Video and Film Editor

The main responsibility of video and film editors is to turn rough video or film footage into a finished and polished video or film, ready for screening, working very closely with film producers, with whom there needs to be a good understanding of the nature and purpose of the film being made.

These editors use their knowledge of continuity, camera angles and television pacing, to create mood, pace and timing. They cut out footage that is not going to be used and ensure that the film flows sensibly. They may generate digital effects, add graphics and titles and prepare the soundtrack for audio final mixing.

Their tasks are to organise and string together raw footage into a continuous whole according to scripts or the instructions of the directors and producers, i.e. to select and combine the most effective shots of each scene to form a logical and smoothly running story.  They study the scripts to become familiar with production concepts and requirements. They cut shot sequences to different angles at specific points in scenes, making each individual cut as seamless as possible.

They determine the specific audio and visual effects and music necessary to complete the films and videos, collaborate with music editors to select appropriate passages of music and develop production scores.  They then edit the films and videotapes to insert music, dialogue and sound effects.  They may record sounds that are needed, or obtain them from sound effects libraries, and piece sounds together to develop film or video sound tracks.  Some will program computerised graphic effects to add in. They need to manipulate the plot, score, sound and graphics to make the parts into a continuous whole, working closely with people in audio, visual, music, optical or special effects departments.  Frames are marked where a particular shot or piece of sound is to begin or end.

They set up and operate computer editing systems, electronic titling systems, video switching equipment and digital video effects units to produce a final product, then trim film or video segments to the specified lengths, and reassemble the segments in sequences that present stories with maximum effect. They then review the assembled films or edited videotapes on screens or monitors to determine whether corrections are necessary.  They confer with producers and directors concerning the layout or editing approaches needed to increase the dramatic or entertainment value of productions, and conduct film screenings for directors and members of production staff.

They estimate how long audiences watching comedies will laugh at each gag line or situation, to space scenes appropriately, and supervise and coordinate the activities of workers engaged in film editing, assembling and recording activities.

Personal Requirements

  • have acquired a high level of technical expertise in filmmaking
  • creative and artistic
  • able to work accurately and independently
  • able to communicate effectively

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

Compulsory Subjects: Art or a related subjects is highly recommended
Recommended subjects: Art, Design Studies, Engineering and Graphic Design


  • An art portfolio is required to demonstrate your creativity, abilities and commitment.
  • If you intend studying towards a degree in Fine Art at university, you will need to a Bachelor's pass in matric. If you intend studying a diploma in an art-related field, then you will need a Diploma pass in matric.
  • Meet the admission requirements (APS) set by the university or requirements set by the college.

What to Study

Diploma: Video Technology - CPUT, Film and TV Production - City Varsity, ICESA


  • television companies
  • film companies
  • video production houses
  • self-employment, with enough experience, initiative and capital, can set up own video producing business

Further Information

National Television and Video Association of South Africa (NTVA)
P O Box 16140
Vlaeberg, 8018
Tel: (021) 424-7575

Getting Started

  • try to obtain vacation work with a video producing company or television company, as a gofer for example
  • make an appointment to speak to video editors about this type of career and ask permission to observe them at work

Programmes by Study Institutions

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