Pros and Cons of a Being a Video Editor
Working as a video editor requires you to enhance images and cut video segments in order to produce engaging movies, TV shows, documentaries, news, sporting events and music videos. This career has a variety of options; check out the pros and cons to see if it's right for your aspirations.
|PROS of Being a Video Editor|
|Above-average mean salary of $75,090 per year as of May 2014*|
|Can be self-employed or work for an employer*|
|Most editors have assistants to support them and keep track of shots for final edits*|
|Special effects needs have increased the demand for editors*|
|CONS of Being a Video Editor|
|Slower-than-average job growth (one percent growth between 2012 and 2022)*|
|Entry-level employment usually requires at least a bachelor's degree*|
|May have to work long hours when meeting deadlines*|
|May experience periods of unemployment between assignments or films*|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
As a video editor, some of your duties can include working with other movie, television and video industry staff, like those in music editing, production and directing. You may be responsible for cutting images and using the best angles and effects to produce a high-quality product. You might correct production errors, edit dialogue and insert music into a video. Your aim is to help produce a movie, video or Web-related product that is visually pleasing and clearly presented.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were approximately 24,000 film and video editors employed in the nation, and these professionals earned an average annual salary of about $75,090 as of May 2014 (www.bls.gov). The BLS also stated that the motion picture and video industry and the radio and television broadcasting industry were the top sectors that employed video editors. The most popular states for these professionals were California and New York.
What Are the Requirements?
Education and Training
According to the BLS, you typically must have a bachelor's degree to apply for entry-level positions in the film and video editing industry. You could begin with a certificate program in video production. These programs typically include basic camera, scripting and editing courses, as well as studio directing and producing classes. You might also pursue an associate's degree in video production at many colleges. Coursework for these programs typically covers skills needed in filmmaking and video production, and some schools provide state-of-the-art classes related to the industry, such as high-definition television practice. Many of these courses are also transferable to a bachelor's degree program.
If you decide to continue your studies, a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Applied Science program in digital video may be the right path for you. Some schools focus on the production portion of the industry with classes in topics like 2- and 3-D animation, storytelling, lighting, audio, cinema history and non-linear editing. Specific programs like Adobe Creative Suite, Final Cut Studio, AVID Media Composer and Pro Tools are other areas you may study.
In addition, the BLS stated that most employees must first gain years of experience assisting an editor before becoming a film editor. Some of the skills you need in the industry are:
- Customer service skills
- Media and communication background
- Computer skills
- Verbal and written communication skills
- Time management, production and processing skills
Job Postings from Real Employers
Most employers require prior experience and a related bachelor's degree for their video editor positions. You may also need knowledge of specific video editing software programs and applications. Here are some examples of job openings posted on Monster.com in March 2012.
- A general media company in South Carolina is hiring a part-time video editor who has an associate's degree and 2-5 years of experience. The applicant will edit weekday afternoon and evening newscasts and fill in as needed in other time slots. To apply, you must have knowledge of server-based and video editing, as well as non-linear editing systems. Applicants should also be familiar with satellite and microwave feeds. This is an entry-level position, and training is provided.
- A real estate training and coaching company near San Diego, California, is hiring a senior video editor/producer with at least two years of experience. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree in a relevant discipline or equivalent work experience. Other requirements include knowledge of general video editing and production, as well as Final Cut Pro, Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, Mac OSX, Sony XDCAM and Tricaster.
- A regional tourism broadcast company in Florida is hiring a full-time, experienced video editor. Applicants must have skills in Adobe Premiere and Mac OS. Other experiential requirements include familiarity with file management systems and excellent client-communication skills. All applicants must provide editing samples.
How to Stand Out
One of the ways to stand out in the industry is to gain real-life experience in the video editing field. Many educational programs include internships and production training that you can take advantage of to develop early editing experience.
Some programs offer training in screenwriting, pre-production and field production through well-equipped labs and studios. Other schools collaborate with consortiums and professionals to help you develop essential skills for employment. Portfolio development classes can prepare you for interviews and show you how to display your talents to potential employers. Packaging your editing talents into a portfolio or video reel can give employers a tangible reason to hire you.
Other Career Paths
If you want to pursue another technical job related to film and video, consider becoming a camera operator. Camera operators typically need some training and a bachelor's degree to enter the field. In this career, you must capture material for TV shows, movies and other video-related venues. As of May 2011, the BLS stated the mean annual wage for this occupation was around $67,000.
Multimedia Artist or Animator
Another career path you could pursue is that of a multimedia artist or animator. These specialists create visual effects, animation and effects used in movies, videos and computer-related media. The BLS stated that the mean annual wage for this occupation was approximately $68,000 as of May 2011.