Explore the journey to becoming a freelance video editor, a career that combines artistic and organizational skills into a cohesive, creative experience. Discover the flexibility of freelancing, the responsibilities of a video editor, and the steps to start your freelancing career in video editing.

Key Insights

  • A freelance video editor works on a project-by-project basis, offering flexibility in work hours, workplace, and workload. They often work with advertisers, filmmakers, directors, social media companies, and other visual media fields.
  • Professional-grade applications like Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro are essential tools for transforming raw footage into seamless and compelling narratives.
  • Freelancing offers advantages like setting your rates and choosing projects, but it also comes with challenges like steep subscription fees for professional profile hosting platforms and establishing a healthy work-life balance.
  • Starting as a freelance video editor involves identifying your desired work sector, mapping out software and costs, learning the required material, completing projects, building a professional portfolio, making industry connections, and learning business skills.
  • Networking is critical in the film industry, and joining professional organizations, online groups, and forums in the video editing field can help with building your network and getting feedback on your work.
  • Noble Desktop provides resources relevant to video editors at each leg of their professional journey, offering training opportunities and career paths, and classes on video editing software like Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro.

How to Become a Freelance Video Editor

Does your creativity feel stifled by the expectations and demands of supervisors? Have you always dreamed of owning your business, setting your rates, and being able to choose the projects that interest you? Becoming a Freelance Video Editor may be the ideal work for you! Freelancers are professionals who earn money on a project-by-project basis over short periods. They are generally self-employed or loosely affiliated with a company, allowing them to focus on multiple clients and projects. Freelancers also have significantly more control over their hours, workplace, and workload, making it the ideal position for anyone who prefers such flexibility. 

What is a Video Editor?

If you’re looking for a career that combines your artistic and organizational skills into a cohesive, creative experience, consider pursuing training as a Video Editor. Video Editors are responsible for compiling, editing, and producing different types of audio and visual content into a coherent and unique form of media. They frequently work with advertisers, filmmakers, directors, social media companies, and other visual media fields to create seamless and compelling narratives. 

Video Editors use professional-grade applications such as Adobe After Effects and Premiere Pro to transform raw footage shot onsite or at a soundstage into the modern movie masterpieces we see on our screens today. Editing includes smoothing the transitions between camera angles, removing background noises, and adding sound and visual effects. Video editors also transform ordinary greenscreens and tennis balls into fantastical landscapes and mythical figures. 

Read more about the responsibilities of a Video Editor.

What is Video Editing Freelancing Like?

Does the idea of taking a job that requires you to work independently, often from home, sound appealing? Freelancing as a Video Editor can be ideal for anyone with the requisite skills and expertise to break into the film or video industry. Generally, short-term freelance projects require editors to complete specific tasks within certain timelines. Most freelancers find work through word-of-mouth, online job boards, or personal contacts. As with any independent contract worker, Freelance Video Editors should be aware of their rights and responsibilities and the laws governing their industry in their particular area.

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Freelance Video Editors must also understand technical skills such as color correction and sound mixing to deliver their projects on time and to the client’s satisfaction. The most successful freelance video editors usually have a portfolio that shows off their professional skill set and an understanding of the latest trends in visual media editing.

Is Video Editing Freelancing Right for Me?

Video editing freelancers are self-motivated individuals who enjoy working in a dynamic environment. Freelance Video Editors are independent contractors who must be comfortable adopting multiple daily roles. Workdays might begin by connecting with potential clients through email or an online freelancer server like WorkingNotWorking before shifting to managing business finances or reconfiguring a professional portfolio to advertise on a new platform. By owning their business and serving as the primary point of contact, freelancers must be flexible in adapting to shifting business needs. While this variable work environment may be ideal for some, those looking for more routine and structure in their workday may prefer salaried employment. 

Several financial limitations are unique to freelancing work. While freelancers can set their rates, they frequently pay steep subscription fees to the platform hosting their professional profile. Some platforms may even take a percentage of the freelancer’s earnings, forcing video editors to raise prices to ensure they are fairly compensated for their labor. Additionally, freelancers are often paid per project. Therefore, they must determine when work ends for the day. Establishing a healthy work-life balance is essential to preventing burnout and producing the work you enjoy. 

Steps to Become a Freelance Video Editor

When starting as a Video Editor, the first step is determining your path and deciding which route you want to take. There are several approaches to learning video editing; you can take live classes, watch online tutorials, or learn independently. Each option has its merits, so finding the best method for you is important. Here's a brief summary of common steps to becoming a Video Editor.

Step #1: Determine Your Path

Begin your video editing journey by identifying the type of work you intend to pursue as a Video Editor. Do you plan to work in advertising, filmmaking, television, or social media? Would you like to work for a large or small company or as a self-employed freelancer? Each job type and employment opportunity has different expertise, experience, and skills expectations. Use job-finding sites like LinkedIn or Monster to learn more about the most common technical training, software program proficiency, and expertise needed to acquire your dream job. 

Step #2: Map Out Software and Costs

Once you have a clear idea of the job you want and its requirements, begin mapping out how you can acquire the necessary skills and experience at a reasonable cost and time. Choose one or more software programs you want to use as a professional Video Editor. Ensure you have the hardware and software necessary to run these programs, including a computer with high RAM capacity and high-speed internet access. While you may be tempted to cut corners at this stage, having all the necessary tools will save you time, money, and stress in the long run. 

Step #3: Learn the Required Material

After ensuring you have the necessary tools, it's time to dive into the material. Whether you choose an in-person class, live online certificate course, or want to follow a free seminar, ensure you acquire the skills needed for your chosen profession. This is also the time to try and master the skills required for the specific software and industry you want to specialize in. Some of the most common skills required by professional Video Editors are basic editing, color correction and grading, sound design, motion graphics, and animation.

Step #4: Complete Projects

Practicing is the best way to gain experience as a Video Editor. Allocate specific time for working on projects that you can include in your portfolio. This will help demonstrate your skill level and give potential employers an insight into your style and capabilities. Additionally, it's important to stay up to date with the latest technology and trends in the industry, as these can affect how you approach each project with your team or client. 

Step #5: Build a Professional Portfolio

Having a strong portfolio is essential if you want to acquire freelance jobs or get hired by top production studios. Ensure you add all your best works to the portfolio, including briefly describing each project and its techniques. When creating your portfolio, consider what employers look for in potential candidates, and include the most impressive work at the beginning. A portfolio is the backbone of any Video Editor's résumé, and it’s essential to have one ready for employers when applying for jobs. 

Step #6: Make Industry Connections

Networking is critical in the film industry, so don't underestimate the importance of making contacts early on. Consider joining professional organizations, online groups, and forums in the video editing field. You can also approach VFX (visual effects) supervisors, fashion photographers, and TV producers for advice or opportunities to build experience. This is an effective way of building your network and getting feedback on your work from industry professionals. 

Step #7: Begin Your Job Search

Once you have gained the necessary skills and built a strong portfolio, the final step is to start looking for work. You can use job-finding websites like Monster or Indeed to find openings in your desired field. Additionally, you can always approach clients directly or look into freelance opportunities to increase your chances of getting hired. The job search process can feel frustrating, but it's an excellent opportunity to build confidence, refine your skills, and make yourself stand out from the competition.

Step #8: Learn Business Skills

In addition to all the requisite video editing skills, aspiring freelance Video Editors must also learn skills for running their own business (such as finance, contract, and tax laws) and marketing their business (such as web design and social media marketing). Freelance Video Editors who pay contract consultants to help with these business aspects also need basic business skills to outsource the back-end support for their freelance work efficiently.

Learn the Skills to Become a Video Editor at Noble Desktop

Are you excited to begin your video editor career but unsure where to start? Don’t stress! Noble Desktop is here to help! Noble Desktop offers many resources relevant to video editors at each leg of their professional journey. Professionals looking for a road map to entering or building their careers can explore training opportunities and career paths through Noble Desktop’s Learn Video Editing Page. Editors looking for a comprehensive overview of educational and practical training opportunities offered live online and in-person should check out Noble Desktop’s Video Editing Topic Page. This guide provides a comprehensive overview of the video editing profession and relevant editing applications that professionals regularly use. 

Video Editors use various professional-grade applications to design and create their projects. But how do you determine which programs to add to your tool kit? Noble Desktop provides a comprehensive archive of learning resources that detail the functionality, level of learning difficulty, and cost of learning different applications. Foundationally, most professionals are well-versed in video editing software such as Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro. If you are already established in the field and looking to gain a competitive edge in the job market, consider learning more about motion graphics software like After Effects or 3D animation and modeling through Cinema 4D.

As you explore these sophisticated visual graphics programs, you will likely recognize that learning these intricate programs on your own can be a lonely and complicated process. Luckily, Noble Desktop offers live online and in-person courses for video editors at all stages of their careers. For example, professionals ready to dive into the video editing field may want to enroll in a Premiere Pro Bootcamp or After Effects in a Day course. These fast-paced classes are an excellent way to rapidly build your video editing skills with the guidance of an experienced instructor. Video editors looking to diversify their portfolios and demonstrate their skills to potential employers can pursue a Video Editing Certificate or a Video Editing and Motion Graphics Certificate. Students gain robust hands-on experience through small class sizes and project-based learning opportunities. Noble Desktop even offers a free retake option so students can refresh their skills and maximize their retention within a year of their class.