Assistant Editor Job Description
An assistant editor works to create an uninterrupted and productive environment for the editor, making sure that all processes are as smooth as possible. This role requires skills in editing techniques and digital editing software, along with a bachelor’s degree in a film or television-related subject. The work hours for this role vary and may be irregular depending on the project or editor, but the majority of assistant editors work full-time. If there is a deadline or an issue that needs fixing, overtime may be required. This position is ideally suited to people who love collaborating and interacting with other teams, are organized, and have excellent computer skills.
Assistant Editor Duties and Responsibilities
An assistant editor is responsible for providing support during the editing process, ensuring that the editor is disturbed as little as possible. Based on the listings we analyzed, an assistant editor’s duties typically involve:
Receive and Interpret Paperwork
An assistant editor’s role is to make sure the editor isn’t interrupted unless necessary, so they typically deal with the paperwork from departments or crew members and relay the information back to the editor.
Plan Editing Options
Assistant editors work closely with the editor to find ways to improve a scene, looking for ways to streamline the content, discussing the filming techniques used and how they can be edited to look more visually appealing.
Coordinate with Sound Team
Collaborating with the sound team to plan sound effects and music that might be needed, the assistant editor is responsible for liaising with the editor and director to make sure that the effects used fit the tone and vision of the film.
Assistant editors work to solve potential issues with the editing and are responsible for cutting the shot sequences at specific points to make each cut as seamless as possible, as well as inputting sound effects or dialogue to enhance the scene.
Spot Check for Errors
The assistant editor will work with continuity editors to review the final assembled film or footage, looking for errors. If corrections are required, they go back into the editing software, making needed changes.
Assistant Editor Skills and Qualifications
Assistant editors are organized, have strong interpersonal skills, and are skilled at using digital editing software programs. This role usually requires a bachelor’s degree in a relevant subject and on-the-job-training, along with the following abilities:
- Digital editing abilities – assistant editors need an extensive knowledge of various types of editing software, such as Final Cut Pro, Avid Software and Red Camera. They should also have experience of using programs such as Adobe After Effects, Adobe Photoshop, and be Mac and PC literate
- Listening skills – the ability to listen carefully and follow instructions, asking questions when it’s appropriate, is crucial to this role. Often, multiple projects are going on so assistant editors need to fully understand what’s required at all times
- Reading comprehension – assistant editors often deal with paperwork from different departments and the crew to relay the information back to the editor
- Critical thinking – this role often requires the ability to fix problems and find solutions, so assistant editors should be critical thinkers who can troubleshoot when needed
- Organization skills – assistant editors should be able to prioritize tasks and organize both their work and schedules for the project when called upon by the editor
Assistant Editor Education and Training
Assistant editors typically require a bachelor’s degree in a subject related to film or television, such as communications. Many colleges offer courses in specific fields such as cinematography of video editing software. To be successful in this role, assistant editors have to have a thorough understanding of how digital cameras and editing software works.
On-the-job-training is often provided, but those new to the industry should still be familiar with as many types of software as possible. Employers value applicants who can demonstrate their ability to work with a range of editing software, so gaining a certificate in these will be beneficial to your résumé.
Assistant Editor Salary and Outlook
Assistant editors earn a median annual salary of over $35,000. Those in the 10th percentile earn around $25,000 and the highest paid earn close to $55,000 annually. Medical and dental benefit packages are often offered, depending on the company, and there are sometimes profit sharing opportunities available.
The level of experience for this role impacts the pay grade and most job openings are projected to be in entertainment hubs such as New York or Los Angeles. The BLS predicts that the growth rate for this sector is expected to grow by 17 percent through 2026.
Assistant Editor Helpful Resources
Film and production technology are developing and changing all the time. We’ve collected some of the best resources to help you stay up to date:
The Art of the Guillotine – An online film community where film professionals can share and discuss content, and keep up with the latest film and production trends. There’s also an online magazine called The Assembly is a great resource.
Creative Cow – Creativecow.net is a peer-to-peer site designed for media professionals. It provides a host of useful information, from job openings to tutorials and blogs, as well as a forum for sharing tips and tricks.
Film Editing: Theory and Practice – This book is aimed at editing novices who want to learn the art of perfect editing. It covers how to use the latest version of Final Cut Express, includes structured exercises, and teaches the terminology you’ll need to know in this industry.
The Art of the Cut – A clear and concise guide to the most valuable concepts in film editing, this book is ideal for those looking to learn the basic principles of editing. It includes photographs and graphics and summarizes more than 100 concepts into an easy-to-follow reference guide.
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