How to edit the Nike 'You Can't Stop Us' ad

Want to be a freelance video editor but not sure where to start?

Get your FREE 19-step Quick Career Plan • What to learn in what order to launch your freelance video editing career

Our techniques have worked with
by Shiny in Tutorials

So, have you seen it?

It’s been out for a month now and everybody has been talking about how great the editing is.

This ad.


Seems everybody has been in awe of how seamless the footage is.

But you can recreate it yourself if you like. Because this was edited with 100% found footage – footage that already existed, found on the internet.

You see the internet is overflowing with videos, just waiting to be pieced together and repurposed.

When people complain that they have no footage to practice editing with, well  now you have clear evidence that that is no excuse.

In fact I do similar work all the time for ad agencies – creating ads using found footage.

Here’s an example for a ‘fake’ ad for Comfort.

All the footage was sourced from YouTube and Vimeo etc.


The thing is, you just need a little patience. And that’s where most of us lose interest.

But before I lose you, here’s my 4-step process to create your own ad using found footage.





This might seem daunting to some but it shouldn’t. It’s actually quite fun. And believe me when I say I’ve made some great edits to a terrible script. Trust in your editing skills, not your writing skills. Figure out what sort of ad you want to make, watch some similar ones and get a feel for how they write the scripts. Then have a go at writing a few words to stretch out to 30 seconds.

Thirty second goes by a lot quicker than you think, especially when you add in pauses in the VO for dramatic emphasis.



Now you know what you want to say you can decide what footage you need. Make a list of what kind of stuff would look good at each point in the script. Now you have a shopping list. You can even use previous ads that you’ve used in the research phase.



Now you get to look for the footage you need. Your best bet is to search industry roundup sites like Campaign, PromoNews, Shots etc for campaigns that might have the subject matter you are looking for. Then find the spots on YouTube and Vimeo so you can download them using a third party software. Remember to abide by copyright laws.

You don’t have to worry about finding all of the perfect footage at this point, you can always go back to find more. Just get enough footage to get started.

You’ll also want to source a track for your ad as well. Think carefully about what emotion you want to trigger in the audience when choosing a track.


Now you’ve got all the assets you get to piece it together into a masterpiece. Record the VO as a guide and put it on your timeline. It doesn’t have to be perfect first time, you’ll figure out how to make it better as the edit progresses.

Then edit the music roughly to fit, emphasising key moments in the script. You can tweak the track when you have some footage in.

Now you should be getting a vibe from your audio of how the picture should play out. Chuck on some of the footage you have found.

When you have your first draft then review it. Figure out what does and doesn’t work, what is missing, and if all the ingredients seem to work. Is the track right? Does the footage need to have a certain feel to the colours that you are missing? What actions would work well with the footage you now have in?

From here it’s a case of revising, reviewing, and resourcing until you’ve got it looking good.




I’ve made tons and tons of these ‘fake’ ads for clients. They’re super fun and really rewarding. By far the most lengthy part of the process is finding the footage, but in the process you are absorbing some of the work of the greatest editors in the advertising world, so it’s win-win.

Have you tried to make a video using found footage? Show me, I’d love to see it! Are you struggling with any of the process? Let me know in the comments or send me a message. I’d love to help in any way possible.


Portrait of SHINY



Leave a Reply

Want to be a freelance video editor but not sure where to start?

Get your FREE 19-step Quick Career Plan • What to learn in what order to launch your freelance video editing career