Video Editors Make the Production World Go Round

Making Good Films Great

Have you ever wondered what can turn a video or film from good to great?

Masterful editing completely transforms raw footage into something completely new and adds suspense, intensity, and can even change the entire tone of a video. Just think about how different your favorite movie scene would be with different jump cuts, close ups, or lighting.

Video editors are the ones responsible for the final product that is seen on screen and with employment of film and video editors rising by 18% (which is higher than many other occupations) it is a potential career for any communication or media and culture major.

West Chester University offers several classes and clubs that can prepare you for a future career as a video editor. As a media and culture major, several beneficial classes are offered under the production concentration including Intro to Video Production (MDC 217), Advanced Video Production (MDC 317), and The Philadelphia Media Experience (MDC 203).

While taking MDC 217 and MDC 317 you’ll get used to working in Adobe Premiere Pro

MDC217, normally offered in the Fall, and MDC 317, offered in Spring, allow students to familiarize themselves with camera operation, lighting, audio production, storyboarding, staging shots, editing in pre-production, production, and post-production and most importantly, editing using the Adobe Creative Cloud.

MDC203 , typically offered in the Summer, teaches students about Philadelphia’s media profession history, allows them to find media opportunities in the city and helps develop skills needed for many media-based jobs.

All three of these courses develop integral skills for video editors and could easily prepare you for a potential career. In addition to these classes, WCU has an Editing Lab that MDC students have access to and West Chester University Studios, a TV Production organization.

This article lists several skills required to become a video editor, many of which are already a part of your WCU education.

  • A bachelor’s degree related to communication, which you are already working towards is one of the most important requirements for video editors.
  • Knowledge of editing software and cameras is also important to have. On top of the three classes that were previously mentioned that teach some basic editing and camera work, Adobe Creative suite is offered to WCU students enrolled in the College of Arts and Humanities for free so you can work on your editing skills outside of the classroom as well. Certain software vendors offer comprehensive tests, that allow you to receive certification in that software after passing the test. This certification will let your potential employer know that you are qualified and equipped with more than just the basic knowledge of editing software.
  • Although you may be the sole person editing a project in one of your MDC classes, video editors, like most other professionals, should have good communication skills and be prepared to work well with others. You will have to work alongside other production team members like directors, producers, and cinematographers and the inability to communicate or get along will not produce quality results.
  • The final and arguably most important skill is creativity. The video editor is responsible for what the audience will ultimately see so it is important that what you produce is engaging and inventive.
Video Editors have the potential to make or break the final outcome of a film, so creativity is essential to making successful videos and films.

So, you’ve taken the necessary classes, received your diploma, nearly mastered the essential skills of a video editor and now you are prepared to enter the workforce as a video editor. Even though you are more than ready to work as a video editor, how likely is it that you are able to find a job as an editor?

Entertainment hubs like N.Y. and L.A. are great places to find work as a video editor
Entertainment hubs like N.Y. and L.A. are great places to find work as a video editor

Jobs in video and film editing are estimated to grow approximately 18% between now and 2029. This is much higher than many other job rates so your odds of finding a job as a video editor will only get higher as time goes on. It is important to consider that video editors have a better chance of finding an open position in entertainment cities such as New York or Los Angeles.

Once you finally secure a job as an editor, you will probably be wondering how much money you can expect to make. The median pay for a video editor and camera operator, listed here as of 2019, is $59,810 a year. This number can be higher or lower depending on the branch of video editing you find employment in. Those employed in the motion picture and video industries can make upwards of $69,000 with the top 10% of video editors earning over $160,000 a year. Editors working in television broadcasting make slightly less at around $51,000 and the lowest 10% earning less than $33,000.

As far as opportunities for advancement, established editors can begin overseeing their own projects and move on to become producers and directors.

Video editors have the chance to gain international acclaim through their hard work. One such editor is Michael Kahn, a video editor known for his work on Stephen Spielberg films like Jurassic Park, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and War Horse.

Kahn is considered one of the best film editors of all time and has been nominated for eight academy awards winning three for Raiders of the Lost Ark, Schindler’s List, and Saving Private Ryan.

Kahn has not only won three Academy Awards, but also two BAFTA Awards for his work

In an interview, Kahn discussed working with Spielberg and the job of the editor to set the rhythm of the film and make sure every cut has purpose. As a video editor like Kahn, you could create scenes of adventure as often seen in the Indiana Jones films or high tension situations like the introduction of the T. Rex in Jurassic Park which Kahn discusses in the video below.

Editor Michael Kahn, ACE Discusses the Use of Slower Cuts in a Scene from “Jurassic Park” — YouTube

As a student at West Chester University, you already have a lot of resources to help you get ahead of the game of becoming a video editor.

Introduction to Video Production, Advanced Video Production, the Philadelphia Media Experience, WCU Studios and the Editing Lab are all offered to Media and Culture students at WCU. Many of the skills and requirements needed to become a video editor are covered in the aforementioned WCU classes which would allow you to get a head start on your video editing skills before you even start looking for a job as one.

Video editing may be a competitive field to get into, but employment offers and opportunities are on the rise and as an MDC student, you will be more than likely to be just what an employer is looking for!




A project created by WCU’s Media and Tech class to explore potential dream jobs.

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