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Become A Film Editor

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Working As A Film Editor

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Getting Information
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $49,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Film Editor Do

Film and video editors and camera operators manipulate images that entertain or inform an audience. Camera operators capture a wide range of material for TV shows, motion pictures, music videos, documentaries, or news and sporting events. Editors take footage shot by camera operators and organize it into a final product. They collaborate with producers and directors to create the final production.

Duties

Film and video editors and camera operators typically do the following:

  • Shoot and record television programs, motion pictures, music videos, documentaries, or news and sporting events
  • Organize digital footage with video editing software
  • Collaborate with a director to determine the overall vision of the production
  • Discuss filming and editing techniques with a director to improve a scene
  • Select the appropriate equipment, such as the type of lens or lighting
  • Shoot or edit a scene based on the director’s vision

Many camera operators have one or more assistants working under their supervision. The assistants set up the camera equipment and may be responsible for its storage and care. They also help the operator determine the best shooting angle and make sure that the camera stays in focus.

Likewise, editors often have one or more assistants. The assistants support the editor by keeping track of each shot in a database or loading digital video into an editing bay. Assistants also may do some of the editing tasks.

The increased use of digital filming has changed the work of a large number of editors and camera operators. Many operators prefer using digital cameras because these smaller, more inexpensive instruments give them more flexibility in shooting angles. Digital cameras also have changed the job of some camera assistants: instead of loading film or choosing lenses, they download digital images or choose a type of software program to use with the camera.

Nearly all editing work is done on a computer, and editors often are trained in a specific type of editing software.

The following are examples of types of camera operators:

Studio camera operators work in a broadcast studio and videotape their subjects from a fixed position. There may be one or several cameras in use at a time. Operators normally follow directions that give the order of the shots. They often have time to practice camera movements before shooting begins. If they are shooting a live event, they must be able to make adjustments at a moment’s notice and follow the instructions of the show’s director.

Cinematographers film motion pictures. They usually have a team of camera operators and assistants working under them. They determine the angles and types of equipment that will best capture a shot. They also adjust the lighting in a shot, because that is an important part of how the image looks.

Cinematographers may use stationary cameras that shoot whatever passes in front of them, or they may use a camera mounted on a track and move around the action. Some cinematographers sit on cranes to film and action scene; others carry the camera on their shoulder while they move around the action.

Some cinematographers specialize in filming cartoons or special effects.

Videographers film or videotape private ceremonies or special events, such as weddings. They also may work with companies and make corporate documentaries on a variety of topics. Some videographers post their work on video-sharing websites for prospective clients. Most videographers edit their own material.

Many videographers run their own business or do freelance work. They may submit bids, write contracts, and get permission to shoot on locations that may not be open to the public. They also get copyright protection for their work and keep financial records.

Many editors and camera operators, particularly videographers, put their creative work online. If it becomes popular, they gain more recognition, which can lead to future employment or freelance opportunities.

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How To Become A Film Editor

Film and video editors and camera operators typically need a bachelor’s degree in a field related to film or broadcasting.

Education

Most editor and camera operator positions require a bachelor’s degree in a field related to film or broadcasting, such as communications. Many colleges offer courses in cinematography or video-editing software. Coursework involves a mix of film theory with practical training.

Film and video editors and camera operators must have an understanding of digital cameras and editing software because both are now used on film sets.

Training

Editors may complete a brief period of on-the-job training. Some employers may offer new employees training in the type of specialized editing software they use. Most editors eventually specialize in one type of software, but beginners should be familiar with as many types as possible.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Certification is a way for editors to demonstrate competence in various types of editing software. To earn certification, video editors must pass a comprehensive exam. Candidates can prepare for the exam on their own, through online tutorials, or through classroom instruction.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Film and video editors and camera operators must communicate with other members of a production team, including producers and directors, to ensure that the project goes smoothly.

Computer skills. Film and video editors must use sophisticated editing software.

Creativity. Film and video editors and camera operators should be able to imagine what the result of their filming or editing will look like to an audience.

Detail oriented. Editors look at every frame of film and decide what should be kept and what should be cut in order to maintain the best content.

Hand–eye coordination. Camera operators need to be able to move about the action while holding a camera steady.

Physical stamina. Camera operators may need to carry heavy equipment for long periods of time, particularly when they are filming on location.

Visual skills. Film and video editors and camera operators must be able to see clearly what they are filming or editing in the postproduction process.

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Film Editor Career Paths

Film Editor
Editor Technical Writer Project Manager
Marketing Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Editor Consultant Production Manager
Production Director
5 Yearsyrs
Editor Owner Art Director
Creative Director
5 Yearsyrs
Video Editor Producer
Senior Producer
7 Yearsyrs
Video Editor Producer Owner
Communications Director
6 Yearsyrs
Video Editor Owner Art Director
Freelance Art Director
6 Yearsyrs
Assistant Editor Writer And Editor Managing Editor
Senior Editor
5 Yearsyrs
Assistant Editor Managing Editor Marketing Manager
Digital Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Assistant Editor Technical Writer Senior Project Manager
Founder And Chief Executive Officer
7 Yearsyrs
Freelance Videographer/Editor Producer Co-Founder
President And Founder
5 Yearsyrs
Freelance Videographer/Editor Executive Producer Co-Founder
Owner And Founder
6 Yearsyrs
Freelance Videographer/Editor Senior Editor Content Manager
Content Director
7 Yearsyrs
Photographer Designer Senior Graphic Designer
Creative Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Photographer Writer Senior Copywriter
Creative Lead
5 Yearsyrs
Photographer Writer Author
Entrepreneur
5 Yearsyrs
Editor & Producer Production Manager Creative Director
Chief Creative Officer
8 Yearsyrs
Editor & Producer Senior Editor Content Manager
Digital Content Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Editor & Producer Executive Producer Social Media Manager
Manager Of Digital Media
5 Yearsyrs
Videographer Executive Producer Social Media Manager
Content Marketing Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Graphic Designer Senior Graphic Designer Print Production Manager
Freelance Project Manager
6 Yearsyrs
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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Do you work as a Film Editor?

Average Yearly Salary
$49,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$26,000
Min 10%
$49,000
Median 50%
$49,000
Median 50%
$49,000
Median 50%
$49,000
Median 50%
$49,000
Median 50%
$49,000
Median 50%
$49,000
Median 50%
$91,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
East River Imaging
Highest Paying City
Everett, WA
Highest Paying State
Alaska
Avg Experience Level
2.3 years
How much does a Film Editor make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Film Editor in the United States is $49,373 per year or $24 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $26,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $91,000.

Real Film Editor Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Music Film Editor WB Studio Enterprises Inc. CA Apr 01, 2014 $182,613
Music Film Editor WB Studio Enterprises Inc. Burbank, CA Feb 04, 2016 $182,613
Film Editor Every Hill Films New York, NY Sep 10, 2015 $156,000
Film Editor Rock Paper Scissors, LLC New York, NY Sep 30, 2016 $150,000
Film Editor Rock Paper Scissors East LLC New York, NY Dec 02, 2013 $130,000
Film Editor Work Editorial, Inc. New York, NY Jun 01, 2016 $105,700
Music Film Editor WB Studio Enterprises Inc. Burbank, CA Apr 01, 2013 $94,478
Film Editor and Producer M.Y.R.A. Entertainment LLC New York, NY Sep 25, 2014 $84,941
Film Editor Cisneros Studios LLC Medley, FL Sep 18, 2015 $81,714
Film Editor Chinagraph Inc. New York, NY Jul 10, 2008 $80,000
Film Editor Lost Planet Editorial Inc. New York, NY Jul 22, 2016 $75,109
Film Editor Cosmo Street Editorial Santa Monica, CA Oct 15, 2011 $75,000
Film and TV Editor Spiritclips, LLC Santa Monica, CA May 16, 2016 $71,885
Video Film Editor MBF & Associates, Inc. DBA Jump New York, NY Oct 09, 2009 $50,171 -
$75,257
Film Editor DZI Productions, LLC Los Angeles, CA Sep 10, 2014 $48,001
Film Editor DZI Productions, LLC Los Angeles, CA Sep 01, 2014 $48,001
Film Editor Firemouth, Inc. New York, NY Feb 01, 2013 $48,000
Film Editor Telemotion Productions, Inc. Miami, FL Sep 21, 2009 $48,000
Film Editor Upclue, LLC New York, NY Dec 21, 2009 $47,438
Film Editor Torch Films NYC New York, NY Oct 01, 2012 $47,020
Associate Film Editor Ultrabland Inc. New York, NY Sep 19, 2013 $47,000
Film Editor Whitehouse Post Productions, LLC Chicago, IL Jan 26, 2015 $45,000 -
$65,000
Associate Film Editor Ultrabland Inc. New York, NY Sep 06, 2014 $45,000
Film Editor, Sound The Dawgs Sound Design, Inc. CA Sep 25, 2015 $44,453
Film Editor, Sound The Dawgs Sound Design, Inc. CA Sep 16, 2015 $44,453
Film Editor Zazou Productions, Inc. New York, NY Oct 20, 2011 $43,451
TV Film Editor Metan Development Group LLC CA Sep 21, 2010 $42,000
TV Film Editor Metan Development Group LLC CA Sep 10, 2010 $42,000
Film Editor Zeitbyte, LLC New York, NY Oct 01, 2009 $41,740

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Top Skills for A Film Editor

  1. Video Production
  2. Feature Film
  3. Final Cut Pro
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Utilized video production skills including directing, producing, script writing, editing, and taping.
  • Edit a variety of short and feature films, commercials, as well as corporate and promotional videos.
  • Edited student films in Final Cut Pro, including sound design, mixing, and preparation for web / download.
  • Used programs such as Adobe After Effects, Adobe Premiere, Adobe Photoshop, Windows movie Maker.
  • Constructed original set design for DVD film production, assisted camera crew with set-up, operation, and break-down of audiovisual equipment

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Film Editors

  1. New York
  2. District of Columbia
  3. Connecticut
  4. New Jersey
  5. Massachusetts
  6. Washington
  7. Arizona
  8. California
  9. Pennsylvania
  10. Illinois
  • (107 jobs)
  • (33 jobs)
  • (10 jobs)
  • (11 jobs)
  • (27 jobs)
  • (21 jobs)
  • (14 jobs)
  • (90 jobs)
  • (19 jobs)
  • (17 jobs)

Film Editor Demographics

Gender

Male

63.2%

Female

24.0%

Unknown

12.8%
Ethnicity

White

57.7%

Hispanic or Latino

17.9%

Black or African American

10.4%

Asian

9.8%

Unknown

4.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

32.1%

Chinese

10.7%

French

10.7%

Mandarin

10.7%

German

7.1%

Japanese

7.1%

Korean

7.1%

Arabic

3.6%

Italian

3.6%

Vietnamese

1.8%

Romanian

1.8%

Russian

1.8%

Persian

1.8%
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Film Editor Education

Schools

Full Sail University

13.6%

Columbia College Chicago

8.3%

Academy of Art University

7.7%

New York University

7.1%

San Francisco State University

5.9%

University of California - Los Angeles

5.9%

University of Central Florida

4.7%

Emerson College

4.7%

Savannah College of Art and Design

4.1%

New York Film Academy

4.1%

University of Texas at Austin

4.1%

Syracuse University

3.6%

Michigan State University

3.6%

American University

3.6%

Towson University

3.6%

Loyola Marymount University

3.6%

California State University - Fullerton

3.0%

Brigham Young University

3.0%

Arizona State University

3.0%

Virginia Commonwealth University

3.0%
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Majors

Photography

38.6%

Communication

15.6%

Fine Arts

4.8%

Digital Media

4.6%

Business

3.9%

English

3.9%

Audiovisual Communications Technologies

3.9%

Graphic Design

3.4%

Journalism

2.8%

Computer Science

2.7%

Visual And Performing Arts

1.9%

Animation

1.9%

Entertainment Business

1.8%

Psychology

1.8%

Music

1.8%

Writing

1.5%

Education

1.3%

Theatre

1.2%

Liberal Arts

1.2%

Public Relations

1.2%
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Degrees

Bachelors

55.5%

Other

18.4%

Masters

13.2%

Associate

8.3%

Certificate

3.3%

Diploma

0.8%

Doctorate

0.5%
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Jobs From Top Film Editor Employers

Film Editor Videos

Tim Squyres, Film Editor

The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing (Abridged Version) Part 1

How to Become an Indie Filmmaker : How to Become a Movie Editor

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