Behind the Scenes! An Editor’s Perspective

My name’s Jacob, video editor at Visualised it. I’ve worked here for just over two years now, after finishing a film production course at university.

Because of the nature of the job, no two days are the same as video projects can take days and in some cases, weeks to edit.

A typical day will go a little bit like this:

After arriving at the office at 9am, first job of the day is the morning cup of tea; splash of milk, not too light and one sugar. After settling into my desk, the director will pass me the footage from a video shoot that took place last week, the footage is usually stored on SD cards.

This begins the first stage of the Post-Production process (the work that takes place after the video has been filmed): My first job is to copy all the video onto the system; after plugging the card into the computer I select the files and copy them onto the hard drive. It’s important to remain highly organised at this stage; you could have multiple cards to copy and a lot of video and audio files, I put each card’s files into their own separate folders and put every folder related to a particular project into one main folder.

Next, I open up my video editing software (I use Adobe Premiere Pro), find the footage and audio on the drive, and import it into the program. But before I start editing, I need to understand what kind of video the client would like, as what works well for one video and client might not be the best approach for another.

I’ll sit down with the director and producer and discuss the client’s requirements, we might reference other videos we’ve made before or a famous video or advert to imitate. Once this is done I’ll start the edit properly, depending on how long the video is and the amount of content and extra requirements the client might have, this can take as shorter time as a couple of hours, to several days.

The editing stage requires a creative mind that’s able to problem solve efficiently with the available resources, as well as being technically competent in the software, even though it may seem scary at first, a lot of the editing programs are quick to learn and there is plenty of online support for new users.

The most important aspect of editing any video is making sure there is a clear message and story to tell, this will affect the pace of the video and if it’s not done right it might be too fast or boring, this is called an Assembly edit. Once I’ve got that down and I’m happy with it, I’ll add music, graphics and special effects if needed.

The office is a personable and friendly environment, you’re always allowed to have a chat with the rest of the team, if we didn’t it’d feel like you were in an exam. This usually brings me to lunchtime, I’ll take half-an-hour or so to eat, have a quick walk around the building, and check my Facebook and Instagram before I return to my desk. This gives me a break from the editing, and when I come back to it with a new set of eyes I might make a few amends.

I’ll then show the video to the director, once they’re happy I’ll send a version to the client to get some feedback and allow them to request any changes, these could range from simply changing a font, colour or picture, to changing the order of the footage and in some cases trying a different approach. Once the client is happy with the video and it is ‘signed off’ it’s time to export (creating a video file from the editing software), this is a very technical stage of the process and some clients may have a specific format you’ll need to export to. Again, the time this takes will vary depending on how long the video is and what kind of file you export it as. This is as good a time as any to get another cup of tea, editing is thirsty work!

Once I’ve exported and checked the finished video plays fine, I’ll send the client the finished video and upload it to our YouTube channel and website to share it with the world. I normally finish work at 5pm, although if a deadline is approaching I occasionally stay another half an hour or so.

The job itself requires a lot of quick, creative thinking and a technical mind for troubleshooting any issues which may arise. If you’re good with computers, have an eye for detail, a great visual imagination and enjoy learning new skills and software, then video editing could be a great career for you, it’s a unique position that, if you have right level of enthusiasm and know-how can lead to a very rewarding line of work.