Film Editing: What Skills Do I Need to be Video Editor?

Working as a video editor, or elsewhere in post-production is all about attention to detail. Whether it’s working as a video editor for film or TV, or in a specialised area, attention to detail is a must-have skill.

But what else? If you’re interested in a career as a video editor, take a look at the knowledge and skills you’ll need below.

How Do I Become a Video Editor?

There are quite a few ways into post-production roles for film, TV and digital content. You might take a course in video editing and then aim to get some work experience in a post-production studio.

You might go straight to a work experience placement, or via an internship or apprenticeship scheme.

Another route is as an independent filmmaker, or a practicing independent video editor with a portfolio of work you’ve edited. This applies particularly to filmmakers producing music videos (usually highly edited) or digital animation work. Good video editing skills are in high demand within the UK film industry, so sometimes a demonstration of your abilities and skills can be enough to land your first job as a video editor.

But to be a video editor, you do need a lot of specific skills. Find out the knowledge and skills you’ll need for a career as a video editor below.

Filmmaking Equipment - Editing

What Skills Do I Need as a Video Editor?

Knowledge of Video Editing Processes

Most importantly, you’ll need to know about the processes of video editing – this is more important than knowledge of any specific video platform or app (though this is important too).

As a video editor, you’ll need to know how to finely select moments from footage, and how to assemble them and sequence them to tell the story. You’ll need to be able to fine tune your work, often going through a drafting process, as well as how to manipulate footage, audio, additional sounds or graphics.

Ability to Visualise and Imagine a Finished Product

As a video editor, you’ll most likely respond to a brief, from a director or a production team, to bring a vision together. Until you’ve constructed it, that vision only exists in an abstract form – it’s your job to interpret the brief, understand the vision and to to turn many different parts into one successful whole that achieves that creative vision.

For this, you’ll need to be able to visualise and imagine the finished product to guide you as you piece it all together. You’ll also need to take into account the vision of the director or producer, so you’ll need to be able to visualise and interpret what’s in their mind too.

Video Editing Storytelling Skills

The work of a video editor isn’t just a technical role, it’s a highly creative one too.

You’ll be faced with lots of decisions – both big and small – for every project you work on. How you choose to sequence clips, how you pace them, build visual and sonic rhythms, how you choose to share information with the audience all influences the storytelling.

Ultimately, your ability to tell the story is what can make or break your career as an editor – quote.

Working Knowledge of Editing Software

There are lots of different video editing platforms out there, and you might need to be familiar with quite a few.

Luckily, if you can learn to use one, you can probably learn to navigate most of them.

Try working with Adobe Premiere Pro or Apple’s Final Cut Pro. If you can get experience with AVID and Da Vinci Resolve, then you’ll have most bases covered.

Focus, Precision and Perseverance

The work of a video editor can be repetitive and highly detailed. It’s important you have strong focus, the ability to be very precise, and patience too.

If you’re interested in a career in film, you might also like to take a look at: 

Film Directing: What Skills Do I Need As a Film Director?

Ready for Your Close Up? What You Need to Know About Film Costumes

Life Behind the Lens: 5 Key Non-Acting Roles in Filmmaking Part 1

Video Editing Courses:

If you’re under 18, you might be interested to our filmmaking courses for ages 5-18.

Our filmmaking courses include video editing, along with all other aspects of film production.

See more details here >>>

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