364MC: – National Careers Service and Prospects – Video editor

As I will be endeavouring to pursue a career as a freelance video editor, it is important to have the wide scope of necessary skills in order for clients to have complete faith and trust in your abilities as well as their footage for their project. Clients are literally placing their entire creative vision in your hands as an editor essentially constructs the entire final product and is what the audience will see; albeit to the director’s vision. Because of this, I wanted to see a list of the required skills not just for a freelance editor, but for the skill set of an industry professional editor. I looked at a number of links in order to get a broader sense of the skills needed and to see whether at this stage I have managed to achieve them all or if I still have areas to work on a lot more.

I started by looking tat the Prospects website below: –

http://www.prospects.ac.uk/film_video_editor_job_description.htm

From this page, the typical work for an editor includes the following:

  • Being given a brief or an outline of footage or a copy of a shortlist or script to follow;
  • Putting together all raw footage for transfer onto a computer along with uncut rushes and sound clips which need to be ordered and arrange;
  • Deciding which clips are useable;
  • Constructing an assembly cut and making decisions for the future drafts of the edit;
  • Re-working the footage to produce the final cut version which is to a professional standard.

Other areas of work that may be included:

  • Presiding over the entire editing process;
  • Consulting with the director or client throughout the course of the editing process;
  • Understanding the style of directors and how to translate this into the final piece;
  • selecting the most effective shot for a particular scene;
  • Using your own initiative to suggest music cues or mood;

The most notable aspect of the job that I took away from this website however was the following:

  • “if freelancing, negotiating rates of pay and conditions, managing business affairs, and/or liaising with an agent”

This is an area I have not had much experience in. The only paid work I have done gave me £25 pounds for two days worth of help which only really covered my travel and food for the two days. Liaising is not a problem as I have had to do this with clients in the past but negotiating rates of pay, especially if that client is just starting out with not much money themselves can often deter great opportunities. As such, it may unfortunately be prudent to have to work for free occasionally, in order to build up contacts and create work that can be posted to your own portfolio. This may then eventually lead to a paid position once the portfolio has been built up with varied and impressive work.

I also looked at the website below which also shed light on some other areas of development for an editor:

https://nationalcareersservice.direct.gov.uk/advice/planning/jobprofiles/Pages/videoeditor.aspx

The things I took away most from the National Careers Service website were the areas of how editors tend to break into the business, such as starting out as a runner or trainee for a company and, through the process of shadowing editors, work your way up through the ranks from assistant editor until you eventually reach the position of editor as your experience grows. This also involves learning on the job and having to train on multiple pieces of editing software such as Avid, Final Cut Pro and After Effects. This is a big area I need to work on as I have only used Final Cut Pro 7 for five years and have only dabbled slightly with Final Cut Pro X and Adobe. The typical practice for software in the industry tends to be a mix of either Final Cut or Avid. After Effects is also something else I’ve never used before but seems to be incredibly prominent in many online videos. This is also part of keeping up to date with new equipment and technology throughout your career so that you are never technically left behind and can broaden your knowledge so that you are always a contender for better positions.

Overall, these sites have made me feel a lot more confident in my ability, but have also pointed out some fairly crucial areas I haven’t looked into and need to improve on, such as my knowledge of other softwares and thinking in terms of a business for when I create my own freelance platform; especially in terms of finance. This is something I will look into more when I come to create my actual portfolio.

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