If you would love to work in the television and film industry but acting is not your thing, a career in video editing might be for you. A Video Editor cuts, moves, or adds frames of video footage to create a narrative, which might include a soundtrack, narration, or visual effects. Video Editors use a collection of software programs like Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro, as well as creative techniques, to tell a compelling story. Video editing is a satisfying career that requires both creativity and technical expertise.

What Do Video Editors Do?

Storytelling is at the heart of video editing. After the raw footage has been shot, the Editor goes to work to transform it into a video that will catch the attention of viewers. It is the Editor’s role to choose the best shots and to put these together to follow a narrative. The Editor can add special effects to create a mood, which can be enhanced and supported with appropriate music. A skillfully edited video presents the creator’s viewpoint as well as tells a story.

The Video Production Process

The video production process has three parts: pre-production, production, and post-production. Editing is primarily done in the post-production phase, but if you are both shooting the footage and editing it, you may plan your shots with the final cut in mind. The pre-production phase is all about planning. It is helpful to create a storyboard, a series of graphics that approximate the most important shots and tell the story the video is presenting. If there is no storyboard, there should at least be a shot list to make sure that all of the footage that will be needed is taken.

The production phase is the part of the process where the footage is shot. It is important during this phase to record plenty of footage. Take multiple shots to be sure to have the best footage to work with during editing. Shooting a number of different angles, such as close-ups and wide angles, gives the editor options in post-production. Also, make sure to get some environmental footage to use for B-roll. Another important part of the production phase is organization. Labeling and organizing footage makes post-production much easier. Making multiple copies of files is a good idea, too, and be sure to keep a copy in a separate physical location to reduce the chances of losing the raw footage.

Post-production is where the editing takes place. The Editor uses the raw footage to tell the best story. The footage is imported into editing software where the Editor chooses the best footage, cuts it together to tell the story, and then works on the audio, fixes the color, and adds special effects. By employing video editing techniques, an Editor takes a collection of different shots and weaves them into a narrative that captures and holds the attention of an audience.

Careers in Video Editing

Video editing training can lead to jobs in the motion picture and television industry, or in various businesses. Corporations use Video Editors to work on company training films or hire people to edit commercials. Music videos are another possibility. Many businesses use videos on social media to sell products, and these businesses often contract for services. Also, vlogging, producing self-shot and edited video content, is becoming a way to earn a living on platforms like YouTube and TikTok. There are some corporate jobs for Video Editors, but many work for themselves as freelancers.

Video Editors often work alone or as part of a small team, and can work long hours to meet a project deadline. The median annual salary for a Video Editor in the United States is $67,250. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 30,000 people working as Video Editors in the US in 2020, and the field is expected to grow quickly, with a projected increase of 29% by 2030.

Sometimes, Video Editors choose to specialize in animation and graphics and become Motion Graphics Designers. Video Editors can also move into positions as Video Managers as they gain experience. Video Managers are responsible for running the video team and need to have leadership and project management skills on top of video experience.

What Skills Do Video Editors Need?

There are some important qualities that draw people to work as Video Editors. People who enjoy working on their own, like technology, and have a creative bent are most likely to be successful in the field. Some other useful qualities are as follows:

  • Good communication skills - Video Editors need to communicate clearly with their team.
  • Knowledge of computers and technology - Videos are generally edited online, so familiarity with computers is a must.
  • An eye for a story - An important part of the Editor’s job is arranging footage to tell a story, so a sense of narration and timing is crucial.
  • Attention to detail - Video Editors need to pay close attention to many details to avoid inconsistencies and to choose the best footage.

Applying for a Job as a Video Editor

Getting hired as a Video Editor depends upon the quality of your work, and that involves putting together a portfolio of examples to show to prospective employers. Once you have a resume and portfolio together, you can start answering ads on platforms like Craigslist, UpWork, or Thumbtack. Signing up on employment sites like Indeed.com and Glassdoor.com, and you can get job notices daily in your email.

Internships and on-the-job training can be another way to find a job in video editing. You can access these opportunities through a school or training program that you are enrolled in, or through a professional organization. It can be helpful to join these groups because of the opportunities for networking. Here is a list of some of the professional organizations that Video Editors can belong to:

  • Motion Picture Editors Guild
  • Motion Picture Sound Editors
  • The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences
  • National Association of Broadcasters

Professional organizations often hold conferences and job fairs. This is a good way to make connections with people who may be hiring editors. While networking is definitely important in a creative field like video editing, showing what you can do is just as important as who you know.

You may want to start out as a freelancer. Working small, short-term jobs is a way to build up your portfolio and get noticed by companies that are looking for Video Editors. You can also create your own videos and put them on social media like YouTube or Vimeo.

Where to Learn Video Editing

You can become a Video Editor through self-study and tutorials, but taking classes is a more efficient way to gain these skills. Video editing is often taught as part of a communications or art degree in college, although there is no formal education necessary. Most Video Editors have bachelor's degrees but you can change careers and become a Video Editor without a college degree.

The important thing to consider here is the amount of video editing experience you already have. If you have worked with software like Adobe Premiere Pro or a free product like DaVinci Resolve, it will be easier to make a career switch. The thing to keep in mind, though, is that learning video editing software can be a challenge. Experienced instructors can help you over the bumps.

Some people prefer in-person classes when learning new information, but that isn’t always available. Live online classes have a similar set-up with a real-time, remote instructor who can answer questions and take control of your monitor—with permission—to show you how to do things. Training is part or full-time and available weekdays, weeknights, or weekends.

The best way to prepare for a career shift to a technical field like video editing is to enroll in a bootcamp or certificate program. These are intensive training courses that run for a few weeks to a few months and will cover video editing in much more depth than tutorials can. Another plus of training is that you will leave class with a professional-quality sample video portfolio that you can show to prospective employers. Some programs also provide mentors who are already working in the field to help you in your job search.

If you are ready to take that next step toward a new career in video editing, check out Noble Desktop’s video editing classes. Choose between in-person sessions in NYC at Noble’s location or sign up for live online video editing courses and attend from anywhere. Use Noble Desktop’s Classes Near Me to find other courses in video editing in your area.