Video editors bring together pictures and sound to produce a piece for film or television.

What does a video editor do?

Editors are part of a 'post-production’ team that joins together material recorded by the camera and sound crews and adds any extra effects. You could work on projects from feature films and TV programmes to corporate videos, commercials and music videos.

Depending on the type of films or video footage you are editing and the size of the project, your job would include some or all of these tasks:

  • agreeing a finished ‘look’ for the final footage with the director
  • transferring film or video footage to computer
  • checking the footage and deciding which shots to keep and which to cut out
  • cutting and joining shots using editing software
  • keeping a clear idea of the storyline, even though you may be editing scenes out of sequence
  • creating a 'rough cut' from the chosen material
  • digitally improving picture quality
  • using computer software to add titles, graphics, sound and any visual effects
  • putting all the elements together, in order, for the final version
  • creating DVDs or formatting footage for streaming online

On larger projects, you could be one of several editors with different jobs and specialisms. You could create the ‘rough cut’ as an offline editor, produce the final version of the footage as an online editor, or edit the sound effects.

What do I need to do to become a video editor?

There’s no fixed entry route. Employers usually value your technical skills and personal qualities, like patience and creativity, more than formal qualifications. It’s common to move into video editing in film or TV from an entry level role like a TV production runner.

Experience is highly valued and would give you a taste of what it is like to work in the industry. It could also help you to gain practical skills. Getting experience is also a great way to meet new people and make contacts who already work in the industry. Not all jobs are advertised, so your contacts could help you find longer term paid work later on.

You could get relevant experience from:

  • editing student or community film productions
  • working for an editing equipment hire company
  • creating and editing films for charitable organisations
  • work experience as a runner in an editing facilities company

A qualification is not essential but it could help you gain practical skills, like using editing equipment and software. You could study towards a course in film, video or media production. The most useful courses include work placements and the chance to build contacts in the industry.

Related skills

  • Attention to detail
  • Communication
  • Interpersonal skills
  • IT
  • Organisation
  • Patience
  • Teamwork
  • Time management

Academic route

  • HND, foundation degree, degree or postgraduate course in subjects like film and television studies, media production, or film and media

Vocational route

  • Level 1 Award in Using Mixed Media Techniques
  • Level 3 Certificate/Diploma in Creative Media Production

Related subjects

  • Media studies

Where to find out more

Where could I be working?

Post-production editing takes place in enclosed studios and editing suites, where you would spend long periods working on computers. 

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0

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