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Breaking Down the Role of the Video Editing Supervisor

Jourdan Aldredge

We cover everything you need to know about the Video Editing Supervisor, how to work with one, and how you can become one.

While there are arguments to make about the value of every aspect of a film or video project’s production, I’ve always felt that the post-production process is truly the most important. Yes, a person writing a script wields unlimited possibility, and a pre-production team can decide on any manner of roles, styles, or locations. A director and a DP can build a world visually from the ground up. But it’s the post team — the video editors and motion artists — who ultimately bring everything together.

The video editing process is where all the great pieces of the puzzle finally come together. And, more often than not, all the problems or mistakes contained therein get fixed. The final product is something everyone can be proud of.

When you’re just starting off, whether you’re a solo producer and shooter or an aspiring editor learning the ropes, the editing process can seem pretty straightforward. You shoot footage, take it into the edit, and boom — you’re done.

However, as you’ll quickly learn once you get into the world of turnkey video production companies and full-service post-production houses, the editing role quickly becomes very complicated, often requiring many different editors with many different specialties and roles.

At the heart of these bigger post-production houses and workflows are the all-important video editing supervisors. So, let’s go over what the title is, what the role entails, and how to become one.

What Is a Video Editing Supervisor?

An Editor Working on a Project

A Video Editing Supervisor has many roles in the editing process. (Image by FrameStockFootages.)

A video editing supervisor is a person (or sometimes persons) who plans, coordinates, oversees, and reviews every step of a video edit in the post-production process.

This is a middle-management type of role; a video editing supervisor works directly with clients to understand the scope of their video editing projects and to coordinate the work with a team of editors. These projects can be for a few simple edits or upwards of hundreds of individual videos and deliverables.

Defining the Role and Workflow

A Video Editing Timeline

The Video Editing Supervisor oversees a number of technical aspects of a project. (Image by senrakawa.)

While the role may vary from company to company, generally speaking, a video editing supervisor is directly above a team of editors. This includes any number of senior, junior, and assistant editors, as well as color correction and audio specialists, and all manner of motion graphics, 2D and 3D animators, and all post-production providers.

In my experience, working in-house with a medium-sized, full-service video production company (with around twenty employees), the video editing supervisor would be the point person once a project wrapped shooting. All footage, assets, and information from clients goes to the video editing supervisor, who then directs the workflow.

This often includes — but is not limited to — the following:

  • Safely securing and backing up all footage.
  • Organizing all footage, files, and assets.
  • Creating a project timeline.
  • Giving assignments, roles, and deadlines.
  • Checking in and problem-solving setbacks.
  • Organizing exports.
  • Quality control reviews.
  • Managing exports, uploads, etc.
  • Organizing final deliverables.

However, by its nature, a lot can go wrong or change during an edit. So, quite often, the video editing supervisor is the one who steps in to make the hard decisions on how to solve these problems. Are important shots out of focus? Did footage get corrupted during an upload? How much time does a motion graphic artist really need to animate a logo?

These are questions and problems a video editing supervisor must solve quickly and creatively in the face of an impending deadline.

How to Become a Video Editing Supervisor

An Editor Working with a Team Member

A successful Video Editing Supervisor needs to be able to manage a team and work well with individuals. (Image by Gorodenkoff.)

In some ways, it makes sense to say that the video editing supervisor is simply the most senior member of the post-production team. However, that’s not always the case. A good video editing supervisor needs to have a solid background in video editing and understand at least the basics of every program, application, and role on the team.

A supervisor also needs to be a good leader, manager, and organizer of many different moving parts. The best video editing supervisors I’ve worked for and with have been a good mix of both — knowledgeable and talented  but also good with people, providing positive support for the rest of the team.

If you’re interested in becoming a video editing supervisor, I’d suggest you start as an editor, ideally with a larger company or team. From there, you can move up from assistant to junior to senior, while developing your craft and skills. If you enjoy communicating and working with others, you can branch into the management side of things — the video editing supervisor.

Cover image by Gorodenkoff.

For more video editing roles, insights, and advice, check out these resources below.

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