Film/video tape editor
Visual Arts & Trades

Film/video tape editors prepare film and video tape for the production of the final version of a film or television programme. They work closely with producers and directors.

Work Activities

Editors prepare the final version of film and video tape, often working closely with producers and directors to create a narrative. They arrange shots, adjust and enhance the quality of pictures and add special effects, if needed. The end result is a technically correct final version, ready for transmission.

Preparing the sound can involve matching sound to pictures, fixing sound levels, preparing new soundtracks and dubbing. For some productions, editors mix sounds and add music, background noise, special effects or narration.

Material is usually dealt with shot by shot, in sequence. Editors view images on monitors and input commands using a keyboard. 'Offline' editing allows the editor to copy up a trial edit before doing a main 'online' edit. Editors are also able to work on the recording directly, transferring the material later onto master tape to create the finished piece.

Digital systems allow editors to download all the footage onto computers. They then use editing software to produce the final version.

Personal Qualities and Skills

  • Creative skills and a good understanding of audio-visual media.
  • An aptitude for using technical equipment.
  • Accuracy and an eye for detail.
  • Patience and the ability to maintain concentration during long editing sessions.
  • An interest in all aspects of film and television.
  • To be able to work as part of a team with other production staff.
  • To be prepared to update your skills as new technology is introduced.

Pay And Opportunities

Typical employers of film / video editors

Employers are industrial/commercial video companies, the BBC, independent television and film companies, and satellite and cable television firms.

Opportunities for film/video tape editors occur regionally in towns and cities throughout the UK, and in major broadcasting production centres such as London, Birmingham, Glasgow, Manchester/Salford and Leeds.

Many film/video tape editors work on short, temporary contracts as self-employed freelancers; for example, film companies hire editors for particular productions.


Candidates wishing to enter a relevant course are expected to demonstrate a basic understanding of film/video editing, technical ability and a good eye for visual effects.

Entry requirements for courses will vary so it is important to check details for courses carefully.

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