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Video Editing as a Profession

Video editing is a profession that seems to not get a lot of credit, as it’s often substituted in thought by running a YouTube channel, or the processes behind directing a film. The profession of video editing is one of those that is often overlooked, even though it creates some of the greatest moments on screen. Whether or not you’re a fan of videographers, you can’t help but enjoy their craft. But what exactly does it take to do video editing as a full time profession? What type of training and equipment is required? Today, we explore this fascinating profession.

This past Sunday, as just about everyone who reads this website on a daily basis will know, was WrestleMania 34. It was a crazy event that kept me up until 5am, which, as you can tell, meant I crashed out on Monday and just had to do a light article for us, mostly as a way to reach out to you all. However, throughout the night of wrestling, all 7 hours of it, there were what we call “packages”. These packages are clips of what’s happened up until that point, the stories behind WrestleMania 34, as it were. Whilst watching them, it reminded me of how much fun it was to be a video editor – Something I do in my off-time for YouTube, which is something I’ll be getting back into later in the year. But what if you wanted to do more than just run your own YouTube channel? What if you wanted to be a video editor for a big company, like the BBC, or hey, even the WWE?

A video editor doesn’t necessarily require any fancy equipment to begin with, bar for a relatively powerful computer. They need a mouse and keyboard, more than likely (unless they’re excellent with touchscreen devices, or a different peripheral which replaces a mouse.) Furthermore, you’re going to need some good video editing software, which there is many out there, but ultimately only a few are considered to be a standard. Finally, if you’re working with YouTube, then you will also need a good internet connection.

The video editor doesn’t necessarily need to be too flashy, either. A lot of beginner editors attempt to use filters and transitions when really it’s not necessary. A lot of video editing packages come with some stock transitions – These are where you cut two scenes and paste them together, doing some form of fancy animation to cut between them. Often, it’s jarring for the end user, as they watch a video suddenly turn into a paper aeroplane to make way for another clip in the video. It’s strange and often hugely unnecessary, sometimes in an attempt to make the video look flashier than it needs to be. Some of the WWE packages I mentioned earlier were effective, as they used colour, speed, zooms – but not transitions of the video falling down. Animated transitions typically look bad, but they’re fine if you’re just working on a cheesy video to show friends and family!

One of my personal favourite video editors is James Rolfe, a legendary reviewer on YouTube and his own website, Cinemassacre. His whole life has been dedicated to wanting to make his own films, which in turn means he’s spent a lot of time editing. Whilst we believe in keeping it PG-13 here, the above video is anything but child-safe, so you’ve been warned, ladies and gentlemen. However, what I really love about James’ work is the rawness of which it’s displayed. It’s not overly fancy, instead it’s raw and it looks great for it. You can tell he loves what he does and the editing is always top notch. The above video is one of his best edited videos, well worth a watch. But uh, a slight warning for the ending!

You’ll notice with James’ videos, he keeps transitions to a minimum, but they’re often done in a quick, non-offensive way, looking for a clever way to cut the scene without there being any confusion to the viewer. James isn’t the only person who thinks minimal is the best way to work in video editing, but if you get an opportunity, do watch his YouTube vides discussing his earlier works which he kept around, mostly because it’s something he’s so passionate about.

Screenshot taken when I was working on an episode of Stonekeep

If you’re looking to get into video editing as a profession, the best advice we can give is to work on videos regularly and build yourself a portfolio. Don’t buy into software which offers fancy transitions, but instead look for more usable features: Text overlay, the number of video channels you can overlay, the number of sound channels and much more. If you’re looking for something for your own personal use, if you use Linux, I’d highly recommend Kdenlive. If you use Windows, spend a couple of quid (Approximately between £30-£35 yearly) and get yourself Wondershare Filmora. Alternatively, if you’ve got the cash, you may want to consult professionals as to what software they use. If you’re just looking to start your career off, then the two mentioned above are perfectly suited for your needs.

Have you ever edited a video? What do you think of the process? Do you use transitions in a positive way? Share your thoughts and opinions below, or over on Facebook and Twitter.

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