

There are a bunch of features in the top video control panel

On the right panel, you can adjust the width and height of your video, you can view the track inspector, and you can see comments that your team has made if you’re working collaboratively. 

Go to the clip inspector and click the Video Settings icon in the top right. This is where you can adjust the orientation, resolution and frame rate of your video. 

Adjust the video setting by pressing the black icon in the top right

Adjust the video setting by pressing the black icon in the top right

How to Edit Videos Using Descript 

Now, let’s get into the editing side of things. 

Down the bottom of your screen you’ll see the timeline. You can move this around just like in most video editing software. But let’s take a look at what makes Descript really special.

Removing Mistakes in Descript

Where Descript gets really powerful is when you come up to the document. 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. 

You can adjust the timeline just like most other video editing software

You can adjust the timeline just like most other video editing software

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.

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

By editing and moving the text, you’re also changing the structure of your video

By editing and moving the text, you’re also changing the structure of your video

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

You can copy and paste any text to change the order of your video

You can copy and paste any text to change the order of your video

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. 

It’s super easy to remove pauses in your audio with Descript

It’s super easy to remove pauses in your audio with Descript

Go to the Settings icon in the top menu. Select Shorten word gaps… and in the left panel you’ll see all of the pauses throughout your footage. 

You can click on them and manually adjust them. Or you can go to the bottom left to the Shorten tab. Enter the amount of time you’d like to shorten each pause to i.e. 0.3 seconds. And select Apply to all. Now all of those audio gaps will be tightened up! 

Select the amount of time you want to shorten your pauses to and select Apply to all 

Select the amount of time you want to shorten your pauses to and select Apply to all 

If you zoom out on your timeline, you’ll be able to see all the cuts where Descript has removed the pauses. 

Remove Filler Words With Descript

If you’re someone who likes to say ‘Um’, ‘So’ or ‘You know’ (again.. guilty!), this is an incredible tool for you. Go to the Settings icon and select Remove filler words… Just like with the pauses, you can edit these manually or you can bulk remove them by selecting the Delete button.

Delete any filler words from your footage with the click of a button 

Delete any filler words from your footage with the click of a button 

Timeline Tools in Descript

You also have heaps of control down in the timeline. You can pick up and move your clips and pauses to make everything sound exactly the way you want it to. 

There are tools above the timeline to help you do that. The most useful is the blade tool which allows you to cut your clips so they can be moved around. 

Select the Blade tool to cut your clips so you can move them around

Select the Blade tool to cut your clips so you can move them around

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. 

Adding Titles in Descript 

There’s literally so much more you can do in Descript! But let’s start with adding titles. To add on-screen titles, select all the text that you want the title to be visible for. Go to the + button in the top control section, scroll down and select Title

The title will appear on the video preview. To edit the text, simply click and type. Then you can customize that text in the right panel. 

Select the text you want the title to be playing for and go to the + button 

Select the text you want the title to be playing for and go to the + button 

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. 

You can also pick it up and move it around in the timeline. Or you can click and drag it in the transcription area, so you can tell exactly which audio will be playing during the title. 

Edit and customize your text in the right panel 

Edit and customize your text in the right panel 

This is one of the most incredible aspects of Descript – you can edit so much of your video without needing to go into the timeline. 

How to Add Shapes in Descript 

The process for adding shapes is very similar to adding titles. Select the text you want the shape to be visible for, press the + button and scroll down until you find the shape you’d like to insert. You can choose from a rectangle, ellipse and arrow to name a few. Shapes can be customized in the right panel. 

You can customize the size, duration, opacity, fill color, stroke and shadow of your shape

You can customize the size, duration, opacity, fill color, stroke and shadow of your shape

How to Add Captions in Descript

Select the start of the text (or wherever you want the captions to begin) and go to the + button. Select Fancy Captions. This will add a text box to your video that is auto-captioning your video. 

Go to Fancy Captions to insert captions or subtitles to your video

Go to Fancy Captions to insert captions or subtitles to your video

To make any of these aspects last for the entirety of your video, go to the timeline and drag them out to the very end. 

How to add Audio Effects in Descript 

There are a bunch of effects in Descript that will help you clean up your audio. A lot of them are usually only found in professional software so it’s awesome to have them in here. 

Click at the start of the transcript and select Add effect on the right panel.

The Studio Sound effect massively improves the audio quality 

The Studio Sound effect massively improves the audio quality 

The newest effect is Studio Sound. This will cut down background noise and increase the quality of your audio. 

Descript Overdub Feature

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

To use this, you’ll need to train up the AI with your voice. 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.  

Go into the Overdub function and then you can replace any word with your AI voice

Go into the Overdub function and then you can replace any word with your AI voice

You can use this to create whole sentences and paragraphs that you’ve missed or you can use it to replace just one word. 

Select where you want the Overdub, go to the + button and press Overdub. Simply type the words, deselect it and it will start processing. Then press Play and you will hear your voice. 

It only takes a few seconds for Descript to generate the Overdub

It only takes a few seconds for Descript to generate the Overdub

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

Now that you’ve edited your footage, added any text, and included some Overdubs – it’s time to export. 

How to Export Projects on Descript 

Go to File and then Export. You’ve got a few options here but here are the ones you’ll most likely be using: 

  • Export directly to YouTube under Cloud export 
  • Save as a video file, text file or subtitle file under File export 
  • Send your project directly to Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere under Timeline export
There are heaps of options for exporting your file 

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 and Premiere is a game changer. This means you can quickly do a base edit using this 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. 

It’s super easy to export your file to other video editing software

It’s super easy to export your file to other video editing software

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

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: 

  • Creator: $12/month and includes 10 hours of transcription per month
  • 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.

We recommend choosing a paid option to remove the Descript watermark 

We recommend choosing a paid option to remove the Descript watermark 

Now You Know How to Edit Videos by Editing Text 

There you have it, our ultimate Descript Review & Tutorial complete with everything you need to know about this unreal editing software. 

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. 

This is an amazing tool that’s going to help a lot of people. We love it so much, we’re looking at building it into our own video editing workflow!

If you found this Descript tutorial helpful, please share it on social media or with others who would also like to speed up their editing process with this awesome software. 


Links

When available, we use affiliate links and may earn a commission!

Tools to Level Up Your Videos:


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!

Related Content

Share this...

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on reddit
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

More from Primal Video...

Insta360 Nano vs Samsung Gear 360 (Comparison!): Best 360 Camera? - Samsung Gear 360

Insta360 Nano vs Samsung Gear 360 (Comparison!): Best 360 Camera?

Review and comparison of the Insta360 Nano vs Samsung Gear 360 degree cameras. Which is the best 360 camera for …

View →

5 Tips to Make Videos FASTER!

Learn how to make videos FASTER with these 5 quick tips! Streamline your filming, speed up your workflow and edit …

View →
How to Make a YouTube Thumbnail - Quick and Easy (UPDATED!)

How to Make a YouTube Thumbnail – Quick and Easy (UPDATED!)

YouTube thumbnails are one of the most important elements of YouTube optimization. You could have the world’s best video, but …

View →
The Best Pro Waterproof Microphone is.. a GoPro!? - Brand

The Best Pro Waterproof Microphone is.. a GoPro!?

Whether it’s the ocean or pool in any level of production.. It’s hard to get good quality, clear audio when …

View →
5 Adobe Premiere Pro Editing Tips to Edit Videos FASTER! - Adobe Premiere Pro

5 Adobe Premiere Pro Editing Tips to Edit Videos FASTER!

Here are my top 5 Adobe Premiere Pro Editing Tips to edit videos FASTER!

View →
How to Add YouTube Timestamp Links

How to Add YouTube Timestamp Links (YouTube Chapters Tutorial!)

Learn how to add YouTube timestamp links to your video description, fast & easy! Here’s how to use YouTube Chapters …

View →
MoviePro App Tutorial – How to Film with iPhone Cameras! - iOS

MoviePro App Tutorial – How to Film with iPhone Cameras!

This MoviePro app tutorial will get you filming professional videos with iPhone cameras FAST!

View →
Ideas for Videos: How To Find Great Content Topics - Public Relations

Ideas for Videos: How To Find Great Content Topics

We all know the power of online video, and regular *useful* Video Content is the BEST way to grow your …

View →

YouTube Branding and WHY It Matters!

Tips on how to GROW on YouTube, why YouTube Branding is so important, and simple steps you can take to …

View →

Don't miss a thing!

Become a Primal Video Insider to stay in the loop.

If you get my best Blue Steel impression now, just imagine what's waiting for you on the inside...

Become a Primal Video Insider and unlock:

We hate spam and promise to keep your email address safe.
Check out our Privacy Policy for more info!

If you get my best Blue Steel impression now, just imagine what's waiting for you on the inside...

Become a Primal Video Insider and unlock:

We hate spam and promise to keep your email address safe. Check out our Privacy Policy for more info!