Church services generally last over an hour or longer. While that’s okay for an audience watching live, recorded video performs better with shortened clips. Why create video clips from your live stream?  To give your audience the chance to engage with the most important parts of an event. 

Reasons to Create Video Clips from Full Services

  • Replay viewers on your church website may only want to view certain parts of the service, such as a sermon
  • Social media views of replay favour shorter clips
  • Showcase the best parts of a long video in multiple ways
  • Create a compilation of different clips with music or narration to provide better context.
  • You may have content that is only relevant for the moment
  • Offer special service moments, such as a baptism, to the family to keep

Having a basic understanding of how to edit a video is an excellent skill to learn, both for your church and your own personal video creation efforts. In this article we will cover the basics for how you can create clips from full length videos for use on social media and digital platforms. Let’s get started…

How to Clip a Video

There are simple video editing products which are mostly free or low cost you can use to create short clips in minutes.

In general, these apps use a similar visual drag-and-drop timeline interface editor. This will help you crop and produce short video clips. There are some excellent free, easy to use editing tools you can download, but first, let’s break it down step by step!

Editing a video for a church service to create smaller clips to share on social media1. Import the video file you want to shorten

Install and open the program of your choice. There will be an option on any such program to use an Import button to add your video file or directly drag and drop it to the program.

Place your video into the timeline view for editing. Most editing tools will show you a video timeline that looks like this. 

2. Trim the Footage You Don’t Need

Now that you have your footage imported into the editor, scroll through it to identify the parts you know you want to include in your shorter clip. Select the points in the video timeline, most likely by right-clicking on the timeline to select the start point and end point of the video. Now you can delete all the sections you’ve split out and don’t need.

3. Add Effects and Preview the Clipped Video

Watch the shortened video and pay particular attention to the points where your new clip begins and ends, since you don’t want an abrupt beginning or end frame. Leave a little room at the start and end so that if your video editor has this option, you can add a smooth transition like a fade in or fade out to your short clip. 

4. Export the Video

Play the video back one last time to make sure you are happy with the clip. Then export it by clicking on File > Export. Most programs listed in this article will allow you to download the video directly to your computer and give you several options to select the format and quality of your exported video file. Make sure to export it in the file format that is compatible with the destination of your video!

Tips and Tricks for Short Clip Editing

Recommended Clip Lengths

  • With a regular church service stream, we recommend you break it down into clips that feature the most engaging moments for your audience to view in digestible sections of 5-10 minutes
  • For social media sharing you can use micro-clips of 30-seconds up to 3-minutes
  • Featured sermons are ideally 20-minutes in length
  • For special events like ceremonies, musical performances etc, a short clip including all the major action moments and highlights of the event between 3-5 minutes in length could be an ideal promo for the full length stream video. 

Should Clips be in Vertical or Horizontal Layout?

When you are filming your livestream, remember the video’s aspect ratio for the platform you will upload it to. To turn your camera on its side for horizontal shots or use your phone’s square (portrait) setting for square videos to keep your subject centred. Choosing Square or Portrait videos depends on the screen it will be viewed on. 

Because of the way a mobile feed is laid out, video previews display in a horizontal 16:9 aspect ratio. When you upload square and portrait videos to social media platforms, make sure you do not let your content get cut off.  Bottomline: it’s much safer to stick with horizontal video.

Female hand holding smartphone and watching video while standing outdoors to view a live streaming service.Tailor your Clip for Each Platform

There are different length limitations on every social media platform, so keep your videos within these defined ranges. Since the idea is to create shorter length clips, it’s a good idea to conduct some research  to see what are the ideal lengths for each platform like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter etc. Hint: shorter (1-2 min) videos work great as promos on these channels! 

Add Context

Have a good description and social media titles prepared before you upload your video clips. Once you get more familiar with editing software, adding Titles, Captions, Subtitles wherever possible will make your clips look professionally produced. Check out our post on adding text overlays. 

Audio Matters

There are a few audio options you can change that would suit social media platforms. For example, designing clips to work with sound off has become an important consideration for social media videos. Remove the audio completely by bringing down the volume to 0%. Add music by dragging and dropping an audio file into the video timeline, if the software you’re using allows you to do that.

5 Free Video Editing Apps to Create Video Clips

Good video editing software can help you showcase the highlights of your church service and produce professional clips on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, or anywhere else you share church videos.

Let’s look at five great tools to create video clips that are free to use and can get the job done for your church video needs.

Windows Movie Maker

Movie Maker 10 is a simple but solid video editing software for making quick edits to create video clips right away. Free and easily available for Windows users, Movie Maker 10 includes video and picture editing tools with some useful advanced capabilities. 

Features include: ability to add captions with customisable fonts and colours. Auto-preview tool for edits and effects, easily add music, titles, and credits


Headliner makes it easy to create a video with captions. But, the free version adds a watermark to your video. When you upload a video to Headliner, it can automatically transcribe the audio into captions, and also add images, videos, and GIFs to your video. Headliner is free to use for five videos a month while the pro version gives unlimited editing and custom watermarks.


Magisto is an excellent and popular video application that uses smart story detection technology to analyse and edit raw video footage and photos into produced video stories and professional videos. They also offer exclusive editing styles, access to iStock media, and customisable colours and fonts. You can try Magisto smart video editor for free but after the 7 day trial period you will have to choose from paid plans starting at 4.99 a month. Maximum video length is 10 min.

Quik by GoPro

Camera maker GoPro offers a highly capable free video editing mobile app for creating and sharing content from your smartphone and GoPro devices. Note that you can upload footage shot on any device to create and the videos created won’t have any watermark. Quik is aimed at casual users and lets you create videos with minimal effort. It automatically analyses your footage to find the best moments, adds beautiful transitions and effects, and syncs it all to the beat of the music. It’s designed to create videos that look professionally edited in just a few taps, whether or not you know how to edit.

Filmora Video Editor

Filmora has a modern & simple interface to let you merge, trim, split, crop and flip videos with ease. The Filmora software for Windows supports mostly popular video formats and you can create a sound track from a song or recorded audio. They have a library of over 800 stylish effects so you can transform your video with overlays, transitions, music and titles. The trial version of Filmora9 includes all the features as the full version. The only difference is the exported videos in the trial version are watermarked.

The No Frills Option: YouTube

This is the easiest free method to trim your video. You can edit your videos as you upload them to YouTube. However, they’re transcoded (converted to a different format), and you won’t be able to download and keep an uncompressed version of your edit. We recommended this only if you have no time to use a separate editing tool.

Video production can be quite complex, but creating short clips doesn’t have to be. With the tools above, you will be making short clips from your church live stream video in minutes. Shorter clips that will engage your members on social media and drive more people to your church services!