How to Use Descript if You’re Used to a “Real” Video Editor

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If you already know how to edit your YouTube videos in Premiere Pro or Final Cut, then what the heck do you even need Descript for? It’s kind of infuriating to use if you already know how to use a traditional timeline editor. However, despite Descript’s quirks, it has improved my workflow quite a bit. And I’m talking about saving a ton of time in the building of my YouTube videos. Even though I do still use Premiere Pro. So let’s talk about it.

Watch the Video: How to use Descript if you’re used to a “real” video editor

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Editing in a Doc

Descript’s whole personality is editing, just like you’re editing a document. This means that as the words come out of your mouth in the video, they’re being transcribed. And you can see them on the screen. You can get rid of all the parts where you messed up and rearrange things. You can also get rid of stuff without having to do that in the timeline. This makes sense if they’re trying to build a product for people who don’t want a cumbersome editor.

Maybe you mess up a lot in your videos, and you don’t want to scrub through the entire timeline to find all the good takes. With Descript, you can read through the doc, see where you’ve restarted your same sentence 17 times, and get rid of all of that. You don’t even have to scrub through it in the timeline. This has been probably the biggest time saver for me, because of the way I record my videos. Because I mess up a lot.

Related: Video Editing with Descript

Editing with Scenes

Descript’s scenes feature is a way to pretend that you’re not actually editing a video and just editing a document. You can put a sentence in the scene and decide visually what you want to be in the scene, maybe some B-roll. And by using the doc, you can say when you start and end the word, and you can put whatever you want in the scene.

However, the concept of scenes can be very confusing and frustrating, whether you’re used to using a traditional editor or not. It’s not very consistent, and it might make you feel like you don’t even know what you’re doing. And at that point, I’m thinking, why don’t we just pull this into Premiere Pro and edit it like a real video? Because that’s really what we’re doing here is editing a video. Because you can apply scenes to different parts of your document.

Editing with Sequences

Sequences are another area of confusion and frustration for Descript users. And we have sequences in Premiere Pro, and in Final Cut Pro, I think. It’s been a while since I use Final Cut, but I’m pretty sure they have them. So a sequence is if you have multiple tracks that you want to stay together like in a bucket. It’s a way to give people who want the fine-tuning control of the different tracks on the timeline, but still want to keep the main timeline simple.

Descript vs. Traditional Timeline Editor

If you already know how to use a traditional timeline editor, you might find Descript a little frustrating to use. However, despite its quirks, Descript has improved my workflow quite a bit. I still use Premiere Pro too, but Descript has helped me save a ton of time in the editing and creation process.

Descript’s team wants it to stay kind of simple and accessible for people who don’t want a cumbersome editor. But people who know how to use regular traditional editors are using it and want all those same features. When you do go to the timeline in Descript, the way that the cuts, scenes, clips, and sequences work is totally different from a traditional timeline editor.

Related: 6 Things That Would Make Descript PERFECT (again)


Now I do want to say that this is not a complaint post about Descript. I don’t hate Descript. It saves me time in my rough cuts and getting rid of stuff I don’t want in my videos. Also maybe rearranging clips as I go and piecing together the foundation of a video. And then I export it and bring it into Premiere Pro, then I have a whole video. But it doesn’t matter what editor I’m using. I’m always following my BFF process of Basic, Fine Tune, and Fancy. And I have a guide about that for you here.