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Music Video Editors

The Job

Music video editors work closely with video producers and directors throughout an entire project. These editors assist in the earliest phase, called preproduction, and during the production phase, when actual filming occurs. However, their skills are in the greatest demand during postproduction, when primary filming is completed and the bulk of the editing begins.

During preproduction, in meetings with producers and directors, video editors learn about the objectives of the music video. If the video is for a young pop star, for example, the editor should be familiar with his or her music and the image usually associated with the artist.

At this point, the producer may explain the larger scope of the project so that the editor knows the best way to approach the work when it is time to edit the film. In consultation with the director, editors may discuss the best way to accurately present the music artist's image. They may discuss different settings, scenes, costumes, special effects, or camera angles even before filming or taping begins. With this kind of preparation, music video editors are ready to practice their craft as soon as the production phase is complete.

Typically, the larger the budget for the video, the longer the shoot and the longer time the editor will spend working in postproduction. Therefore, some editors may spend months on one project, while others may be working on several shorter projects simultaneously.

Editors use digital editing systems to convert film footage to a digital format. The system has a database that tracks individual frames and puts all the scenes together in a folder of information. This information is stored on a hard drive and can instantly be brought up on screen, allowing a video editor to access scenes and frames with the click of a mouse. An increasing number of directors today are using digital video cameras to create music videos. This technology allows editors to skip the film-to-digital conversion process and speed up the editing process.

Music video editors are usually the final decision makers when it comes to choosing which video segments will stay in as they are, which segments will be cut, or which may need to be redone. Editors look at the quality of the segment, its dramatic/entertainment value, and its relationship to the rest of the video. Editors then arrange the segments in an order that creates the most effective finished product. To do this, they rely on notes from the producer and director, along with their own natural sense of how scenes should look.

Some editors specialize in certain aspects of the music video. Sound editors may have training in music theory or performance and focus on the audio element of the music video. Special effects editors are concerned more with the look of the video and are responsible for effects such as hand-drawn and computer animation and other stylistic footage.

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