FIlm Editor Career

How To Become A Film Editor

A film editor cuts together raw footage into sequences. To put it another way, editing is the practice of assembling shots in the order in which the story unfolds. This post-production role is regarded as both technical and creative. In this article you will learn further essential details about the film editor career.

What Does A Film Editor Do?

To begin with, the film editor is either hired by the producer or director. Generally film directors prefer to work with the same editors repeatedly. Occasionally during pre-production the director may work together with the editor to discuss how the film could be shot. Although on many productions these days this initial cooperation happens less often.

During production, the editor will receive rushes (dailies) so as to create an assembly edit. In short rushes are rough cuts of the day’s footage. Often these are viewed at the end of every shooting day by the director and also the producer. On some film sets however it is the assistant editor that prepares rushes.

Significantly the film editor’s job starts during post-production. Now that shooting is completed, the director’s full attention will be on the edit. The editor will work closely together with the director to refine the edit. The film will undergo many alternative cuts and therefore it may take months before picture lock (final cut). Afterward, music and sound are added, a process the editor will oversee. Additional revisions may be made such as to meet desirable length and certification. For this reason the producer will also be keeping a close eye on the edit.

Summing up it is the editor’s job to make sure that the footage cuts together seamlessly. The goal is to make the viewer become so engaged that they become unaware of the editor’s work. With this purpose in mind, film editing is often called an invisible art.

Education And Training

film editing adobe premiere pro

There are several ways you could start your film editor career. Firstly you will need to gain practice as well as work experience. You also may choose to make and edit your own short films. Luckily for upcoming editor’s software can now be downloaded online for free too. 

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Many film editors traditionally begin by becoming post-production runners and then editing assistants. Generally runners help keep the editing suits tidy, make tea and also run errands. You might find a runner job by asking post-production companies directly or through trainee schemes such as Screenskills Trainee Finder. Additionally, explore job sites such as Shooting People, My First Job In Film and our own film job pages.

At the present time it’s typical for editors to have higher education. Many universities offer full-time courses in film production as well as media. Furthermore film schools will also have workshops that focus specifically on the editing discipline. For example the NFTS has a two year masters in editing.

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Finding Paid Work

film editor working in premire pro

Another alternative film editor career route is to work on low budget productions. This will give you hands-on practice as well as introducing you to upcoming film producers. You will find low budget production work on film job sites and during film networking events.

Typically you will need to build up a portfolio of work and also create a filmmaker CV. This may mean from time to time working for free to gain experience credits. In reality, often filmmakers have part-time jobs when they first start working in film.

Finding work in the film industry is overall about who you know. With this in mind networking and making relationships with filmmakers is important. To sum up, the main ways to find work are film job sites coupled with networking. Other post-production roles that you may be interested in are colorist but also visual effects supervisor.

Salary Expectations

When you first start out as either runner or assistant editor you might only get paid minimum wage. Current UK minimum wage rates are £6.15 – £8.21 per hour. Your salary will increase depending on your experience and the overall production budget. Film editors might charge by the hour however, in general they charge per project. Furthermore details on how much UK film editors should charge can be found on the BECTU website. 

Wrapping Up – Film Editor

In conclusion, the film editor career requires both creativity and technical expertise. It will take many years to become trusted to work on major budget productions. Nevertheless the journey working towards this career will be both interesting and rewarding.

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