The beat . A blog by premiumbeat

April 30, 2012
IndustryVideo Editing

Average Video Editor Salary – How to Make More Than Your Competition

Video Editor Salary

The future outlook of the video post-production market might keep you up at night…or cause you to create your best work.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics‘ most recent report shows that film and video editing positions are projected to grow only 5 percent from 2010 to 2020, slower than the average for most occupations.  The Bureau states that the consolidation of video related positions is partially responsible for this slow growth, as producers and reporters are becoming increasingly more responsible for editing their own work.  No doubt, tighter production budgets have led to this merging of what were traditionally separate positions.

Applications and hardware continue to drop significantly in price (note: DaVinci Resolve and Autodesk Smoke).  Low cost access to video editing tools will without question continue to drive up the number of individuals who claim themselves as “video editors”, further increasing competition.

Let’s take a look at the numbers.  In 2010…

Salary Employees Video Editing Jobs

20,600 video editors were salaried.

11,000 video editors were self-employed.

$50,930 was the average video editor salary.

The type of post-production work encompassed in the term “video and film industry” is wide ranging.  This is one factor that leads to a significant disparity between the highest paid editors and the lowest.  In 2010, the bottom 10% earned less than $25k, while the highest paid video editors (top 10%) made over $110k.

So, in an industry with slow job growth and declining barriers to entry how can you stay competitive, keep moving forward AND be one of the top earners?  Be better.

  • Stay knowledgeable about industry happenings. Know what’s happening online, offline, with cameras, technology and other industry news.  Read blogs, magazines, and press releases.
  • Network.  It’s been said 1000′s of times before and it’s true.  Reach out, make connections and you’ll get more work.  (Tip: freelancers go to local ad and marketing meet-ups, not just creative user groups)
  • Diversify your skill-set.  It’s no longer enough to know one editing application (FCP is case-in-point).  Be able to work with motion design, photography, audio, video editing and web applications.  That last one’s huge.  As video moves increasingly more online, it’s imperative to know about encoding and putting video online, as well as the basics of building and maintaining sites.
  • Market the heck out of yourself.  Be a productive member of your local film and video community.  Post your work online (not sure how, check this out).   Develop your own personal brand and push it.
  • Don’t get stuck.  This is very much a ladder-based industry.  You work your way up, taking on better projects, better clients and better money.   Drive forward creatively and take calculated job risks.  You’re never going to be a top-earner by running in place.

The future outlook of the post-production industry may be a bit flat according to the Bureau’s report, but it doesn’t have to be FOR YOU.  Work hard and separate yourself creatively from the rest of the pack.  The cream of the crop always rises to the top.

How do you stack up to the rest of the industry?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments! 

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  • Eric Wise

    Great article Danny!  I’ve been looking for the current video editor stats for a while now.  Glad I finally found them.

    • Danny Greer

      Thanks for the feedback, Eric! They may not be the most positive statistics but it’s good to know what others in the industry are making and where the field is heading.

  • Dolbyc

    The highest paid AVID editors make more than the number given in the article. If you include feature film, the number goes even higher.

  • Chrbille

    In Denmark, the average editor salary is about $420 a day or about $7500 a month. some make less, som e make more, depending on experience and type of project (tv/corporate/film)

    • Danny Greer

      Wow, that’s quite a bit higher than the US…but considering that the cost of living is significantly more in Denmark perhaps it evens out a bit. Thanks for sharing!

      • adsfasdfdsaf

        That and 50% taxes. It’s about the same as the North America.

  • Ben

    Become a producer.

    • AvidEditor

      Producers make less than experienced editors in Los Angeles.
      Only Executive Producers and Show Runners make more.

  • Pingback: Career Choice | Media Bootcamp Fall 2012

  • Catherine

    This article is really helpful. I’m really interested in being a video editor, and I need all the info I can possibly get. Thank you!

    • Amos

      Hi, im a recent graduate. I’m frustrating about my life now, wondering how’s life treating you as a video editor?
      Any help from you will be greatly appreciated!

  • Juan Pablo Suarez Rios

    600 usd at month Colombia…

  • EditTOOmuch

    I edit on FCP still ( miraculously) but switching to Avid in a month. But i make about 200,000 a year, and I am salaried. I am very fortunate, but what’s kept me going with constant employment over the last 8 years (in reality tv unfortunately) is just to constantly be working on getting better and whats most vital to your job which is storytelling. It’s a brutal career though, i work 9-7 five days a week, and i’ really tired by the end of it. But I still like it I guess but regret not being about to be outside more. Anyway, blah blah,

Become a better editor!