The Video Editor
Video editing is a core role in film and television production. Virtually every program requires editing of some sort, even most "live" shows.
There are many different types and levels of editing. At the most basic level, an editor may be required to:
- Dub (copy) footage to different tapes or disks.
- Organise footage for distribution, archiving, etc.
- Convert formats, transcode footage, etc.
These basic tasks are often performed by a junior editor or archivist.
When most people think of editing, they think of a person sitting at a workstation arranging shots into the correct order to tell a story. Although this describes the basic editing function, it is a simplistic view somewhat like describing a musician as a person who places musical notes in the correct order. Good editing requires flair as well as technical competence.
In practice the editor's job description depends on the situation, the editor's skills and other factors. Here are some common scenarios:
- The editor is required to perform specific edits as instructed by a director or producer. In this case the editor has a fairly mechanical, non-creative role.
- The editor is allowed to make their own editing decisions, perhaps using a particular style or adding their own unique touch.
- The editor's role is somewhere in between. For example, a news editor may work with a journalist to create a piece reflecting both their input. Often, an editor works independently with some creative control but must conform the program to a preset format or "feel".
As much as the directing and cinematography, the edit has a major effect on the final product. Serious editing is not just about assembling footage. It is about designing a complete package, setting the mood, pace and flow of the story.
Required Skills & Qualifications
- Experience and proof of ability are the key. Formal qualifications are nice and may help you to be taken seriously when applying for a position, but in the end an employer just wants someone who can do the job.
- It helps a lot to be familiar with different types of edit systems, e.g. Avid, Final Cut Pro, Premiere, etc.
- You should be familiar with different styles of editing, and know how to achieve them. If someone asks for a film noir look, you want to be able to nod knowingly.
- You need work well in both collaborative and solo projects.
- You must be able to work to deadlines and cope with pressure.
See also: Video Editing Tutorials