Film and video editors compile and arrange footage shot by camera operators. They may also edit and sync the soundtrack to the final images. Film and video editors consult with the director on editing techniques and the overall vision for the project, they then edit individual scenes and their order to more clearly convey a story that informs or entertains.
Duties and responsibilities
- Study the script to become familiar with the story, concepts and requirements
- Set up and operate computer editing systems, including video switching equipment and digital effects units
- Collect and review all footage before assembling it into a complete product
- Organise, mark and connect raw footage according to the script and orders from the director and producer
- Review assembled video to determine any need for corrections
- Trim scenes to specified lengths and reorder when necessary to improve the narrative structure
- Consult with director and producers on editing choices to enhance dramatic effect
- Edit and sync soundtrack and visual effects to film, coordinating with all relevant departments
- Cut different angles of the same scene together with seamless transitions and narrative clarity
- Edit scenes with necessary spaces for audience responses, including shock or laughter
- Supervise workers who assist with editing, marking and assembling tasks
- Conduct film screenings for directors and other members of the production staff
Skills and knowledge
AVERAGE WORKING HOURS
Overtime work likely
Most film and video editors work full time on a project, but hours may vary depending on the shooting and production schedules. You may have to work long hours, including nights and weekends, to meet a deadline.
Film and video editing are typically done in an office or studio, with extended periods of computer work. Editors with regularly scheduled TV, streaming or webcast projects typically enjoy more consistent hours. Those who work in the motion picture industry can land lucrative gigs but face employment uncertainty between jobs.
Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.
Bachelor's degree in a film-related subject
Most film and video editors have a bachelor's degree in a film or broadcasting-related subject, including communications and media. Look for colleges that offer courses in filmmaking, including cinematography, digital camera work and film-editing software.
Consider earning additional certification in one or more types of editing software, typically offered by vendors. Online tutorials or classroom study end with a comprehensive exam. Some employers will also provide training in their choice of software.
You may begin work as a film or video editor at the assistant level, and then progress to roles with more responsibility. After gaining technical and supervisory experience, many film editors go on to overseeing projects as a director or producer.