Film and video editors working in the motion picture and video industry earned an average annual salary of $68,680 per year as of May 2010, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The motion picture and video industry employed the most movie editors of any U.S. industry — 12,860 employees out of a total 19,930 during 2010. The average salary for film editors across all industries during 2010 was $61,890 per year, or $29.75 per hour.
Putting together a film requires many technical staff members, but the overall look and feel of a movie is largely the responsibility of the editor. Movie editors work with film that has already been recorded and compile the feature length film that is eventually viewed in theaters. Movie editors typically earn salaries that reach $70,000.
Movie Editor Salary
Types of Editors
Movie editors are employed in a number of different positions within the film industry, performing mostly postproduction work. Film and video editors are responsible for selecting the best shots from the recorded film and assembling them to create a movie with dramatic continuity and a compelling mood. Other types of editors include assistant editors and dubbing editors, normally responsible for arranging the film soundtrack and any special effects. These positions require specialized knowledge of editing equipment and computer software used to edit movies.
Although personal creativity is a large part of any movie editing job, professionals must attain a certain level of education to be hired. Bachelor degree programs in film, cinematography or movie editing are available at colleges, public universities or private film schools; community colleges often have associate's degree programs in film editing. Coursework in a bachelor's degree program for film typically covers the use of cameras and other filming equipment, editing processes and different techniques for special effects and other types of editing.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that job openings for film and video editors will grow by 11 percent between 2008 and 2018, about as fast as predicted job growth for all U.S. occupations. However, the BLS also indicates that job competition for available work will be high due to many job applicants and outsourcing of editing work to professionals in other countries. The best job prospects will be available to film editors who stay on top of changing technologies within the motion picture industry and possess strong computer skills.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics: Film and Video Editors
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Career Guide to Industries: Motion Picture and Video Industries
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Television, Video, and Motion Picture Camera Operators and Editors