How To Make a Highlight Video—A Guide To Make an Outstanding Reel

Nick from InVideo Clock IconLast Updated on: October 12, 2021

When creating your highlight reel—especially your first one—not one of your decisions should be a shot in the dark. That can lead to a video that is weak in quality, atmosphere, and even storytelling, which is perhaps the important element of a highlight video.
Since you have a lot on your mind and plenty of choices to sift through when making a video, we have put together a comprehensive and easy-to-understand guide to help you along the way.
We should tell you right off the bat that you don’t need to worry about not having the most expensive equipment or professional video editing and producing skills. Stick with us, and you’ll learn how you can create an amazing and entertaining video fast—even without any prior experience!

What Is a Highlight Video?

When you hear the term a highlight video, you usually think of a sports event summed up into a short 1–2-minute clip. Similar to movie teasers, highlight videos should invigorate the viewer and pull them in. They should also get the gist of the story—in this case, of the event—across. 
You can have a highlight reel about any event, such as a conference, and even about a person. It isn’t so uncommon either that people make highlight videos for personal reasons—to capture a wedding ceremony, a birthday party, or a summer vacation at an exotic destination.
In any case, these types of videos are quite useful for promotional purposes. They are appealing to viewers because they are short and exciting. When done right, they leave the impression that the viewer has had a peek into something they couldn’t have witnessed otherwise.
Regardless of the event, they cover or the purpose for which they are made, highlight videos usually consist of a set of photos, short and engaging clips, and emotion-rich background music

Highlight videos are also made when you want to apply for college. If you’re a high school athlete who is keen on getting a scholarship for higher education, the best way you could pitch yourself to professional coaches and application boards is by sending them a video that highlights your skills and prior experience. A highlight video done for this purpose can last around 4–5 minutes. 

How To Make an Event Highlight Video

InVideo Match Highlights Template


InVideo Match Highlights Template

Regardless of your need for a highlight video, this tutorial will show you all the tricks you can use to make a quality piece without having to spend a dime on your project.
We’ll introduce you to the best free video editing software and guide you through the entire process of creating a stunning highlight video in minutes. 

In short, we will go over:

  1. Filming your footage
  2. Editing your video

How To Make a Highlight Video—Tips and Tricks

The quality of your highlight video will largely depend on the original footage of the event. With that in mind, there are a few preparation points you should go over before appearing at the event you’re going to shoot:

  1. The event timeline
  2. The shots you want to take
  3. Your equipment

Learn the Event Timeline by Heart

If you’re making a highlight video for an official event, a great tip is to study the event schedule beforehand. For example, if you’re filming a football match, you should know its exact timeline, from when the national anthem begins and ends to when each quarter starts.
If your highlight video will be about a conference, it’s even more important that you know when each speaker is set to deliver their speech, when the breaks are, and when the most exciting moments are supposed to take place.
Preparing in this way will help you stay on guard and take breaks when you know there is nothing to be recorded.

Make a List of Shots You Wish To Take

Besides knowing the event schedule, you should also make a list of your own. You can jot down the parts you wish to capture on camera, so you can be more organized at the event. 
You cannot predict each moment of the event and know for a fact when something shot-worthy will occur, but being ready in advance will help you capture as many memorable moments as possible.

Get Your Equipment Ready

Nothing hurts more than losing a great shot to a dying battery. Make sure all your equipment is fully charged and functional throughout the event. 
Additional tools you might wish to bring to the event are:

  • Extra batteries
  • Chargers
  • A tripod

Bonus Tips for Making Excellent Highlight Videos

When you are at the event, you want to film as many amazing scenes as possible. During the editing process, you will see that the more clips you shoot, the more choices you’ll have to play around with your video and make it as flawless as it should be. Here are the points you want to focus on when filming:

  • Crowd reactions. Every video you film should spark emotions in your viewers, and this is especially the case with highlight videos. One way to bring life to your highlight reel is to include the genuine audience reactions in it. Whenever you spot someone laughing, cheering, or shouting, be at the ready to capture it.
  • Close-ups. If you’re filming in high definition (HD), you will probably be able to zoom your shots without disrupting the video quality and get the close-ups that your highlight videos need. High definition isn’t always the best or the most available solution, though. If you are filming in standard definition, make sure to get plenty of close-ups on the spot. That way, you will not have to worry about disrupting your video quality during the editing process.
  • The opening speech. Sports highlight videos focus on the action and the most memorable moments in the game, but other highlight reels can benefit tremendously if you include speeches in them. If you’re shooting a conference or an award show, the opening speech will capture the essence of the event. You will not use the entire speech in your video, but even one sentence can help with the emotion and the message you wish to get across.

What About College Application Highlight Reels?

If you are a high school athlete who needs a highlight reel for a college application, you should find someone who can shoot your game.
If the game you are playing is organized by your high school, there is probably already a team that will shoot it. If not, you should think of the ways you can have the match filmed anyway. A tripod or monopod can help, but a parent or a loyal friend behind the camera is also an option. In any case, the ball is in your court.
Another assignment you have is filtering through all the existing footage you might have. As a high school athlete, the chances are your best performances are already captured in many videos. Your only task then is to sift through all the footage you have collected over the years and decide which ones you will use to make your video.
The only piece of advice to heed is to put yourself in the perspective of a person who will be watching your video, i.e., the professional coach. They will look for the moments that differentiate you from other players. Those can include the scores you made but also the attitude you have about the game. They will want to see if you are hard-pressed on winning even when your team is not doing so well, and they will look for signs that show you can learn from your past mistakes.

If you are making a highlight video to apply for college, you should keep these points in mind:

  1. Your biography
  2. Marking yourself among the players

Include the Biography in Your Highlight Video

The intro of your video should present personal information about you. Here’s what to include:

Video Parts

What You Should Include

First slide

A professional photograph and the essential personal information (name, date of birth, height, weight, and position in the sport you’re playing).

Second slide

A short description of your experience (the major games you played, the teams you played in, and the awards your team won).

Third slide

The statistics showing your experience (such as the number of games you played in total or the goals you have scored).

Point a Little Arrow at Yourself

When professional coaches view your highlight video, they have to know which of the players in the clip is you. To do this, you can add an arrow pointing in your direction. 

The arrow doesn’t have to be the element you use throughout the video. You can:

  1. Add a freeze frame to your first shot—you don’t want coaches to be bothered with having to press pause
  2. Download an arrow sticker or picture and add it to the shot—you will use it to point in your direction when needed
  3. Decrease the arrow’s size—it needs to be visible but not obstruct the entire shot
  4. Check your work—the freeze-frame should last no longer than a few seconds, with a little arrow pointing at you and disappearing after the first shot

Sports Video Editor and a Highlight Video Maker

InVideo Editing Software

InVideo Editing Software

When you have all your footage in one place, your next step is transforming it into a short and mesmerizing video—and that’s where video editing comes in. You want to use the best editing software to make your video perfect. InVideo helps you do just that.
We’ll show you how easy and effortless it is to do this in the InVideo video editing app.

InVideo—Your Best Friend When It Comes to Video Editing

InVideo is a cloud-based editing platform that makes editing fun, easy, and efficient. Along with its other features, the software’s drag-and-drop approach to video editing makes the entire process fast.
Here are other InVideo features that help you create a one-of-a-kind and professional-looking highlight video:

An InVideo Feature

Why It’s Handy

Millions of free music samples

Sometimes all your highlight video lacks is an effective number playing in the background. 

You can search through InVideo’s extensive library of royalty-free soundtracks to find just the one you need in your video.


If you’re a video editing beginner, you might need assistance with getting the hang of how all the features of the software work. 

InVideo makes it super easy to master the nitty-gritty parts of video editing in a couple of minutes of practice. 

If you are in doubt about how to use the platform to perfect your videos, our quick and easy-to-follow video editing tutorials are there to show you the ropes.

Advanced timeline

For more savvy video editors, InVideo offers an advanced timeline option. This feature enables you to see all your scenes and video effects as layers and edit them to your liking.

Get Comfortable With Your Sports Highlight Video Editing Software

If you are new to video editing, you’ll do yourself a huge favor by playing around with the video editing software and before you sit down to make your highlight reel. You can make an account on InVideo and, without wasting any time or money, try out our many features as early as today. 
Since you can learn the essentials of video editing in fewer than ten minutes in InVideo, you can proceed to uploading your highlight footage and polishing it to perfection.
Inside the InVideo platform—which you can use freely both on Linux, Mac, and Windows operating systems—you can play around with adding these elements to your video:

  • Photos
  • Text
  • Scene transitions
  • Voice-over
  • Music
  • Stickers
  • Graphics
  • Special effects

How To Make Quick Video Edits—Pro Tips

Here are some pro editing tips for a stunning project:

  1. Add exciting elements to your video
  2. Make fast cuts and unique transitions
  3. Bring variety into the video
  4. Add the right music

How To Make Your Video Fun?

If you’re a novice at making highlight videos, you might be tempted to present the event or the sports game you recorded in its chronological order. That’s not always the best choice. It is way better to lean towards suspense, entertainment, and atmosphere than actuality.
People who view your video will want to get the gist of the event—its summary—rather than a report of everything that went down. For this reason, pick out the most engaging moments of the event and include only them in your highlight reel.

Have a Fast Flow

You don’t have to make all your shots fast-paced and action-packed. What you should do is have speed reflected in your editing style. Fast and surprising transitions in your scenes are the way to go when making a highlight video.

Think of How You Can Include Variety

Besides the rapid scene transitions, think of the type of footage included in your highlight video.
Capturing unique responses from the bleachers and filming as many close-ups as possible will add the elements of variety, atmosphere, and storytelling to your final project. You want your viewers’ eyes peeled to the screen for the entirety of your highlight reel.

Add Music as a Final Touch

Background music is an inevitable part of any highlight video. It can greatly influence how the viewers respond to the message you want to get across. In the InVideo editing software, you can add music to your video with a single click.
One rule of thumb for the music in highlight videos is to start low. You should then build the anticipation with your music slowly until the story within the video reaches a high note. The music will then accompany the atmosphere of the video.

Are You Sold on Video Editing Yet?

Even though creating a highlight video should not be taken light-heartedly, the process of video editing can be a blast when you get the hang of it. InVideo was made exactly for that purpose—to make creating videos easy, exciting, and rewarding.

When you finish your highlight project and are ready to upload it, stick around with InVideo to hone your editing skills to the point of perfection. 

You can use our platform to your heart’s content without having to worry about video editing being complicated or expensive. If you need or want complete functionality, our paid plan is super affordable, and there is no limit to the number of videos you can export per month.

Create gold-standard videos in minutes with InVideo's online video editor. Join 7M+ users across 195 countries and create engaging videos on the go.

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