How to hire a Freelance Video Editor

Video editing is a vital yet somewhat little understood cog in the greater skill bracket of video production and editing. While we all know what freelance photographers and film editors may specialise in, the technical skills, knowledge and expertise coupled with the high supply in the market of freelance video editors makes it a challenge when it comes to hiring the right resource.

Of course to ensure that you hire the person for your project it is imperative that you have a decent understanding of the profession itself as well as the skillset required to do the job. That’s why we’ve compiled the following guide to hiring a freelance video editor to ensure you don’t put a step wrong in your hiring process and find best fit and most highly skilled freelance video editor possible for whatever project you may have.

What does a freelance video editor do?

A freelance video editor’s main role is working with various raw recorded video work and turn it into a compelling and flowing finished product. Video editors are able to mix video footage with high quality audio, graphics and other special effects to supplement the final creative product. They are generally involved in the creative decision making process during post-production. This can be in the context of anything from an advertisement to a piece of video content for social media.

Other key roles and responsibilities of video editing include working on video storyboards, re-ordering content and logical sequencing, editing graphics, animations, special effects and sound as well as picture adjustment.

What software skills do freelance video editors typically possess?

Freelance video editors have a wide and far-reaching skillset that can influence a variety of elements in the creative process. Some may broach their skillset into other areas of video and photography though at the very least video editors should have experience with editing software such as Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro, Avid and CyberLink.

Some freelance video editors may also be versed in other software such as AFX for graphical additions or Da Vinci Resolve for Colour grading edits.

All in all, freelance videos editors should have the creative vision and talent to carry through a story that is clear to the viewer, coupled with meticulous attention to detail.

Examining a freelance video editor’s portfolio

As we’ve mentioned there are plenty of freelance video editors out there in the freelance world these days. This presents a tough task when it comes to cutting through the fat and pinpointing genuine quality within the market. This where the freelancer portfolio plays such as pivotal role in ascertaining and understanding talent and ability.

If they store samples of their previous work on a website or on their profile page, you needn’t reach out for them to send samples. When hiring a freelance video editor pay close attention to their care for sound quality. On any video that your prospective talent has been involved in, there must be no feedback or superfluous background noise. Sound and words must be clean, crisp and clear. If the video involves human dialogue, there needs to be no lag in the sound and words need match up with the lip movements of the subjects involved.

Images should also be crystal clear as you’d expect on any well-shot and well-directed video project. Special effects should look seamless and natural and shouldn’t stick out like a sore thumb. Crucially, and this where the real skill of a freelance video editor comes in, transition shots need to be perfect and flowing within the natural progression of the video. Transition that appear rough, mangled and out of place are real indicator of lack of talent within the freelance video editor space.

Be on the look out for style as well. While it’s important that your prospective freelance video editors have all the above quality points in the their repertoire, be on the look out for hallmarks of uniqueness and character within their work. You may want to avoid straightforward carbon copies of others when looking for a freelance video editor. Of course each freelance video editor may have briefed in with a particular style by their clients on previous projects, so perhaps portfolio case studies aren’t too reflective of their own hallmarks. With that in mind, it’s always an idea to reach out and explore what styles they may specialise in. This leads us into our next phase of scoping out your talent.

Discussing your video editing needs

Once you’ve sifted through a number of suitable portfolios it’s time to tighten your match to potential hires by engaging in dialogue and briefing in your needs and expectations.

Is it a requirement whereby you simply need someone to sift through raw unedited footage and tie all the links together seamlessly? Do you need someone to help you whip up a quality piece of video work using a limited budget and equipment? Or do you simply need someone to offer a secondary expert opinion on some existing video work?

It’s very important to flesh out your exact requirements and scope for your desired project at this stage to ensure expectations are met on both sides and no one is left in the dark over timings, feedback rounds and pay.

The hiring process: what questions should I be asking?

Now we’re getting closer to the onboarding stage and expectations over your project and requirements have been laid out. You’ve seen a number of solid video portfolios and have whittled your shortlist down to a few prime candidates.

To help you learn more about the potential freelance video editor you may end up working with, here are a few sample questions that you could be asking to help you consolidate your decision. These don’t necessarily focus on experience or their approach to work ad video editing techniques, as this can largely be scoped out in the earlier portfolio phase. These are more focused around areas such as logistics and communication:

  • How long would you need for a project like this?
  • How many rounds of edits can I reasonably request within your rate?
  • Are you able to work with a flexible schedule?
  • What formats can I expect the files to be delivered in?
  • What do you need from me in terms of files, content and immediate support?
  • Are you happy communicate using our preferred channels (Slack, email, Zoom etc)

Of course there’s no limit to number of questions you may want to ask, though when it comes to ironing out communication areas of the job then the above examples are certainly good places to start.

Check out PeoplePerHour’s in-depth talent pool and hire a freelance video editor today for your project.

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash