How to Become a Successful Video Editor
Video editing is a fast-growing career with opportunities spanning across various industries. From film production to creating YouTube video content, skillful video editing is in high demand.
And if you think being a successful video editor is always about high-end technology, complex 3D effects, and similar things, you're wrong. First and foremost, a good video editor requires creativity, patience, and commitment.
This article aims to guide you on how to become a video editor, from learning the basics of video editing software to honing the essential skills, and more.
Understanding the role of a video editor
In essence, the foundation of video editing is just creating a good narrative from raw footage. Depending on the complexity of a video project, it may include various tasks such as basic trimming and merging or more advanced things like color grading, motion graphics, special effects, and animation.
Video editors could work on various platforms, including YouTube, TikTok, and Facebook, or in diverse industries like film, television, etc.
The daily routine of a video editor primarily involves collaborating with their team or client to bring the project's creative vision to life, using software like Adobe Premiere or Movavi Video Editor. Some video editors work as freelancers, juggling various clients on a contract basis, while others work a traditional 9-5 job in an office setting.
How much do video editors make?
This is the first question every aspiring video editor asks, along with how to make money editing videos. The salary can vary based on multiple factors, such as the editor’s experience, project's budget, software used, and more. As of May 2021, video editors earn around $60k as a median annual salary.
Video editors for YouTube channels have a different salary scale altogether, as it is largely dependent on how big is the channel they are creating content for. Top YouTubers earn a lot, so if you eventually land a job with such a channel, you can expect to get a handsome cut.
How to become a video editor: a step-by-step guide
Learning the basics
The first step in how to become a video editor is to familiarize yourself with the video editing software used in this field. Some companies provide built-in tutorials right in their programs, but you can also always check for guides on Google or watch videos on YouTube.
Key elements every video editor should master:
- Getting acquainted with the program's interface
- Cropping, trimming, merging, and other forms of basic video editing
- Adding subtitles using a subtitle generator
- Adding filters, transitions, filters
- Applying advanced options like chroma key, color correction, video stabilization, and others
- Exporting and sharing the video
Once you learn the essentials, the next step is to practice. Here are some ways you can start:
- Create your own video content: start a vlog, shoot a documentary, or make short films
- Edit videos for family, friends, etc.
- Work as an internship or freelance editor
Building your portfolio
With more experience you get, it's crucial to showcase your best video projects. Your portfolio is the first thing employers look at when assessing your aptitude as a video editor. Remember to add a brief description of each project to highlight the tasks you handled and the techniques you used and update it frequently.
Networking and finding freelance opportunities
Networking plays a huge role in getting more professional experience in video editing. Attend industry-related events, join clubs or communities, and connect with other professionals through social media platforms to open doors to job opportunities.
Essential skills for video editors
Video editing requires a mix of technical and creative skills. Below are some important skills any video editor should master:
- Technical knowledge (for example, understanding 2160p vs 4k)
- Attention to detail
- Time management
Becoming a YouTube video editor
YouTube, with its billions of daily viewers, presents a unique opportunity for video editors. Editing for YouTube requires the ability to tell a complete story within a few minutes and subtly weave in sponsor promotions without angering viewers.
YouTube video editors need to be aware of SEO and keyword optimization and how the algorithms work to rank videos so that content can gain visibility. You can search for what videos have done well in the same category or what other YouTubers have done to make their videos popular. Researching these trends can help you create content that viewers will find more enjoyable.
You also need to think of creative ways to engage viewers and build a personal connection. This can include adding interactive elements to videos, such as polls and contests. Additionally, you must understand how to produce videos that match the style and tone of the channel.
Finally, you have to work quickly and efficiently while still ensuring quality. YouTube video editors often have tight deadlines and limited resources, so the ability to work under pressure is essential.
Picking the best video editing software for YouTube
Choosing the right video editing software is the first step in your video editing journey. There are plenty of options here: you can opt for a professional program with a range of advanced features or one that's more user-friendly and designed for beginners.
With AI starting to take over the post-production process in some cases like removing background, changing colors, stabilizing footage, enhancing video and audio quality, and more, AI video editing software is also a viable option.
For beginners, you can use a free Mac option such as iMovie. It's quite user-friendly and carries the basic features you need to create YouTube videos. However, these tools won’t be enough for more complex projects.
In that case, pros pick another Mac video editor – Final Cut Pro X. It offers more advanced features and can handle large video projects. The software also has a wide range of plugins, templates, and effects to help you create stunning videos.
Overall, the choice of the best video editing software for YouTube ultimately depends on your workflow preferences and the types of projects you'll be working on.
FAQ: How to Become a Video Editor
Do I need a degree to be a video editor?
While a degree in film studies or a related field can be beneficial, it is not a requirement. Many successful video editors have self-taught themselves the necessary skills and have gone on to produce successful videos.
How much do video editors make?
The earning potential for video editors is broad, depending on various factors including their expertise and the type of project they are working on. On average, an experienced video editor can earn over $60k per year.
Do I need to start a YouTube channel to become a video editor?
Starting a YouTube channel can provide you with a platform to consistently practice video editing and showcase your creativity. However, it is not necessary as there are still many ways to make money editing videos and building a portfolio without having a YouTube channel.
This is everything you need to know about how to make money editing videos. From researching trends to mastering essential skills – video editing is an exciting profession that offers great rewards for creative and dedicated professionals. There is no single path to becoming a successful video editor, but the tips and advice in this guide can help you take your skills to the next level.