What you do in the job?
What you do.
My job as an editor involves working closely with the director to put the programme together from the original filmed footage. In my experience this usually involves piecing together all the bits of sync (chat and interviews) first, with gaps for music montages etc to get a first cut and then cutting it down to a length, close to the final duration they want for their programme.
A first cut for a half hour programme will usually be around 45 to 60 minutes but sometimes you are faced with well over an hour to hack down!! The reason this is done is there is no point spending hours crafting a piece and making it look all lovely, only to have to cut half of it out again later.
Only when you and the director are happy with the rough version, the rough cut, do you start to put all the pretty pictures in, music and do any effects that are needed. You may only get one day to do this if it is only a short item, or it could be weeks for a longer programme. When this is done and has been signed off by the producer then the programme will be handed on for conforming. If low resolution pictures have been used and they now have to be promoted to high resolution, and also to dubbing for the audio and onto an online edit for colour correction and name Astons etc.
Also, occasionally, you may work on programmes where you have to do all of the above yourself on the Avid (or other editing system), usually for lower budget productions!
What qualities are required?
You do have to love your job to be an editor as itís not 9 to 5 and it is very hard to switch off from at the end of the day and you often find yourself lying in bed wondering how you can get that effect to work. Claustrophobia is definitely not a good thing to suffer from as you can find yourself in some very small rooms for weeks on end with no windows!
Then there is the obvious things like creativity, and the confidence to offer your opinions if you think things are not working out, making sense, or you think there is a better way of doing it. Problem solving comes into it when the way the director planned it is not going to work, or the cameraperson has not got the shots you need and you have to find another solution. And yes, you guessed it, patience and lots of it. Especially for the times when you have spent hours doing that effect that the director wanted that you told them would not work but they insisted and then they see it and agree that YOU were right in the first place. You want to hit them over the head with a chair but have to smile sweetly and carry on!
How you start and where you can go with it?
I started by doing an HND in television production, and getting work experience at as many companies as I could. After one placement I was offered a job as a runner in post production and I moved on from that to broadcast assistant, to assistant editor, to editor. Other people move into editing from other jobs in the industry like directing or camera, and that works both ways as many editors move on into other roles as well.
Editing can be a very demanding job but is also incredibly rewarding, a lot of fun, you get to meet some great people and I could not imagine doing anything else. I absolutely love it.