A woman wearing headphones sits in front of a computer

A film and video editor could...


Help create a polar bear documentary to raise awareness about their endangered status. Three polar bears standing together on ice Select and compile the most intriguing interviews to create a compelling documentary A WhizKids DVD
Insert computer-generated effects to create the ultimate car chase scene. Two cars side-by-side on a road with a motion blur effect over the image Edit a movie down to a reasonable length to avoid boring the audience. People with tired expressions in a movie theater
Find out more...

Key Facts & Information

Overview Lights, camera, action! It takes more than actors to put an exciting motion picture movie together. It takes film and video editors and cutting-edge computer technology to make an exciting movie that people want to see. From the many thousands of minutes of film and video, the editor has to choose the best shots to tell a cohesive and compelling story. In addition to having an artistic bent, the film and video editor must relish working with complicated computer equipment. If you would like to combine your artistic talents and your computer skills into a great career, then read on to learn more about film and video editors.
Key Requirements Creativity, originality, the ability to order information well
Minimum Degree Vocational or Associate's degree
Subjects to Study in High School Geometry, algebra; if available, computer science, audio-visual club or classes
Median Salary
Film and Video Editor
  $62,760
U.S. Mean Annual Wage
  $49,630
Min Wage
  $15,080
$0
$10,000
$20,000
$30,000
$40,000
$50,000
$60,000
$70,000
$80,000
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) Faster than Average (14% to 20%) In Demand!
Interview
Related Occupations
  • Fine artists, including painters, sculptors, and illustrators
  • Directors; stage, motion pictures, television, and radio
  • Talent directors
  • Technical directors/managers
  • Sound engineering technicians
  • Photographers
  • Camera operators, television, video, and motion picture
  • Desktop publishers
Source: O*Net

Training, Other Qualifications

Film and video editors usually acquire their skills through formal postsecondary training at vocational schools, colleges, universities, or photographic institutes. A bachelor's degree may be required for some positions, particularly those for film and video editors. Employers usually seek applicants with a good eye, imagination, and creativity, as well as a good technical understanding of how the camera operates.

Education and Training

Many universities, community and junior colleges, vocational-technical institutes, and private trade and technical schools offer courses in film and video editing. Basic courses cover equipment, processes, and techniques. It is important for editors to have an in depth understanding of computer technology. Bachelor's degree programs, especially those including business courses, provide a well-rounded education. Film schools also may provide training on the artistic or aesthetic aspects of filmmaking.

Other Qualifications

Film and video editors need good eyesight, artistic ability, and hand-eye coordination. They should be patient, accurate, and detail-oriented. They also should have good communication skills.

Nature of the Work

Film and video editors edit soundtracks, film, and video for the motion picture, cable, and broadcast television industries. Television series, studio programs, news and sporting events, motion pictures, and music videos are all materials that are constructed from many different shots by film and video editors. With the increase in digital technology, much of the editing work is now done on a computer. Many editors are employed by independent television stations; local affiliate stations of television networks; large cable and television networks; or smaller, independent production companies.

What is a film editor's day like, who do they work with, and what else are they doing besides cutting that footage?

Making commercial-quality movies and video programs requires technical expertise and creativity. Producing successful images requires choosing and presenting interesting material, selecting appropriate equipment, and applying a good eye and a steady hand to ensure smooth, natural movement of the camera.

Work Environment

Work hours and working schedules for film and video editors vary considerably. Those employed by television and cable networks and advertising agencies usually work a 5-day, 40-hour week; however, they may work longer hours to meet production schedules. Editors working in motion picture production also may work long, irregular hours.

On the Job

  • Cut shot sequences to different angles at specific points in scenes, making each individual cut as fluid and seamless as possible.
  • Study scripts to become familiar with production concepts and requirements.
  • Edit films and videotapes to insert music, dialogue, and sound effects, to arrange films into sequences, and to correct errors, using editing equipment.
  • Select and combine the most effective shots of each scene to form a logical and smoothly running story.
  • Mark frames where a particular shot or piece of sound is to begin or end.
  • Determine the specific audio and visual effects and music necessary to complete films.
  • Verify key numbers and time codes on materials.
  • Organize and string together raw footage into a continuous whole according to scripts or the instructions of directors and producers.
  • Review assembled films or edited videotapes on screens or monitors to determine if corrections are necessary.
  • Program computerized graphic effects.
  • Review footage sequence by sequence to become familiar with it before assembling it into a final product.
  • Set up and operate computer editing systems, electronic titling systems, video switching equipment, and digital video effects units to produce a final product.
  • Record needed sounds, or obtain them from sound effects libraries.
  • Confer with producers and directors concerning layout or editing approaches needed to increase dramatic or entertainment value of productions.
  • Manipulate plot, score, sound, and graphics to make the parts into a continuous whole, working closely with people in audio, visual, music, optical or special effects departments.
  • Supervise and coordinate activities of workers engaged in film editing, assembling, and recording activities.
  • Trim film segments to specified lengths, and reassemble segments in sequences that present stories with maximum effect.
  • Develop post-production models for films.
  • Piece sounds together to develop film soundtracks.
  • Conduct film screenings for directors and members of production staffs.
  • Collaborate with music editors to select appropriate passages of music and develop production scores.
  • Discuss the sound requirements of pictures with sound effects editors.
  • Estimate how long audiences watching comedies will laugh at each gag line or situation, to space scenes appropriately.

Source: BLS

Companies That Hire Film and Video Editors

Explore what you might do on the job with one of these projects...

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Sources

Free science fair projects.