11 Qualities That Make Video Editors Great

February 07, 2015 by Joshua Fechter | Blog, Resources

Video editors play an enormous role in determining a film's potential, which means they're required to go above and beyond to make the cut. So; you never know what the video editor might have on his to-do list to hit a deadline.

Video editing is not for everyone - it's for the few. The ones who are willing to take the creative challenge that pushes their imagination to create a compelling story. And that's where the magic happens - the creation of a beautiful film or show. All the hard work becomes worth it at that moment.

It's not easy to create a beautifully cut project. It takes talent and a number of characteristics that separates novices from professionals. What are these characteristics? Is it the workstation? The editor's tenacity to get a film edited on a tight deadline?

Without delay, here are the eleven qualities that make video editors great:

1. A LOT of coffee.

You work on strict deadlines, and your workload is highly variable. It's not unusual for a hundred scenes assigned for editing to double quickly. The video editing life is only for brave and creative men and women. And this fearlessness doesn't come from just anywhere, it usually from several cups of coffee. We recommend clearing a space on your desk for a Keurig, that way you can operate at maximum efficiency.

2. Patience is a virtue.

Rendering. Rendering. Rendering. Let me check...no, still rendering.

3. Super communication skills.

Efficient communication with the production team is crucial in ensuring everything flows smoothly. You may be asked to communicate with the director, producer, colorist, or actor and almost anyone involved in a video production. In addition, you have to be extremely careful because one edit can quickly make or break a film.

Also, if you hear someone say we will just fix it in post, you know when to shout loudly "NO WE WON'T JUST FIX IT IN POST!"

4. Thick skin.

Editors have a significant amount of power. They determine what stays and what gets cut. If you're an editor, you have to be prepared to stand up for what you believe in since the production can very well depend on it.

5. Good finger reflexes.

If you're editing on a strict timeline for your client, you need to edit video fast. And editing fast requires knowledge and use of the keyboard hotkeys without much conscious thought taking place. 

6. Excellent sense of pace and timing.

As you know, timing is everything in editing. Whether it’s the timing of a transition or pacing of your story, it can severely affect the result of your production. This is even more apparent for those editing live, where too many mistakes are just not acceptable.

7. Working on little to no sleep.

It's not easy to hit hard deadlines for your clients. Some of the projects you work on require an insane amount of post-production work. This heavy workload might mean sacrificing sleep with caffeine filled nights (see step 1) to create an excellent video. 

8. Empathetic.

Being able to understand people and how they convey emotion is essential to creating a great story from start to finish. Without the right emotions, a project can never reach its full potential. If you need some inspiration, here are 50 heartbreaking movie moments:

9. Vampire-like adaptability to darkness.

Video editors need to pay incredible attention to the computer screen that means editing without glare and distractions is critical. You might experience a lack of Vitamin D from not being in the sun, but it’s proven that creativity thrives in the dark.

10. A computer system that strikes fear into every NLE.

If you want to be a top-notch editor, then you need multiple screens, a couple hard drives, a powerful graphics card, excellent core processors, and a ton of RAM. It might cost you a pretty penny for the resulting impressive workflow, but if you want to be the best - you have to set up your workstation like the best.

11. Humbleness.

Even though you may have an intimidating workstation and a significant amount of editing prowess, you're the unsung hero. And just because you're not receiving all the attention you deserve, it doesn't mean you should stand in front of a movie theater to tell people you were the editor of the latest top feature film. Being humble is a strong characteristic of being a fantastic editor - learn to embrace it.

What do you think about our list? Are we missing any qualities? Comment below and let us know what you think!

 

Joshua Fechter

San Diego

Josh has a passion for all things video editing. He prides himself on creating tutorials for different effects and NLEs while also staying updated on the most relevant industry news. In his free...