What does a Film and Video Editor do?

What is a Film and Video Editor?

Individuals in this field of work are highly skilled film industry employees who work editing movies or videos. The success or ultimate failure of the production lies in their hands. The final production must be a coherent project that incorporates the storyline and personality of the starring actors. Many in the industry consider film editing to be an art that often goes unnoticed and unappreciated, with some dubbing film editing as 'the silent art'. The history of film editing is a long trek, going back to the early heydays of Hollywood. As technology grew, the job descriptions of film editors expanded, to include the field of video editors.

What does a Film and Video Editor do?

The job duties of someone working in this creative field are numerous. An employee might find himself studying scripts to understand the storyline and collaborating with directors and film staff regarding the script and director's goals. Throughout the filming, the film editor will examine tapes for editing purposes, looking for errors, segments that run long or parts that do not match the story or go with the storyline. He will work with others adding sounds, voices and music that match the script and place them in the appropriate place.

He will complete these tasks with digital equipment and computer software to create high-quality sound effects. Varying camera angles and shots will be looked at and the best ones added to the reels. The reels will be reviewed several times before the editor comes up with a final version called the director's cut. During the process, he works with other staff including sound and lighting technicians, costume and makeup artists, actors, directors and other editors. Making a movie is truly a team effort.

The film editor’s job has changed over the years. When movies were black and white, editing was simple. With computer and advanced technology, a film editor's job became increasingly more complex using computer graphics to aid in editing films and supplying the necessary elements to create the finished product.

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How to become a Film and Video Editor

Those wanting a career in this field should be interested in the movie industry in general. Students who have either shown an interest in movies or have been involved in the drama club in their high schools will find this career path interesting. Students wanting a career as a film editor should have great organizational skills, be able to work on a tight deadline, and be creative. Most people who enter the field have some sort of professional education so taking the proper high school college entry courses is essential.

There are several paths to enter the field. Students who are interested in a career in the industry can prepare for their professional adult career by attending an art high school that offers film editing courses. Some general high schools also offer elective courses in film and video editing. By taking these electives, those interested in the field receive training in their chosen career paths and find out if this career meets their talents.

An older path that is less frequently used in today's high tech society is to work as a journeyman or apprentice, working for a film, production, video or movie studio. The prospective employee works under a professional film and video editor.

With the advent of computer graphics and advanced technology, a technical or college degree may be one of the best routes for those wanting to pursue this career. Vocational schools and art institutes sometimes offer technical degrees in the film industry. These degrees range in time from a year to two years. Some of these degrees result in a certificate, while others result in a two years associate degree in arts.

A bachelor’s degree is the preferred educational route for those wanting to be a film or movie editor. Various degrees lead to a degree in film and editing including film production, video editing, film editing and drama. Many future employers prefer that employees received training during college in their school’s drama or film department to gain hands-on experience in the field. Not all schools are equal in quality or reputation, so research schools to enhance your chance for a career.

This career field relies on training, education and hands on experience in the work world. Some gain this experience and training as a journeyman, some through a technical degree, while others get a four-year degree. Film and video editors are not required to have a certificate or state license.

Schools range from technical schools to film schools to traditional colleges and universities. Degrees often run the gamut from technical training to a master’s in the field. Degree programs go by different names including film production and cinematography. Degrees are often listed under varying departments. Search film production, technical degrees, computer degrees and various other areas for degrees in the field. Research various schools to locate the top schools in film and video editing.

There are many great schools for this career field. Some include Florida State in Tallahassee Florida, which offers a bachelor’s of fine arts and a master’s of fine arts in film production. For students on the west coast, the University of Southern California offers several bachelor’s and master’s degrees in varying areas of film media. New York University in New York also offers several degrees. Contact the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University about the various film degrees that are offered.

What is the workplace of a Film and Video Editor like?

Employers for film and video editors include television stations, cable companies, film and video companies. Another arena of employment is in independent studios. These professionals must be able to work as team players with others in the industry. Fellow employees might include other film editors, sound and lighting technicians, makeup and costume artists, actors, directors and company owners. Although those in this field work as a group, they often find the main portion of their job is performed independently. They spend a large portion of time in projection rooms, cutting labs or computer rooms, editing the films alone. Workers in the film industry find that they are sometimes required to work long hours, especially during movie post-production. Those working in TV studios find the work hours are more traditional, putting in a 40-hour workweek.