Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators

Career, Salary and Education Information

Following is everything you need to know about a career as a film and video editor with lots of details. As a first step, take a look at some of the following jobs, which are real jobs with real employers. You will be able to see the very real job career requirements for employers who are actively hiring. The link will open in a new tab so that you can come back to this page to continue reading about the career:

Top 3 Film and Video Editor Jobs

  • Cinematic Wedding Film - Video Editor - Reverent Media - Houston, TX

    Additionally, the networking that has been able to happen amongst our 40+ team members has allowed for increased exposure in the film industry. The

  • Entry Level Videographer and Editor Internship - The Mullings Group - Delray Beach, FL

    Basic office experience (Microsoft office or similar, scanning, printing, mailing, etc...) HUGE PLUS: -Audio and podcast experience -Photo experience

  • Video Editor - Reverent Media - Houston, TX

    Additionally, the networking that has been able to happen amongst our 40+ team members has allowed for increased exposure in the film industry. The

See all Film and Video Editor jobs

Top 3 Camera Operator Jobs

  • Repo Camera Car/Spotter Operator - Dezba Asset Recovery - West Babylon, NY

    Promotion/Raises given based on performance and tenure with the company. REQUIREMENTS: *Must be at least 23 years old with a clean license* *Must

  • Camera Operator - FloSports - Upper Marlboro, MD

    Help during tear down after the shoot is expected. Call times are as follows (subject to change) Thurs June 21 @ TBD Fri June 22 @ TBD Sat June

  • Sewer Camera Operator - Vector Force Development, LLC - Kansas City, MO

    Essential Functions: (Based upon level of position, not all functions may apply) • Understanding of the electronic and mechanical processes

See all Camera Operator jobs

What Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators Do[About this section] [To Top]

Film and video editors and camera operators manipulate images that entertain or inform an audience. Camera operators capture a wide range of material for TV shows, motion pictures, music videos, documentaries, or news and sporting events. Editors take footage shot by camera operators and organize it into a final product. They collaborate with producers and directors to create the final production.

Duties of Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators

Film and video editors and camera operators typically do the following:

  • Shoot and record television programs, motion pictures, music videos, documentaries, or news and sporting events
  • Organize digital footage with video-editing software
  • Collaborate with a director to determine the overall vision of the production
  • Discuss filming and editing techniques with a director to improve a scene
  • Select the appropriate equipment, such as the type of lens or lighting
  • Shoot or edit a scene based on the director's vision

Many camera operators have one or more assistants working under their supervision. The assistants set up the camera equipment and may be responsible for its storage and care. They also help the operator determine the best shooting angle and make sure that the camera stays in focus.

Likewise, editors often have one or more assistants. The assistants support the editor by keeping track of each shot in a database or loading digital video into an editing bay. Assistants also may do some of the editing tasks.

Most operators prefer using digital cameras because these smaller, more inexpensive instruments give them more flexibility in shooting angles. Digital cameras also have changed the job of some camera assistants: Instead of loading film or choosing lenses, they download digital images or choose a type of software program to use with the camera. In addition, drone cameras give operators an opportunity to film in the air, or in places that are hard to reach.

Nearly all editing work is done on a computer, and editors often are trained in a specific type of editing software.

The following are examples of types of camera operators:

Studio camera operators work in a broadcast studio and videotape their subjects from a fixed position. There may be one or several cameras in use at a time. Operators normally follow directions that give the order of the shots. They often have time to practice camera movements before shooting begins. If they are shooting a live event, they must be able to make adjustments at a moment's notice and follow the instructions of the show's director. The use of robotic cameras is common among studio camera operators, and one operator may control several cameras at once.

Cinematographers film motion pictures. They usually have a team of camera operators and assistants working under them. They determine the angles and types of equipment that will best capture a shot. They also adjust the lighting in a shot, because that is an important part of how the image looks.

Cinematographers may use stationary cameras that shoot whatever passes in front of them, or they may use a camera mounted on a track and move around the action. Some cinematographers sit on cranes to film an action scene; others carry the camera on their shoulder while they move around the action.

Some cinematographers specialize in filming cartoons or special effects. For information about a career in animation, see multimedia artists and animators.

Videographers film or videotape private ceremonies or special events, such as weddings. They also may work with companies and make corporate documentaries on a variety of topics. Some videographers post their work on video-sharing websites for prospective clients. Most videographers edit their own material.

Many videographers run their own business or do freelance work. They may submit bids, write contracts, and get permission to shoot on locations that may not be open to the public. They also get copyright protection for their work and keep financial records.

Many editors and camera operators, but particularly videographers, put their creative work online. If it becomes popular, they gain more recognition, which can lead to future employment or freelance opportunities.

Work Environment for Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators[About this section] [To Top]

Television, video, and motion picture camera operators hold about 25,100 jobs. The largest employers of television, video, and motion picture camera operators are as follows:

Motion picture and video industries 38%
Radio and television broadcasting 21
Self-employed workers 15
Professional, scientific, and technical services 5
Government 4

Film and video editors hold about 34,200 jobs. The largest employers of film and video editors are as follows:

Motion picture and video industries 58%
Self-employed workers 16
Television broadcasting 9
Professional, scientific, and technical services 5

Film and video editors and camera operators typically work in studios or in office settings. Camera operators and videographers often shoot raw footage on location.

Film and video editors work in editing rooms by themselves, or with producers and directors, for many hours at a time. Cinematographers and operators who film movies or TV shows may film on location and be away from home for months at a time. Operators who travel usually must carry heavy equipment to their shooting locations.

Some camera operators work in uncomfortable or even dangerous conditions, such as severe weather, military conflicts, and natural disasters. They may have to stand for long periods waiting for an event to take place. They may carry heavy equipment while on shooting assignment.

Film and Video Editor and Camera Operator Work Schedules

Work hours vary with the type of operator or editor, although most work full time. Those who work in broadcasting may put in additional hours to meet a deadline. Those who work in the motion picture industry may have long, irregular hours while filming, but go through a period of looking for work once a film is complete and before they are hired for their next job.

How to Become a Film and Video Editor or Camera Operator[About this section] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators near you!

Film and video editors and camera operators typically need a bachelor's degree in a field related to film or broadcasting.

Education for Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators

Most editor and camera operator positions require a bachelor's degree in a field related to film or broadcasting, such as communications. Many colleges offer courses in cinematography or video-editing software. Coursework involves a mix of film theory with practical training.

Film and video editors and camera operators must have an understanding of digital cameras and editing software because both are now used on film sets.

Film and Video Editor and Camera Operator Training

Editors may complete a brief period of on-the-job training. Some employers may offer new employees training in the type of specialized editing software those employers use. Most editors eventually specialize in one type of software, but beginners should be familiar with as many types as possible.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations for Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators

Editors may demonstrate competence in various types of editing software by earning certification, which is generally offered by software vendors. Certification requires passing a comprehensive exam, and candidates can prepare for the exam on their own, through online tutorials, or through classroom instruction.

Advancement for Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators

Experienced film and video editors and camera operators with creativity and leadership skills can advance to overseeing their own projects. For more information, see the profile on producers and directors.

Important Qualities for Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators

Communication skills. Film and video editors and camera operators must communicate with other members of a production team, including producers and directors, to ensure that the project goes smoothly.

Computer skills. Film and video editors must use sophisticated editing software.

Creativity. Film and video editors and camera operators should be able to imagine what the result of their filming or editing will look like to an audience.

Detail oriented. Editors look at every frame of film and decide what should be kept or cut in order to maintain the best content.

Hand–eye coordination. Camera operators need to be able to move about the action while holding a camera steady.

Physical stamina. Camera operators may need to carry heavy equipment for long periods, particularly when they are filming on location.

Visual skills. Film and video editors and camera operators must see clearly what they are filming or editing in the postproduction process.

Film and Video Editor and Camera Operator Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

The median annual wage for television, video, and motion picture camera operators is $55,080. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $26,940, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $109,200.

The median annual wage for film and video editors is $62,760. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $27,640, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $162,260.

The median annual wages for television, video, and motion picture camera operators in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Motion picture and video industries $59,780
Professional, scientific, and technical services 53,800
Government 52,660
Radio and television broadcasting 48,950

The median annual wages for film and video editors in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Motion picture and video industries $67,000
Professional, scientific, and technical services 53,970
Television broadcasting 52,710

Work hours vary with the type of operator or editor, although most work full time. Those who work in broadcasting may put in long hours to meet a deadline. Those who work in the motion picture industry may have long, irregular hours while filming, but go through a period of looking for work once a film is complete and before they are hired for their next job.

Job Outlook for Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators[About this section] [To Top]

Employment of film and video editors is projected to grow 16 percent over the next ten years, much faster than the average for all occupations. However, because it is a small occupation, the fast growth will result in only about 5,600 new jobs over the 10-year period.

Employment of camera operators is projected to grow 6 percent over the next ten years, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

The number of Internet-only platforms, such as streaming services, is likely to increase, along with the number of shows produced for these platforms. This growth may lead to more work for editors and camera operators.

In broadcasting, the consolidation of roles—such as editors who determine the best angles for a shoot, the use of robotic cameras, and the increasing reliance on amateur film footage—may lead to fewer jobs for camera operators. However, more film and video editors are expected to be needed because of an increase in special effects and overall available content.

Job Prospects for Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators

Most job openings are projected to be in entertainment hubs such as New York and Los Angeles because specialized editing workers are in demand there. Still, film and video editors and camera operators will face strong competition for jobs. Those with more experience at a TV station or on a film set should have the best prospects. Video editors can improve their prospects by developing skills with different types of specialized editing software.

Employment projections data for Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators, 2016-26
Occupational Title Employment, 2016 Projected Employment, 2026 Change, 2016-26
Percent Numeric
Television, video, and motion picture camera operators and editors 59,300 66,500 12 7,200
  Camera operators, television, video, and motion picture 25,100 26,700 6 1,600
  Film and video editors 34,200 39,800 16 5,600


*Some content used by permission of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.

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