Video Editor

What Is Video Editing?

Imagine yourself in a dim movie theater, your eyes riveted on the screen. While you were transfixed to the screen, you may have never noticed how seamlessly each scene blended into the next one, or how perfectly the sound effects and dramatic music fit into each part of the film.

Now, wrap your mind around this – not one movie ever started out in this perfect seamless condition. When shooting a movie, cinematographers are not magical wizards that are able to get the perfect shot every time, and actors are not so perfect that they never make mistakes. Although an average movie is no longer than an hour and a half, each one typically starts out with hours and hours of raw footage.

Video editing is the process of choosing the best raw footage for a movie. This includes removing unusable footage and stringing together what’s left into the best possible sequence. Unusable footage often includes footage where actors make mistakes, the camera angles weren’t just right, or it doesn’t move the story forward somehow. During the video editing process, each scene should segue into the next flawlessly.

Sound is another important part of video editing. For example, sound effect may be added to the movie at just the right times, in order to make it appear as if they were part of the original video. This can include sound effects like explosions or even simple footsteps. Background music is often added as well.

Work Environment

A video editor is the professional responsible for editing the raw footage shot during the making of a movie. Before the increased use of more modern digital video cameras, movie footage was shot on real strips of film. Video editors had to physically cut and splice certain scenes together. Today, however, the majority of video editing work is done with digital footage and computers.

A video editor will usually sit down with the director, and sometimes the producer, and watch hours and hours of raw footage. Together, they will then decide which scenes should be kept and which ones should be deleted. Some shots are deleted for obvious reasons, but others may be deleted, simply because the director didn’t like the camera angle.

Once all of the final footage has been chosen and melded together, a video editor will then often work with a sound effect editor. Together, they will digitally insert sounds into a movie at just the right moments. The timing has to be perfect during this part of post production, however, since if a sound is just a second or two late, it can ruin the entire effect.

Education Requirements

A minimum of a bachelor’s degree in film studies or production is usually necessary in order to start a successful video editing career. While earning these degrees, many students also opt to participate in internships, which allow them to work alongside experienced video editors.

Bachelor’s degrees will usually be good enough to secure an entry level position as a video editor’s assistant. Many aspiring video editors, however, will often go on to earn master’s degrees in video or film editing.

Traditional universities will sometimes offer these types of degree programs, but aspiring video editors may want to look into art schools or film schools instead. These types of schools will often be able to offer more specialized training.

Video Editor Salary and Job Outlook


Video editing careers can be very lucrative for the right people. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a video editor was $58,210 in 2017, with the highest salaries in the motion picture industries. A video editor’s salary will often depend on a number of different factors, however. For example, educated, experienced, and talented video editors will usually be able to command a much higher salary. A video editor’s location might also have an impact on the amount of money he makes. Typically, video editors operating in areas with a higher concentration of production studios, like California, will often be able to make more money.

Job Outlook

Most video editors start out as editing assistants or apprentices to senior editors in production studios or broadcasting stations. They may start by editing movies and television shows. After gaining more experience, talented video editors may have the chance to work their way up to senior video editing positions. Video editors also usually have opportunities to work as freelancers. Some freelance video editors may work on movies and television shows, but the majority of them usually work with short films and online videos.


FAST FACTS: Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators
2016 Median Pay

$58,210 per year
$27.99 per hour

Recommended Level of Education

Bachelor's degree

Number of Jobs in 2014


Expected % Change in Employment (2014-2024)

13% (Faster than average)

Expected 10 Year Employment Growth (2014-2024)


Source: BLS - Occupational Outlook Handbook

Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators Salaries by Industry

TOP PAYING INDUSTRIES FOR Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators

Accounting, Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping, and Payroll Services


Motion Picture and Video Industries


Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services


Employment Services


Insurance Carriers

Source: BLS OES - Industry Profile
Mean Hourly Wage Mean Annual Wage

Top Paying Metropolitan Areas for Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators

  1. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA
  2. New York-Jersey City-White Plains, NY-NJ
  3. Camden, NJ
  4. San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, CA
  5. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO
  6. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV
  7. Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA
  8. Newark, NJ-PA
  9. Dallas-Plano-Irving, TX
  10. Urban Honolulu, HI
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics OES

Helpful Resources

Video Editor Jobs