Are you getting started with video editing? Are you already working as a video editor and trying to enhance your skills? This ultimate guide is for you. We put together a list of skills, tips, practices that both novice and seasoned editors will find useful.
Why Video Editing?
Video editing is an important aspect of modern video production. Tranforming raw video footage into polished and visually engaging content takes some skill. From YouTube content and music videos to corporate and promotional videos, the role of video editors is to bring a story to life. Let’s be honest: video clips, music tracks, sound effects, visual effects are nothing if not assembled into a well-flowing storyline.
The growth of video content consumption is another factor that video editing has a lot of job opportunities. Just look around! YouTube has become the #2 search engine and one of the most visited websites. Vimeo is also growing. Streaming services like Netflix spend millions on film productions. Celebrities build their following on social media. These are several use cases where video editing is needed.
Need more stats to convince you? These days video content makes up more than 82% of all internet traffic. Over 85% of businesses use video in their marketing. These all contribute video editing being a highly in-demand skill.
If you are looking to start a career in video editing or improve your skills, let’s take a look at the key skills required, career opportunities, and tips for enhancing your editing abilities. With the right knowledge, creativity, and communication skills, you can bring your vision to life and make a lasting impact with your personal or client work.
Video Editing Skills
When it comes to video skills, it is not only about technical work with video editing software. The skills you’d need also include creative and communication abilities. Yes, you want to be proficient in video editing software, understand color correction, sound design, and special effects. But you also need to be able to tell a compelling story through video. You should also know how to work in a team.
Video editing is a fast-paced environment, which may be overwhelming for beginner video editors. Even professional video editors struggle to enhance their skills due to the same reasons.
Keeping up with the latest trends and techniques in video editing is crucial to staying ahead of the competition. So improving your video skills can give you an edge and make you more marketable to potential employers or clients.
Software updates, new features, or rise of new apps is another area where video editors should keep an eye on. By learning new techniques like VFX or 3D, and exploring new creative avenues, you can push the boundaries of your own creativity. This can result in a more diverse portfolio for you to display, and more impactful video content that you can produce.
Technical Skills & Knowledge
There is no doubt that a video editor should master a range of technical skills. A good video editors knows how to do the following:
- Video Editing Software: Working with video editing software such as Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, DaVinci Resolve, or Avid Media Composer is a must for any video editor. The ability to navigate the software, use hot keys and shortcuts, and work fast is essential.
- Color Correction: Understanding color correction and color grading is important for creating a consistent and visually appealing look for your video.
- Sound Design: Video editors must have a good understanding of audio production, including mixing, sound effects, and music placement.
- Special Effects: Knowledge of special effects, such as visual effects, compositing, and motion graphics, can add an extra layer of creativity to your video content.
- File Management: Effective file management is essential for staying organized. It helps you avoid potential technical problems or errors during the editing process.
- Codecs and Compression: Understanding different video codecs and compression techniques is important for ensuring that your video content is compatible with different platforms and devices.
- Hardware: A video editor should be familiar with different hardware options, such as computer workstations, cameras, and editing decks, and have a good understanding of how to use them.
- Video Formatting: Knowledge of different video formats, including aspect ratios, frame rates, and resolutions, is important for ensuring that your final video content looks its best on different platforms and across devices.
- Collaboration Tools: Working with other people, it’s important to know how to use tools such as project management software (Monday, Trello, Clickup, Asana), cloud-based file sharing (WeTransfer, Dropbox), communication platforms (Discord, Slack), collaboration platforms (Frame.io) to ensure seamless interactions with your team.
Besides to technical skills, video editors should master many creative skills. Your creativity is that ingredient that will help you create engaging video content. Here are some of the key creative skills to hone on and develop:
- Storytelling: A good video editor must have the ability to tell a compelling story through video. Here you need to understand the narrative structure, pacing, and the use of visual and audio elements to create an emotional connection with the audience.
- Visual Awareness: A keen eye for visual storytelling and a strong sense of visual style are super important for creating appealing videos.
- Sound Selection: The use of music and sound effects is another important area to focus on as it helps create the right mood and atmosphere in a video. A good video editor should have an understanding of different music genres and be able to choose the right music to enhance the story.
- Timing & Pacing: The ability to create a rhythm and flow in the video is what keeps the audience engaged. Work on developing a sense of timing and ability to use cutting, transitions, and sound effects to create a seamless and engaging viewing experience.
- Creativity and Innovation: A video editor should have a creative and innovative mindset. You should also be willing to take risks and try new things. This can result in unique and impactful video content that sets you apart from the competition.
- Adaptability: In the evolving world of video, it’s important to be adaptable and open to new ideas and techniques. You should learn new tools and techniques and incorporate them into your work.
- Cross-functional skills: As a good video editor, you will need to have a strong understanding of other aspects of video production, such as camera work, lighting, sound design, and animation. This broad range of skills is a massive plus that will help you make more informed decisions in your editing.
Fast work with video software and a creative mind are two ingredients to your success as a video editor. Efficient communication is another ingredient in your set of skills. Good video editors communicate with clients, colleagues, and other stakeholders all the time. To make sure your communication is proper, clear, and efficient, here are the skills that you will want to develop and improve:
- Listening Skills: A good video editor should be an active listener and able to understand the client’s needs and goals. This requires the ability to ask questions, listen , and provide feedback.
- Verbal Communication: The ability to communicate ideas, suggestions, and feedback (in a clear way) is important to the success of a video project. Video editors should be able to explain their creative vision and ideas to clients, as well as provide clear and concise instructions to team members.
- Written Communication: Video editors must be able to write clear and concise emails, project summaries, and other forms of written communication. You need to keep everyone on the same page ensuring that the video project is executed smoothly. Yes, take time to write full sentences and avoid abbreviations. Reread the final writeup to ensure there is no confusing or ambiguous phrases or paragraphs in your written texts.
- Collaboration Skills: Video editing is a collaborative process and requires the ability to work with others. A good video editor should be able to collaborate with clients, directors, producers, and other team members in an open way. “Sharing is caring” is a right approach.
- Presentation Skills: The ability to present your work and ideas to clients, colleagues, and stakeholders is essential. A good video editor should be able to present their work and ideas in a confident and professional manner.
ZipRecruiter, a popular job listing directory, did some analysis of all video editing jobs on their platform. The results are eye-opening. What the job market wants is not just general technical skills, but also specific software and some non-technical aspects like detail oriented and collaboration. Editing, Collaboration, Digital make over 40% of the requirements.
Video Editor’s Responsibilities
Working as a video editor means that you will have a set of responsibilities in your daily work. Depending on your level of expertise and seniority, these may be your responsibilities.
- Reviewing raw footage: The first step in the video editing process is to review the raw footage and select the best shots for the final video. Video editors must be able to assess the quality and relevance of the footage and determine the best shots for the project.
- Assembling footage: The next step is to assemble the selected footage into a rough cut. Here you will arrange the shots in a logical order. You will also select the appropriate music, sound effects, and transitions to create the right mood and tone.
- Fine-tuning the video: Once you assemble the rough cut, you will begin fine-tuning the video to ensure that it meets the creative vision. This may involve adjusting the timing, pacing, and visual effects to ensure that the final video is engaging.
- Adding effects and graphics: Video editors may also be responsible for adding special effects, graphics, and animation to enhance the visual appeal of the video. So you must be able to use software such as Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, or Blender to create these effects and animations.
- Sound design and mixing: Without sound there is no good video. So be ready to use sound design software to create an effective and impactful audio track for the film or video.
- Collaborating with stakeholders: Video editors must be able to collaborate with clients, directors, producers, and other stakeholders. This is to ensure that the final video meets their expectations and requirements.
- Quality control: The final video should meet the highest standards of quality and technical accuracy. To get there, the video editor reviews the video several times to ensure that all visual and audio elements are in sync.
Improving Your Video Editing Skills
Here are some ways to improve your video editing skills. Some of them may seem too simple. But believe us – they work!
The more you practice, the better you will become. Set aside time to edit videos on a regular basis, even if it’s for personal projects.
Study the work of experienced and professional video editors to see how they approach the editing process. Attend workshops, webinars, and other events to learn from industry experts. Most of all, watch tutorials on YouTube – that’s a free and efficient way to see how others edit.
Try experimenting with different styles: from fast-paced action cuts to slow, atmospheric shots. This will help you develop your own unique style and understand what works best for different types of videos.
Video editing software and technology are evolving at a fast pace. So it’s important to stay up to date with the latest tools, features, and techniques. Take online courses or attend workshops to learn about new techniques and software features.
Try editing videos of different genres, such as music videos, promotional videos, short films, and news packages. This will help you develop a wide range of skills and improve your versatility as a video editor.
Seek feedback on your work from experienced editors, mentors, or other professionals. This will help you identify areas for improvement and get constructive criticism that will help you grow as a video editor.
Network with other video editors, directors, and producers. This will help you learn about new job opportunities and make valuable connections in the industry.
Tips for Beginning Editors
If you are just starting with video editing, here are several essential tips from our team.
Before you start editing, have a clear plan in mind for the final video product. Write down the story you want to tell, what shots you will need, and how you want to put the video together.
Organize your footage into different folders and label each shot with descriptive names so you can easily find what you need when you start editing.
Here are some more practical technical tips:
Learn how to use at least 2 non-linear editors (NLEs). This will allow you to edit your video in a more flexible and efficient way. Popular NLEs include Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, and Davinci Resolve.
Keyboard shortcuts can save you a lot of time when editing. Take the time to learn the popular used shortcuts for your NLE and use them as much as possible.
Sound is as important as video in a movie. Make sure you have good quality audio and use sound effects and music to enhance the mood and atmosphere of your video.
Different effects can change the mood and feel of a video. Experiment with different effects such as slow motion, speed changes, and bold transitions to see what works best for your video.
Get feedback from friends, family, or other video editors to see what they think of your work. Listen to their comments and use them to improve your editing skills.
Highlighting Your Video Editing Skills
Ready to tell the world that you’re open for business as a new video editor? Here are some paths that you may want to try and follow.
Create a portfolio of your best work that showcases your video editing skills. This can be a website, a YouTube channel, or a reel that you can share with potential clients or employers.
Attend events, join online communities, and connect with other video editors. Building a network of contacts in the industry can help you get your foot in the door and find new opportunities to showcase your skills.
Take on volunteer projects or work on personal projects to explore your creativity and experiment with new techniques. This will help you develop new skills and add to your portfolio.
Consider getting certified in a specific video editing software or program. This will show potential clients or employers that you are serious about your craft and have the skills and knowledge to produce high-quality work.
Finding Your First Video Editing Projects
We already talked about the best places to find remote video editing jobs. Here are some more common places to find your first video editing projects:
Websites such as Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer are a great place to find your first freelance video editing projects. You can create a profile and apply for projects that fit your skillset and interests.
Use social media platforms such as Linkedin, Twitter, and Instagram to post you reels, interact with industry experts, and connect with potential clients. You can also join video editing groups on social media to network and find new opportunities.
Reach out to local businesses and offer your video editing services. This could be a great opportunity to build a local client base and get your name out there.
Be active in online communities related to video editing, such as Facebook groups, and Reddit sub-reddits.
Reach out to film and video production companies and offer your services. Many of these companies are always looking for skilled video editors to help with their projects.
Starting Video Editing For Free
If you want to edit videos, but have no money to invest in paid video editing software like Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro, here are some options to start without paying any fees. You still need to have a computer or laptop to use these free apps.
iMovie (MacOS): iMovie is a basic video editing software that comes pre-installed on Apple computers. It has a user-friendly interface and offers a wide range of features and tools for basic video editing.
Lightworks: Lightworks is a professional-level video editing software that is available for free. It has a large range of advanced editing tools and supports a variety of formats and resolutions.
Shotcut: Shotcut is a cross-platform video editing software that is available for free. It has a simple interface and a range of features and tools for basic video editing.
Davinci Resolve: Davinci Resolve is a professional-level video editing software that is available for free. It offers a wide range of features and tools for advanced video editing and color correction.
VSDC Free Video Editor: VSDC Free Video Editor is a powerful video editing software that is available for free. It offers a range of advanced editing tools and supports a variety of formats and resolutions.
Today video editing is a valuable and in-demand skill that opens up many job opportunities in various industries such as film, television, news, advertising, marketing, and more.
To use these opportunities, you must have a strong understanding of video editing techniques, learn how to use relevant software, and apply best practices. And never stop learning and improving – whether these are technical or non-technical skills.