In the film and television industry, editors play a pivotal production role. Whether movie editor or TV editor, the position consists of assembling the footage to be seen on screen. One way to think of an editor is as a sculptor shaping the raw materials provided by the director.
What Does a Film Editor Do?
While it may seem similar to story editing for newspapers or magazines, there is much more to editing for viewing purposes. It may be an art house film, big budget movie, commercial, music video or TV news broadcast. What an audience sees as the final product is the result of an editor's intensive work.
Editors work closely with directors, who usually select or hire an editor to collaborate with. A film editor must understand the story just as well as the director, as it is their work that tells the story. The most important word in the language of editing is continuity, which is how the story or information unfolds seamlessly.
An Editor's Role in Production
Once the film or video production wraps-up shooting, it is all put into the editor's hands. Productions are rarely shot in continuity, making just the organization of footage challenging. Editing takes dedication and demands patience after long hours in the editing room under constant deadline pressures.
The editor lays out the imagery and synchronizes the sound which may include voiceovers, the soundtrack or added sound effects. The editor also incorporates added visual effects, all culminating into the final presentation of a production.
In considering a career as a film or TV editor, it is important to be familiar with digital editing technology. This includes Avid and Final Cut Pro, but less complex software exists such as those pre-installed on home computers. Having fun with this basic software by editing home videos or picture slideshows will introduce a feel for continuity.
Editing requires immense technical skill, an understanding of styles and an artistic sense refined by film school. In this competitive field, graduate film school experience is also in demand. Even assistant editors have a better chance landing top jobs with a few years of working on student films.
Start Toward Your Future as a Movie Editor
Academy of Art University's School of Motion Pictures & Television prepares students to enter the industry. The school offers accredited Associates (AA), Bachelors (BFA) and Masters (MFA) degrees in fields such as Acting, Cinematography, Directing, Editing, Producing, Production Design and Screenwriting.
Film school students share their work with top professionals in the field. Instructors who are also working in the industry offer insight and networking opportunities. Academy of Art University also rolls out the red carpet for the top stars of film during the Epidemic Film Festival each year.
Classes are available online and in San Francisco.
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