Music Video Editors


Exploring this Job

One of the best ways to prepare for a career as a music video editor is to stay current on music trends and new artists. You should also be familiar with all different kinds of film and television projects, including documentaries, short films, feature films, TV shows, and commercials. Study as many different projects as you can, paying close attention to the decisions the editors made in piecing together the scenes.

Large television stations and music production companies occasionally have volunteers or student interns. Most people in the industry start out doing minor tasks helping with production. These production assistants get the opportunity to see different professionals at work. By working closely with an editor, a production assistant can learn general video production operations as well as specific editing techniques.

The Job

Music video editors work closely with video producers and directors throughout an entire project. These editors assist in the earliest phase, called preproduction, and during the production phase, when actual filming occurs. However, their skills are in the greatest demand during postproduction, when primary filming is completed and the bulk of the editing begins.

During preproduction, in meetings with producers and directors, video editors learn about the objectives of the music video. If the video is for a young pop star, for example, the editor should be familiar with his or her music and the image usually associated with the artist.

At this point, the producer may explain the larger scope of the project so that the editor knows the best way to approach the work when it is time to edit the film. In consultation with the director, editors may discuss the best way to accurately present the music artist's image. They may discuss different settings, scenes, costumes, special effects, or camera angles even before filming or taping begins. With this kind of preparation, music video editors are ready to practice their craft as soon as the production phase is complete.

Typically, the larger the budget for the video, the longer the shoot and the longer time the editor will spend working in postproduction. Therefore, some editors may spend months on one project, while others may be working on several shorter projects simultaneously.

Editors use digital editing systems to convert film footage to a digital format. The system has a database that tracks individual frames and puts all the scenes together in a folder of information. This information is stored on a hard drive and can instantly be brought up on screen, allowing a video editor to access scenes and frames with the click of a mouse. An increasing number of directors today are using digital video cameras to create music videos. This technology allows editors to skip the film-to-digital conversion process and speed up the editing process.

Music video editors are usually the final decision makers when it comes to choosing which video segments will stay in as they are, which segments will be cut, or which may need to be redone. Editors look at the quality of the segment, its dramatic/entertainment value, and its relationship to the rest of the video. Editors then arrange the segments in an order that creates the most effective finished product. To do this, they rely on notes from the producer and director, along with their own natural sense of how scenes should look.

Some editors specialize in certain aspects of the music video. Sound editors may have training in music theory or performance and focus on the audio element of the music video. Special effects editors are concerned more with the look of the video and are responsible for effects such as hand-drawn and computer animation and other stylistic footage.