How do you get movie clips to use in editing projects? There are a few different reasons why you may need pre-existing movie footage brought into your editing program of choice. Perhaps you are putting together YouTube content such as video essays or movie reviews and you need clips of the source material, or maybe you need footage to learn how to edit or to practice with. Whatever your needs may be, there are a few different ways one can go about sourcing movie footage. We will run through each viable method.

Hоw Do You Get Clips For Edits

Choose the Footage

It is important to note the legality of using pre-existing movie footage for your own purposes. Movies consist of copyrighted audio and visual material. Capturing, duplicating, and redistributing film footage can constitute copyright infringement and piracy.

However, using film footage to practice editing or incorporating movie clips in projects that fall under Fair Use are both perfectly legal endeavors. The following video breaks down Fair Use copyright law in great detail.

Fair Use Explained  •  Clips to use for edits

YouTube video styles that would be protected by Fair Use copyright law include things like movie reviews and video essays. For more on video essays, be sure to watch our recap of StudioBinder’s best video essays of 2020.

The best video essays of 2020  •  Subscribe on YouTube

The first step is to figure out exactly what footage you need in order to carry out your desired edit. Determine which clips or scenes you will need or if you will need the entire film to edit with. Gathering individual clips may be slightly easier than pulling all of the footage from an entire film but both are possible.

Once you have decided on the specific footage that you need, you can move on to one of the four possible options for pulling movie clips detailed below.

Where To Find Clips For Video Edits

Option 1: YouTube

You will not likely be able to pull entire films from YouTube, but if you only need certain clips or scenes, there is a decent chance that the footage in question may already be uploaded to YouTube. The platform itself does not offer a feature to download videos from the site, but there are various methods with which this can be accomplished.

Websites like and many others were built to download YouTube videos. Find your desired clip on YouTube, grab the share link, and paste it into one of these YouTube-downloader websites, and you will be presented with download links.

There are also browser extensions and plugins available that will enable you to download right from the video page on YouTube. And, lastly, there are also downloadable applications such as 4K Video Downloader that can be used to download YouTube videos.

This method involves installing the 4K Video Downloader onto your computer, then pasting links to whichever footage you need downloaded, and letting the application do the rest.

How To Get TV Show Clips For Edits

Option 2: Screen Capture

Screen capture and screen recording methods can be used to acquire movie footage to edit with. You may encounter some difficulty using this method depending on where you go to source the desired footage. Some streaming platforms, such as Netflix, have measures in place to block screen recording efforts as an anti-piracy measure.

If you attempt to screen record on Netflix, your recording will appear to show nothing but a black screen. Not all streaming services have these measures in place, and some screen-recording programs attempt to bypass this type of blocking countermeasure.

There are many ways to go about the capturing process itself. One of the easiest methods, which is also completely free, is to use Quicktime. Depending on the type of device you have, Quicktime may already be pre-loaded onto your computer. Quicktime features a built-in screen recording option.

By default, the Quicktime screen recording only captures the visuals on your screen, with no internal audio input, however, internal audio can be added to the capture using the method described in the video below.

How to add audio to Quicktime screen recording  •  How to get movie clips for youtube videos

Outside of Quicktime, there are many alternative options for screen-recording programs. Many of the alternatives are free but others do charge one-time or monthly fees. Also, be aware that certain screen-recording programs have been suspected of being scams or viruses, so be sure to conduct research into any program before you download it.

A physical option also exists for screen-recording: a capture card. A capture card can be a great way to source the movie footage you need for editing projects and it has a number of alternative uses as well. Be sure to look through our purchasing guide for capture cards before making a decision.

Where To Get Video Clips For Edits

Option 3: Physical Media Ripping

If you own the movie that you want footage from on DVD or Blu-ray, it is possible to rip the movie footage directly from the disc. Some physical media discs have built-in countermeasures against ripping for piracy prevention. But many DVD and Blu-ray ripping programs attempt to circumvent these countermeasures. The following video details the process of ripping a DVD onto your computer.

Howfinity explains how to rip a DVD  •  How to find movie clips for edits

To gather footage using this method, you will need a disc drive that reads either DVDs or Blu-rays, depending on which physical-media variety you have. The disc drive can be internal or external, it will not make a difference.

External disc drives made specifically for DVD ripping are available for purchase. But there are also ripper software programs that can carry out the task using any disc drive.

How to Find Videos for Edits

Option 4: Direct File Download

If a direct file download is available for the film that you require footage from, this will likely be the easiest method and the one that will get you into the editing the quickest. A direct download of the movie file may be able to be brought directly into the video editing program of your choice, or it may require a conversion to a file type more easily readable by the editing software.

Adobe Media Encoder is a great tool for converting footage. The following video will tell you everything you need to know in order to get started with Media Encoder.

Adobe Media Encounter Guide  •  how to get tv show clips for edits

Whichever method you use to gather movie footage, always be sure that your use of copyrighted material is protected by Fair Use copyright law.

Up Next

The Best Capture Cards on the Market

Those were a number of different ways to go about acquiring movie footage to use in your own editing projects. If the capture card method sounds appealing to you, then our rundown of the best capture cards available for purchase can help you make an informed decision when figuring out which capture card is best for your needs.

Up Next: Best Capture Cards →
Solution Icon - Shot List and Storyboard

Showcase your vision with elegant shot lists and storyboards.

Create robust and customizable shot lists. Upload images to make storyboards and slideshows.

Learn More ➜

  • Sam Kench is an internationally-awarded screenwriter, independent filmmaker, and film critic. Lover of foreign films; hater of American remakes.

Copy link