How to become a video editor? – Everything you need to know

Written by Matic Broz Updated on October 21, 2021

How to become a video editor? – Everything you need to know

Digital media has allowed us to achieve dreams more easily. For instance, you can learn a new skill just by watching a few YouTube videos. In the past, you had to buy a book or go to a lecture. As a result, many industries are adopting this new trend to increase their work efficiency.

The increasing digitalization requires new content daily. Lucky for you, this raises the demand for professional video editors.

And this article covers all the basics you need to know about becoming a video editor.

What is a video editor?

The term “video editor” can confuse some people. We use it to describe both the person editing videos and the software they use. A video editor’s job is to work with the director and videographer. They edit the video to tell a compelling story.

Video editing includes using various techniques to enhance audio and video. It’s a job that requires both passion and patience. Especially since a 20-minute video requires up to 16 hours of editing.

A director films videos and the editor stitches them together. The goal is to tell a story in a short time while maintaining the viewer’s interest. To sum up, video editing is the process of combining the best footage into a meaningful sequence.

What does a video editor do?

The job of an expert video editor starts after the film’s pack up. A team of video editors handles all post-production stages of videography. They use powerful video editing apps to trim, cut, rearrange and join clips. A video editor optimises video and audio segments by providing visual effects like CGI. They can also integrate graphics and sound effects into the film.

Every movie, TV series or YouTube video is edited. The video editor’s job is to ensure that film is short without altering the director’s vision. They must cooperate with the director and staff members. It ensures leaving out crucial clips from the final cut.

How much does a video editor make?

Video editing is a growing niche with a constant need for new talent. The video editor’s salary depends on several factors. It’s based on the project’s budget and duration, the technology involved, and the editor’s expertise. According to the US Bureau of Labor, a pro video editor earns $61,900 per year. However, this is just an estimate. Usually, an experienced video editor can earn up to $80,000/year. And freshers earn up to $49,000/year.

Similarly, the YouTube video editors’ salary depends on the channel’s popularity. YouTubers earn a lot more than some film producers. For example, PewDiePie has more subscribers than the Indian music producer T-series and has a net worth of $64 Million. So, the expected salary of his video editor is around $100,000 per year. Overall, expert video editing is a skill in demand. And the editors earn a handsome salary compared to other fields.

How to become a video editor?

Film editing is different from video editing. It requires creativity and hard work to achieve your goal. However, the first steps into the editing world are the hardest. You must decide where to start. Once you set your plan, you can start working towards your goal.

So what can you do? Here are a few tricks that will help you get started with a career in video editing.

Choose a genre

Videography is a diverse field with new genres emerging all the time. So, if you have ever dreamt of becoming a video editor, I recommend you edit what you like. Each video genre requires an expert video editor.

For instance, no one hires a film editor to edit cinematics. So, the first thing you need is to select the best genre for yourself. And only when you master one you should broaden your repertoire.

Find a source of stock footage

You won’t always have the footage you need. When that happens, you can use stock footage. Those are the clips other artists filmed and now sell. For example, you might have to add a clip of the Amazon rainforest. Are you going to fly there to get it yourself? Probably not.

Also, every video editor needs music, audio, and special effects. The best way to get those is with stock footage sites. For example, Storyblocks offers unlimited downloads for everything. That includes footage, music, audio, images, and templates, and special effects. These valuable resources come with the lowest price in the industry. So, it doesn’t surprise me that even famous YouTube video editors use it.

Practice and develop new skills

To become a successful video editor, you have to keep an open mind. New technology and techniques are developed daily. So, you should keep an eye on the latest trends and strive to build your skills. You know that practice makes perfect. And this phrase is of great importance in creative fields. So, choose the right tools and polish your skills by working your way up from simple to complex projects.

Apply for jobs

The vital part of becoming a pro video editor is to make the most out of every opportunity. In this regard, choosing the right channel is as important as the job itself. Currently, most employers look for potential candidates online. You can enlist on the job websites and join social media groups.

Don’t underestimate the value of good connections. Working as a freelancer helps establish contacts with people in the industry. After all, meeting other editors will help you become more proficient at video editing yourself. Furthermore, your best shot at getting hired is to build an impressive portfolio and resume.

Get a degree (optional)

A bachelor’s degree isn’t necessary for becoming a pro video editor. However, it increases your chances of securing a permanent position in a reputed firm. Moreover, an expert degree in film studies or production improves your video editing. In addition, it teaches you workplace ethics.

Statistics show that video editors with a degree are more dedicated to their job. Similarly, it’s best to keep learning new skills through online certification programs to remain up to date.

Want unlimited stock footage downloads? Storyblocks is your best option.
Try Storyblocks

How to become a YouTube video editor?

YouTube is the largest video platform in the world. Billions of users worldwide watch YouTube videos daily for education and entertainment. So, new YouTubers join the platform to get a piece of the pie. They hire professional video editors and pay them hefty salaries along with other benefits. So, if you are thinking about switching your career and becoming a YouTube editor, now is a perfect time.

YouTube videos

YouTube video editing is quite different from typical Go Pro or tourism editing. You must tell the whole story in just a few minutes. And weaving in a sponsor promotion without angering the viewers. However, you can quickly become a successful YouTube editor by following these tips:

Understand your job

YouTube video editing is a tricky job. It requires absolute precision at trimming and joining clips. Even a slight delay in the frame can make a video look disengaged and sloppy. Ergo, it is best to use high-quality video editing software. In addition, you need to pay attention to every frame and frequently check that everything is okay.

Catch the audience

Pro video marketers suggest that an eye-catching thumbnail is a key to success. It is your job as a video editor to select the most exciting part of the video and use it as the thumbnail.

Control the flow

Once the viewer clicks on the thumbnail, the real magic of the video editor comes into play. A video editor’s job is to ensure that the audience remains engaged throughout the video. Usually, videos edited by pros perform best. You can use many techniques like enhancing the video and audio, polishing the frames, and adding filters. If you’ve got time, you can also add subtitles to the video.

Use a proper platform

Most YouTubers hire their video editors from freelancing websites like Freelancers, Fiverr, and Upwork. Once you are an expert YouTube video editor, it is time to enlist in one of these websites. Additionally, you can check Facebook pages to find jobs. I recommend that you save your best work to send as a sample to future employers. If you remain consistent, you’ll find a job in no time.

7 most important video editor skills

Video editing is a field where you never stop learning. Syncing with new skills can help you outgrow your competitors, thus making you successful in the field. However, these 7 skills are a must. They will help you stand out from the crowd and output excellent results.

You might notice that you already have some of these skills, so you are already halfway there. You can learn the rest with experience or while studying. The 7 essential skills every video editor should know are:

  • Paying attention to details
  • Flexibility
  • Communication skills
  • Creativity
  • Active listening
  • Teamwork
  • Good memory

Paying attention to details

Always keep in mind that your audience provides the best feedback. If you manage to filter through worthless trolling, you’ll find helpful criticism. People are always on the lookout for minor detail errors in videos. So, attention to detail is a must-have skill for every video editor.

For example, pay attention to details like the POV, motion continuity, audio & video sync, and special effects. Any flaw in these elements will not go unnoticed. And that might affect the integrity of your project.

Pay attention to detail

Flexibility

The filmmaking isn’t over until the final cut. You may come across various unplanned changes in the project. For example, the director may ask at the last moment to cut or add a scene, add dubs, or adjust the lighting.

So, you should remain flexible and quickly adapt to the new demands. Doing so will earn you a positive reputation in the market, thus opening doors to better jobs.

Flexibility

Communication skills

Communication skills are the key to success in every field of life. Every successful video editor should know how to talk to clients. Similarly, a lack of communication at the start of a project may lead to problems later on. Knowing it’s important, how do you improve it?

A surefire way to improve your communication skills is to ask for feedback at the end of every meeting. Similarly, you can improve your writing by practising the 7C’s of communication.

Communication skills

Creativity

Video editing is all about your vision and creativity. But there’s a fine line between doing nonsense and being innovative. An expert video editor looks at the world through their mind’s eye. Studying what other video editors do, is the best way to improve your creativity and find new ideas.

Furthermore, using your creativity adds a unique touch to your videos. If you are not creative, you’re going to have a hard time finding success in video editing.

Creativity

Active listening

Listening to the idea and understanding the director’s view is a crucial part of every video editor’s job. Sometimes, a new idea is discussed while you’re not paying attention. This can result in being on a different page than your team.

So, how can you solve that? Listen. Active listening ensures that you don’t miss an important part of the discussion. You can also ask a teammate to share their thoughts or notes.

Taking notes

Teamwork

Video editing isn’t necessarily a one-person job. In fact, as the name suggests, it entails the entire team. Reputed firms often hire a team of specialists for different parts of video editing. So, you’ll likely work with a team consisting of sound specialists, cinematographers, and special effect artists.

Improving teamwork ensures the timely delivery of high-quality videos without any problems. Therefore, you must acquire this skill before starting your job as a video editor.

Teamwork

Good memory

Films and videos are often shot out of sequence. For example, the ending scene may be shot in the middle of production because of a suitable climate. So, the data you receive is often unorganized.

It’s your job as the video editor to keep track of the story. Rest assured, that there’s the main script you can rely on. But having an idea of what’s going on will make your life so much easier. For example, remembering scene arrangement and the planned ideas for a specific frame. Thus, a sharp memory combined with sticky notes ensures that you always stay on track.

Good memory

Qualifications a video editor needs

Skills matter more than qualifications in the world of video editing. When you enlist for a job, the employer will judge you based on your experience and portfolio. However, having a degree increases your worth and hence the chance of getting hired. So, how do you get a degree?

Many colleges offer videography courses, including digital media, film study, and media production. You can enrol in any of these programs while actively practising your skills to make a good first impression.

Similarly, employers prefer certified pros to amateurs because they have the required technical knowledge. Usually, software firms offer certifications by conducting exams. You can choose your field for certification in major video editors like Avid, Filmora, and Adobe apps.

How to become a video editor? - Everything you need to know 1

What is the best video editing software?

To become a successful video editor, you should select editing tools carefully. Your video editor is the most critical element of your equipment. You can choose among tons of video editors, but not every app is suitable for your work. Moreover, sometimes you have to work on multiple apps simultaneously because each provides unique features.

Understandably, app choices are different for beginners and pros. In my opinion, the best video editors are:

For beginners

Adobe Premiere Pro CC is the best video editing software for people with little to no experience. It features an easy-to-use graphical interface with several valuable features. You can use Adobe Premiere for multi-camera rendering, visual effects, track sync, and colour matching. And you can always download plugins for more features.

Pros:

  • Beginner-friendly
  • Advanced features
  • System optimization
  • Pre-rendering graphics
  • Low system requirements
  • Cheap license

Cons:

  • You need experience with other Adobe products to use this program efficiently.
  • It is not suitable for pro film editing.

For pros

You have very limited options when it comes to expert video editing software. It is because as a pro you need advanced tools. And not many programs provide such options. You could use powerful software like Final Cut Pro for all projects, including films, television series, and YouTube videos. The list of features of Final Cut Pro includes multi-camera editing, HDR, 369 degrees virtual reality, and infinite plugins library.

Pros:

  • Advanced tools
  • Huge plugins library
  • Pre- and post-rendering
  • HDR
  • Widely used by filmmakers
  • Optimized rendering speed
  • Color correction
  • 360 degrees VR
  • Works on Windows & Mac

Cons:

  • The license is comparatively expensive.
  • You need a powerful workstation to run Final Cut Pro.

Frequently asked questions

Does video editor make good money?

Yes, video editors earn a lot more than an average office job. However, the salary depends on several factors like project budget, experience, skills, and your services. In any case, you should expect at least $40,000 per year if you work full-time as a video editor.

How much does a beginner video editor make?

Expert video editors earn a pretty handsome salary. According to the US Bureau of Labor, an average video editor earns $61,900 per year. The salary greatly depends on your skills and work experience. For instance, experienced video editors earn as much as $80,000 per year, freshers around $40,000, and freelancers earn up to $55,000 per year.

Is a video editor a good career?

Yes, video editing is a skill in demand due to global steps towards digitalization. Choosing it as a career opens a whole universe of opportunities for you. Moreover, you can quickly grow in the field by working on a genre that you like. Video editors are heavily paid when compared to other staff members.

Are video editors in demand?

The world is gradually moving towards digitalization. Several firms are shifting their data to video format to increase outreach and work efficiency. Therefore, video editing is currently one of the most in-demand skills worldwide. In short, now is the perfect time to start your video editing career.

Conclusion

Video editor is a skill in great demand due to global digitalization. Several reputed brands are shifting towards digital media, especially during the great pandemic. The need for pro video editors has steeply risen in the market. Therefore, in this article, I have discussed how to become a video editor and everything else you need to know.

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