Assistant Film Editor: Job Description, Duties and Requirements

Learn about the education and training needed to become an assistant film editor. Get a quick view of the requirements as well as details about education and job responsibilities to find out if this is the career for you.

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Assistant film editors provide support during the production of films to ensure a smooth editing process. They are generally required to have solid computer skills and the ability to adapt to new technologies. Assistant film editors typically possess a bachelor's degree.

Essential Information

The work of an assistant film editor centers on creating a productive environment for the editor, ensuring a fluid filming and editing process. Film editors learn required skills in editing techniques and digital editing software through training and degree programs found at colleges and universities. Although there isn't a standard educational requirement for assistant film editors, most film editors in general need a bachelor's degree in a field related to film or broadcasting with coursework in camera operation and video-editing software.

Required Education Bachelor's degree is typical
Additional Requirements Computer skills, monitoring and mastering technology and software advances as they occur
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024) 18% for film and video editors*
Average Annual Salary (2015) $80,300 for film and video editors*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Assistant Film Editor Job Description

An assistant film editor maintains a balanced and structured environment in the editing room. The assistant editor is responsible for operating the editing technology as well as interacting with various people on the filmmaking staff, particularly the camera, film lab and sound department. An assistant is commonly one of the first to arrive on set and the last to leave, organizing the cutting room for that day and arranging it for the next. Depending on the scale of the production, an assistant film editor may supervise a team of assistants.

Though work on a feature film or television program can continue for longer than a year, eventually an assistant editor must search for a new job. To maintain a steady income, assistant editors often explore new opportunities while still working on a job.

Assistant Film Editor Job Duties

The role of an assistant editor is to allow the editor to work uninterrupted. An assistant typically receives and interprets paperwork from the staff and crew, relaying this information to the editor. Assistant editors may coordinate with the sound team to plan for sound effects and other music used in the film, and import unedited footage into the editing program to examine a scene for incomplete footage. Each scene is assembled in a computer system according to the editor's preference.

An assistant film editor may critique a scene for the editor, if the two have developed a relationship. They record notes during screening and aid in the integration of visual effects. An assistant film editor can also be asked to arrange the workspace, fix a technical issue or organize extra footage.

Requirements for an Assistant Film Editor

Although a specific degree is not necessary to become an assistant film editor, most editors learn the craft through postsecondary education, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). Computer technology or film and television degrees are available from film schools, colleges and universities. Digital editing system training is mandatory for most jobs. Editing systems most frequently used in Hollywood include:

  • Adrenaline Software
  • Avid Software
  • Final Cut Pro
  • Red Camera

Experience using Adobe Photoshop, Adobe After Effects and Mac and PC computers are essential. Keeping abreast of technological advances is necessary for an assistant editor.

Salary Information and Employment Outlook

In 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported an average annual wage of $80,300 for film and video editors, with those working in the motion picture and video and employment services industries earning the top salaries. From 2014-2024, the BLS anticipated job growth of 18% for these editors.

Assistant film editors perform varied tasks, which include coordinating sound, importing footage, and helping to integrate visual effects in films. They are usually required to be computer proficient and have a bachelor's degree. Assistant film editors fall under a category where 18% job growth is expected, which is much faster than the average for all occupations.

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