Video editing is an attractive job for someone who loves movies and the ability to express themselves through video. Whether you want to create commercials, your own Youtube videos, or anything else in this industry, you’ll need to have a few baseline skills that will make you a more attractive candidate.

In today’s guide, we’ll go over some of the responsibilities that video editors have and we’ll also discuss some of the skills that you’ll need to excel in this field. Beyond that, we’ll also go over how you can make your transition into professional video editing smoother and discuss the value of a video editing degree compared to experience.

Video editing process
photo credit: Kelly Lacy / Pexels

What Does a Video Editor Do?

As the term “video editing” would suggest, you edit videos, but to put it in more detailed terms, you’re tasked with working with video clips and stringing them together. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you’ll only need to edit video, however, as you’ll also need to be skilled at working with audio tracks.

Since audio and video go hand in hand, you’ll need to be able to produce advanced projects that combine music and other sound with the video clips that you edit in. Other than working with audio, you’re also expected to understand more advanced features and systems like motion tracking.

Motion tracking allows you to create composite scenes without making the camerawork look fake, and it’s a skill that’s in high demand with the next generation of video editors. While it may not be a simple drag and drop, motion tracking is a skill that will serve you well in the industry, so it’ll be worth learning.

You’ll also have to learn how to use the chroma key, ensuring that your footage has the right color balance for the kind of effects that you’re trying to create in your movie. The exact way that you edit the color key of your footage depends on the formats that you’re using and the tools at your disposal.

Key Skills That a Video Editor Should Possess

One of the most essential parts of stringing together video and audio into something that people will appreciate is the ability to edit the video while seeing it through your audience’s eyes. You need to be able to tell a story through your skills as a video editor, because that’s what you are, a storyteller.

Don’t limit yourself to the Windows-Mac ecosystems, as you may also benefit from the ability to edit videos on the fly using mobile operating systems. While a video editing app may be a little less powerful than desktop programs, the ability to make slight edits no matter where you are may be crucial, even if it’s a small correction.

Multi-platform and cross-platform video editors are also in high demand, as some businesses may use Windows while others use Apple iMovie. Also, learn how to integrate features like screen recording, which will allow you to create things like tutorials and game footage.

Getting into the Video Editing Field by Learning Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro X

The kind of video editing software you use will determine how attractive of a hire you’ll become, as we discussed in the previous section. Someone who can operate within a wide range of ecosystems like Final Cut Pro X or Adobe Premiere Pro will turn potential employers’ heads.

While the time of Windows Movie Maker is long gone, there are other simpler editing programs that you can use like Pinnacle Studio. The good thing is that most video editors are relatively similar to each other in basic operation, featuring a timeline where you can drag and drop to edit video.

If you’re trying to get more experience working with these programs, you have a few choices, but we’d recommend exploring them yourself for a little while. Once you’re comfortable with the basics, you can move on to subscribing to a class or working with a mentor who knows the programs intimately.

A Degree vs. Experience in the Field

Many people looking to get into video editing wonder whether they should focus on getting a degree in video editing or if they should jump right into the field. Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer to this question, as it depends on your skills working with various programs and the opportunities that you have available.

If you have an easy job as a video editor and you haven’t attended college, you should probably pursue that opportunity, especially if you know what you’re doing. This is because video editing experience is highly valued in the field.

On the other hand, going to college for video editing will likely get you a higher starting salary, as you’ll be seen as already having proved yourself to a certain extent.