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How to Become a Video Editor and Land High-paying Gigs

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Do you have a knack for editing videos and want to make a creative career out of it?

Are you comfortable working with others to tell a story through motion pictures?

If that sounds like a career you’d love to be in, then learning how to become a video editor will get you on the right footing.

Regardless of your technical skillset, this guide will show you steps on what to prepare to make your video editing skills attractive for the job market.

An Overview of Video Editing: A Primer

Video editing is about making sense of raw footage, still photos, and clips by manipulating them to create a story or message.

The idea is to compile different shots into a single video before sharing it with the public.

A successful video editor is a master of any video editing software, skilled at visual storytelling, and comfortable working alongside industry professionals to craft compelling videos that deliver memorable messages to a target audience.

Video editors can branch out to multiple platforms and projects like creating music videos, editing Youtube videos, assisting film editors, enhancing sound effects, and other post-production tasks in the film industry.

In social media’s dynamic world, video editors get ample opportunities to scale their expertise to fit their clients’ marketing strategies.

This means continued learning and exciting projects with other creative professionals like writers, marketers, and influencers.

How Much Do Video Editors Make?

Video editors’ earnings vary depending on the region they or their client operates. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary is $59,500.

Cities with flourishing production companies, like New York and California, pay higher at $92,000 and $89,000, respectively.

The position and skillset also impact your earning potential. A freelance video editor can charge $30 an hour, while assistant editor positions average $20 to $28.

What You’ll Need to Become a Video Editor [& Associated Costs]

Becoming a video editor involves a natural inclination to visual art and the technical expertise to execute it.

Here are the essential must-haves you must acquire to succeed in this career:

  • Media Production Knowledge: Formal education isn’t required, but exposing yourself to the industry is crucial to understanding how it works. Take on small client projects to gain experience. Stay up to date with recent changes in your field by meeting video editors.
  • Video Editing Software: You don’t have to master all the best editing software because the list is endless. Focus on what most film and video editors use. Top options include Adobe Premiere and Final Cut Pro.
  • Raw Video Footage: Your client will often provide you with materials to work on, but there might be instances when you’re required to source complementary clips or photos to use in a project. Knowing where to find free and paid stock photos will be helpful during the editing phase.
  • Portfolio or Professional Projects: Sharing your work online is a way to open doors for more job opportunities. Consider creating a personal website through WordPress and Squarespace to showcase your output. Carbonmade is also excellent for a straightforward, less cluttered portfolio platform.
  • Communication Skills: The video editing process can involve a small team to a whole department. As someone building the final cut, you must be skilled at communicating ideas, queries, and instructions to colleagues in spoken and written form.

How Much Does it Cost to Become a Video Editor?

The cost of becoming a video editor depends on the approach you choose.

For instance, getting a Bachelor’s degree in film will cost you thousands of dollars more than selecting an online course from Coursera or Udemy.

Your choice of video editing software also adds up to the cost. Adobe Premiere Pro starts at $20.99 a month.

Other expense factors like paid source materials like video tutorials and transportation costs when doing on-the-job training come into play.

Is it Hard to Become a Video Editor?

Becoming a video editor can be challenging without fully committing to mastering and practicing the craft.

It’s a fast-paced industry, and what you know now can be obsolete in the next year or two.

If you’re freelancing without experience, this means choosing an editing software to master and taking tasks with various difficulty levels to get a feel of what video content the market demands.

Highest-paid video editors recognize the importance of a basic understanding of digital marketing techniques.

If your goal is to stand out among the others, this is an area you shouldn’t ignore.

You become a video editor the moment you complete your first editing project. But creating a steady income stream from this career will take more effort and patience.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Video Editor?

Two critical factors define the length of time you’ll need to become a professional video editor:

  1. Your familiarity with video editing software programs
  2. The amount of practice you commit to learning the ropes of video editing

If you already have a strong foundation in editing, landing your first job can happen in as fast as three months.

You only have to build projects, showcase them online, and inform people about your availability.

For beginners, learning the craft can take six months to a year or more. The bottom line is you have to double the effort in consistently practicing the craft as you learn.

How to Become a Video Editor in 5 Simple Steps 

Breaking through this dynamic, highly-competitive career path begins with a decision to commit.

Once you’ve crossed that off, you can follow these steps to become a video editor:

Step 1: Decide on an Initial Video Editing Career Path

What video editing job would you like to do? Some of the most in-demand specializations include:

  • Youtube video editor
  • Music video editor
  • Reality TV editor
  • Commercials editor
  • Social content editor
  • Independent films editor
  • Corporate marketing editors

While you can eventually branch out to work on multiple fields, it’s crucial to focus on one and build a solid portfolio.

Choosing a specialization also narrows your options for the tools you need to master.

Step 2: Attend Online Courses, Training Programs, or Film Studies

Many video editors mastered their craft at work, and you can certainly do the same.

However, self-studying doesn’t work for everyone. If guided learning helps you retain information better, consider enrolling in onsite or online classes.

For example, video editing courses offered by Udemy incorporate editing output as a requirement for certification.

Use these activities to build projects and receive feedback from other professionals taking the same courses.

Step 3: Take on Freelance Video Editing Jobs

Be open to any video editing jobs that will help you boost your technical expertise. It’s the only way to gain experience when starting from scratch.

Think of it as part of your training. Some tasks may not pay well, but if it allows you to improve your editing techniques, then it’ll be worth your time.

Being a freelance video editor is also a gateway to meeting professionals who can offer tips and best practices and even introduce you to potential clients.

Step 4: Join Professional Organizations

Big organizations like the Independent Film & Television Alliance, American Film Institute, etc., first come to mind when you think of video production organizations.

However, there are smaller, community-based guilds you can join to widen your network and meet other editors.

It can be a small group of like-minded colleagues or a group your current employer recommends to you.

The idea is to join a group that works, talks, and earns money from editing videos. It’s the kind of professional setting you won’t get from any studies.

Being in this group also boosts your chances of landing your next freelance gig.

Step 5: Showcase Your Projects Online

Beyond any degree or certifications, clients want video editors with a director’s vision. They want to see what you can do before inviting you to an interview.

In many cases, an editing portfolio becomes the primary determining factor whether or not you get the job, so you must showcase what you’ve got online.

A website or Youtube channel are two popular avenues for sharing your work.

Reasons to Consider Becoming a Video Editor

Video editing can be a lucrative and fulfilling career if you put in the work. Here are the top reasons why you should consider

  • Time Flexibility and Remote Setup: You don’t need to be in the office to do your work. Clients and marketing agencies have become more open to fully remote work setups. You can edit videos at whatever time you want, for as long as you deliver the final product on time.
  • High Demand Across Industries: Advertising agencies are no longer the sole source of video editing employment. Recent statistics show 86% of US businesses rely on videos for their marketing strategies. While not all these entities require an in-house editor, freelancing is a career path with a strong demand.
  • Great Networking Opportunities: You will not only work with other video editors. You also meet with social media managers, copywriters, directors, brand ambassadors, etc. This enhances your network and makes you more familiar with the extensive scope involved in any project.
  • You Can Learn It From Scratch: You can learn the craft without a degree. If you commit yourself to mastering a tool, creating projects, and getting feedback from other professionals, you’ll be ready to sell your skill for a price in no time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Be a Video Editor Without Experience?

Experience is a plus, but you can build your career from the ground up. It can take time if you don’t have video editing projects, but you can start by taking on pro bono tasks or volunteer projects. These can both serve as your training reinforcement and portfolio booster.

Where Do I Find Video Editing Gigs?

Your best shot at finding gigs is via online job search databases like Ladders, Fiverr, LinkedIn, and Behance. Freelancing websites, online forums, Facebook groups, and communities with thousands of members from the creative field also help.

Similar Gigs to Check Out

Looking for other gigs in the technical or creative arena? Here are a few profitable options to check:

  • How to Become a Social Media Manager: Are you a fan of social media? Leverage your interest in those platforms and earn money from them! Manage social marketing initiatives from companies that pay.
  • How to Become a Content Creator: This side hustle is perfect for anyone who loves creating content for online consumption. It’s an ideal choice for letting other people witness your creative side.
  • How to Become a Motivational Speaker: Are you good at public speaking? This side hustle is your perfect chance to impact people’s lives by sharing your expertise and opinion.

Wrapping Up

Video editors have become indispensable professionals in the digital marketing world. High demand for their expertise will only increase as people pay more attention online.

Use this guide to determine if this career path’s for you and take small steps to build your skill set.

What part of being a video editor interests you? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments!

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