With online videos forecast to make up 82% of the web traffic by 2020, it’s no wonder that the job market for film and video editors are exploding. So, if video editing is your hobby or you’re considering a career change, you’ll be happy to know that video editors can make a full-time income no matter if you’re freelancing or signing with a company.
Here’s a guide on how you can get started.
How Much Can You Make Editing Videos?
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, film and video editors make an average of $86,830 per year. The wage starts from $31,940 for newbies while the most experienced ones make as much as $170,040.
The mean hourly pay comes at $41.75 and can range from $15.36 to $81.75 depending on whether you’re an amateur or a professional.
|Level||Mean Hourly Wage||Mean Annual Salary|
|Highest (Top 10%)||$81.75||$170,040|
|Senior (Top 25%)||$48.09||$100,020|
|Middle (Mid 50%)||$30.12||$62,650|
|Junior (Bottom 25%)||$20.78||$43,230|
|No experience (Bottom 10%)||$15.36||$31,940|
As a video editor, it not just your work experience that can affect how much you make. Where you live can also affect your employment rate and how much you can earn.
Moving to states like California, New York, Florida, Texas, and Georgia where this skill is in-demand can increase your chances of landing a job.
For the top-paying states, California, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Connecticut lead the list. The annual mean wage for California and New York is at $112,530 and $92,170 respectively. Of course, you also need to consider that the cost of living in these states is higher.
If moving to a higher paying state is not an option, you can choose to take your video editing skills online. Upwork, one of the leading platforms for freelancers, shows higher average hourly rates.
Beginners can charge $20 to $45 per hour for simple edits. Meanwhile, advanced video editors who can go beyond the basics and have a polished portfolio can charge their clients anywhere from $45 to more than $100 per hour depending on the complexity of the editing required.
Best Places Online to Find Video Editing Jobs
Aside from being able to reach out to the global market, online video editing jobs give you more freedom. For example, you can choose to get paid by the hour or per project. You can also pick which projects you want to work on so you can dictate how your portfolio will grow.
If this is something you’re interested in, check out these popular websites where you can find video editing jobs.
Yes, Fiverr, but hear me out. These days, Fiverr isn’t just about cheap $5 gigs; successful video editors like crslaytor, senthudms, and marcodrp are charging anywhere from $20 to $200 per edit. It’s a great platform to get your feet wet and build up your portfolio using.
There are currently more than 3,700 active video editing jobs, on Upwork. Whatever you may have heard about Upwork, it’s a decent place to start your video editing career if you want to target mid range, long-term clients.
Behance is a social media platform where you can showcase your creative work and get discovered by clients all over the world. With a 1GB limit per video file, you can upload samples of your work and use it as your online portfolio.
Once you’re ready to flex your wings, Behance has a good job postings section which you can regularly check for full time work.
LinkedIn is similar to Behance in that professionals can use it as an online portfolio for potential employers to see. It is used by top companies like Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook to recruit, so it might just be what you need to land your dream video editing job. Alternatively, you can scour the more than 1,000 video editing related job listings in LinkedIn to find a project you like.
Simply Hired is a job search engine which aggregates job listings from all over the web including ones from major production companies like Universal Studios, Lionsgate, Warner Bros, and Twentieth Century Fox. Of course, these production jobs include video editing projects that can help you earn full-time income.
Mandy is a job platform where TV and filmmaking professionals can search and apply for production jobs. With thousands of other applicants competing for the video editing positions, however, you will need to find a way to stand out. Tailored cover letters, an online portfolio of your video samples, and an updated social feed can help catch the attention of the employers on Mandy.
ProductionHUB is a global community where local crews, vendors, and freelancers connect with professional content creators. Before you can start using this media production job site, however, you need to sign up for the monthly membership which starts at $4.99. Then, have your profile listed in the video editors section and start browsing the post-production editing jobs.
Stage 32 is a social networking site that caters to film, television & theater creatives. Though this is a fairly new job posting platform, it already has more than 500,000 members, with new production jobs are posted every day. They also have a forum for post production crew like video editors where you can build your connections, find potential clients, and get inspiration.
What Video Editing Software Should I Learn?
Next, let’s take a look at the different choices you have when it comes to video editing software. To make it easier for you to find the right software, we’ve categorized them depending on your expertise level, operating system, and budget.
Best Free: HitFilm Express
If you want to create professional-quality production at no cost at all, your best bet is the free version of the HitFilm Express. Aside from having lots of visual tools to choose from, it specializes in 3D models, particle effects and other eye popping goodies. Once you start earning, you can just expand the free version by buying the add-ons that you need.
- Available on both Windows and Mac
- Good for creating effects and 3D compositing
- Can edit video, audio, and graphics
- Requires a powerful computer
- Not for beginners
Here’s a quick rundown of what HitFilm Express has to offer:
Best Budget-Priced: Filmora9
Wondershare’s Filmora9 is a resource-packed, user-friendly video editor that you can get for under $60. From built-in titles, effect, filters, audio, and transitions, it has everything you need to make professional-level videos at a budget price. You can even give it a trial first before you go ahead and purchase it.
- Intuitive surface and lots of resources
- Available for Windows and Mac
- Suitable for beginners and professionals
- No storyboard mode
- No 360-degree video editing
You can check out the latest features that Wondershare has added to FIlmora9 below:
Best for Professionals: CyberLink PowerDirector 18 Ultimate
CyberLink PowerDirector 18 Ultimate is a popular choice among experienced video editors for its top-of-the-line features. This includes multi-cam editing, 360-degree video, motion tracking, stabilization, video correction, nested sequences, and more. Also, for the value you get, it’s a good investment.
- Loads of features
- Fast rendering
- 3D and 4K support
- Best 360-degree video editing
- Not available for Mac
- Poor color matching
To help you decide if the PowerDirector 18 Ultimate is the right partner for you, watch this:
Best for Windows: Adobe Premiere Pro CC
Premiere Pro CC is the result of decades of refinement by one of the biggest names in the industry, Adobe. It is a non-linear editor with ample power, versatility, and depth to help you create anything from music videos to full-length movies. It can import from any source, support a variety of formats, and has a user-friendly interface. Of course, the best benefit of all is the integrated workflow with other Adobe products.
- Works seamlessly with other Adobe products
- Top-notch automatic functions and tools
- Continuous updates and additions
- Responsive speed and flexible interface
- Windows and Mac-compatible
- Subscription model only
- Uses a lot of computer resources
One of the highest rated video tutorials on Adobe Premiere Pro is the following:
Best for Mac: Final Cut Pro X
For Mac users, the Final Cut Pro X is a no-brainer. It has loads of sophisticated options including grouping tools, effects, 4K and multicam support, and integrated uploading to popular sites like YouTube, Facebook, and Vimeo. For long-time video editors, however, the nontraditional timeline-editing might take a lot of getting used to.
- Expansive toolset
- Fast, powerful and versatile
- Sold as a one-time purchase
- Mac only
- Lacks motion tracking for 360-degree videos
Here’s an awesome introductory video course to get you started on Final Cut Pro X in under 1 hour:
How to Become a Good Video Editor
So, now you know how much you can earn as a full-time video editor, where you can earn it, and what tools you have available. But, the question is, how do you make yourself stand out from other professionals? Here are some tips on how you can gain that edge:
Understand the story
Video editing is more than just putting clips together and adding effects. You are a storyteller and it is your job to keep the audience hooked from start to finish.
One way to achieve this is to cut out the parts of the video that don’t directly connect with each other. For this, the cut, trim, move, and splice functions are your best friends. Is the transition not smooth? Add in an effect or throw in some images that complement your point.
Be tasteful with your transitions.
What, when, where, and how often you use your transitions can affect the overall quality of your end product. Overdo it and you might end up with a cheap-looking reel. Remember, not every cut requires a transition.
Also, make sure that the transition you pick is suitable for the project. For example, fades to and from black work well in videos like movie trailers where you want to create suspense. Light flashes are another example. This cool effect works well in high energy sports videos and photo-heavy projects like wedding videos.
Practice the art of organization
One of the biggest turn-offs for clients is a messy workspace. An organized video editor is an efficient worker. Plus, it eliminates the risk of deleting important files and getting that dreaded “Media Offline” error. It’s also a thoughtful gesture to your clients who may want to have the project re-edited by another video editor in the future.
Keep your project files all in one place and create the proper subfolders.
Pro tip – Create blank template folders that you can quickly copy and paste whenever you start a new project.
When you’re naming your files, use the right keywords, always version, use hyphens (underscores aren’t web-friendly!), and add metadata whenever possible.
Have a good understanding of pacing and flow
Pacing is, perhaps, one of the hardest things to learn as a video editor. Imagine the video as a musical composition. The tempo, or in this case the pacing, sets the mood for parts of the video and even the entire project as a whole.
In general, rapid pacing expresses intensity and excitement while a slower pacing can be used to indicate a sincere and thoughtful moment. Of course, one scene should flow smoothly to another as well.
Learn other related programs
Don’t limit yourself to just one or two programs. Aside from knowing the most commonly used video editing software, familiarize yourself with programs like Photoshop, After Effects, Audition, Lightroom, Sound Forge, and more. The more programs that you know, the more value you can bring to any project, contract, or company, and the more often you’ll get hired.
Be timely with your deliverables
Nothing increases your chances for a repeat customer better than a quality video delivered on time. Even better if you can turn it in earlier than the deadline. To do this, you need to have good time management skills, which leads us to the next tip.
Improve your time management skills
Aside from impressing your client. by finishing your task faster, you’re opening yourself up for more work (more income!), more time to enhance your skill set, or some spare time to do your hobbies. So, how can you edit videos faster?
- Learn those software shortcuts by heart.
- Don’t mix up your rough, fine, and final cuts.
- Use placeholders to remind you what to add or edit and to where in the timeline.
- Do the audio mix last when your final mix has been client-approved.
Watch this video for more tips on how you can edit your videos much faster:
Keep up with the latest video editing trends
Staying on top of the latest trends in the video editing industry can make you stand out from your competition. Clients look for professionals who know the ins and outs of their craft because it can result in more impressive and effective videos. In marketing, for example, a more effective video will have better market penetration. An easy way to do this is to follow the right YouTube channels, blogs, and social media accounts.
Learn, learn, and learn
Never stop finding new things to learn. I can’t emphasize this more.
Again, the more you know, the more valuable you are as a video editor. Sign up for online classes that are relevant to your craft. A few areas worth exploring are typography, graphic design, photography, scriptwriting, and painting. A fresh perspective on video editing can get those creative juices going.