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What is a Sound Effects Editor?

Whereas a sound designer often creates the sounds needed in films and videos, a sound effects editor ensures that the sounds are interjected at exactly the right time. This professional will work on a film, video, video game or other project during production as well as post-production, enhancing sound effects or changing them. They must work closely with the other professionals involved to ensure that the overall project realizes the initial vision and plans. The most important knowledge a sound effects editor will possess is on the technological side – mainly concerning the computer-based programs and software used to edit sound.

A background in multimedia design is a great start, as well as one in sound engineering. Those who have additional experience in film and video may have increased job prospects and opportunities.


Work Environment

A sound effects editor works in a studio or office space where they have access to computers and computer-based editing equipment. Sound effects editors may work in an agency or organization where they often meet with other film and video professionals in order to make sure the final project is on target and fits with the original concept plans. Hours may be long, especially when a deadline is looming, so sound effects editors might expect to work more than 40 hours per week. Although there is no official category through the Bureau of Labor Statistics for “sound effects editors,” the BLS considers these professionals “sound engineering technicians.” Data shows that the top 5 employers for these professionals are: the motion picture and video industry, the sound recording industry, radio and television broadcasting, performing arts companies, and independent artists, writers and performers.


Education Requirements

There may not be any formal required training for this career, however, those who obtain an associate’s or bachelor’s degree will have a wider range of job prospects because their resume will be more appealing to potential employers. There is also a large amount of technical information and skills required for this job, as well as proficiency in the software programs utilized to successfully perform this job. It can be difficult to obtain this knowledge and these skills without formal education.


Salary and Job Outlook


The BLS reports that sound engineering technicians earned an annual median salary of $41,200 in 2012. Film editors earned an annual median salary of $46,280 per year. The salary for a sound effects editor will fall somewhere between these two salaries. However, this is just the middle line. The top 10% of film editors earned more than $119,000 in 2012, so it’s easy to see that a significantly higher income potential is there for sound effects editors. Many things will contribute to the overall salary, including the sound effects editor’s location. The top paying states for this career are: California ($92,940), New York ($78,430), District of Columbia ($74,400), Virginia ($66,140), and New Jersey ($66,120).


The job growth rate for film editors is 3% through the year 2022, while the growth rate for sound engineers is 9% through 2022. The actual job growth rate for sound effects editors may be significantly higher than this, because as more and more movies, video games, television shows and advertising videos are created, these professionals are needed to create the perfect sound. However, no actual data is available through the BLS. Future sound effects editors can be sure that if they have the proper training and are willing to do their due diligence, they will have a variety of great job opportunities and prospects.

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