A film or video editor prepares the final version of a film or a video, ready for broadcast. They work on projects for films, TV programmes, commercials, music or promotional videos and corporate videos for businesses.
You could be:
examining the raw footage frame by frame
discussing with the director which frames to keep and which to cut
arranging the remaining footage into a meaningful order
cutting and splicing film using editing software
editing scenes out of sequence while keeping a clear idea of the storyline
digitally enhancing the quality and adding captions, graphics and special effects
preparing and synchronising the soundtrack: music, background noise, narration and dubbing, adding audio sound effects such as automated dialogue replacement (ADR)
using specialist software, such as Final Cut Pro, After Effects and Adobe Creative Cloud (CC) Suite
putting all elements together to produce the final version.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual salaries may vary, depending on:
where you work
the size of company or organisation you work for
whether you are freelance
the demand for the job.
The starting salary for film or video editors is usually around £18,000 to £22,000 a year but trainees will start at a lower rate. With experience this can rise to £45,000 a year, sometimes more.
A course in film, media or media production would be useful.
Most successful applicants have educational qualifications, from Highers to degrees.
A degree (SCQF Level 9), HND (SCQF Level 8) or HNC (SCQF Level 7) in any art-based or media subject is particularly relevant.
You might get in through the Modern Apprenticeship in Creative and Digital Media (SCQF Level 6/7).
You need relevant work or voluntary experience to build a portfolio and make contacts in the industry.
A lot of entrants start as runners (see Runner) then move up to second or first assistant and eventually editor.
You would probably start as an assistant editor for a film, TV or video company.
What Does it Take?
You must have:
a willingness to work long hours
an eye for detail
good problem solving skills
a patient, methodical approach
good communication and team work skills
IT and technical skills.
to keep up to date with new technology
to be able to work to deadlines
a commitment to meet high standards
the ability to visualise the final product
a high level of concentration.
Specialised training is mostly on the job: working as a runner, digitising materials and sound editing, and then moving into video editing.
The National Film and Television School offers a two-year full time MA course in Editing. See website for application dates for the next intakes.
Screenskills provides a list of relevant courses on their website.
BBC Academy run various short courses. See their website for details.
Industrial or commercial video companies sometimes have permanent staff, but film companies usually hire freelance editors on short-term contracts for particular productions.
Because most work is freelance and temporary, there is little chance of promotion. By developing your network of contacts and gathering a portfolio of previous contracts you can apply for better-paid jobs.
The number of job opportunities in broadcasting involving community languages (for example, Gaelic, Urdu and Punjabi) is increasing.
If you are aged 18 or over you may be interested in The Network. The Network is held each year alongside the TV Festival in Edinburgh. If selected you would attend for four free days of masterclasses and workshops which will provide you with the skills, knowledge and contacts to start a career in TV. You can usually apply from January to May.