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Film and video editors in Virginia use their creativity and technical skill to edit and improve recorded videos for public and private consumption. Although their main focus is capturing videos for movies, film, or cinema, they are sometimes involved in other aspects of film production, and may be called upon to collaborate with producers and directors during the ideation phase of a project. Common tasks performed by video editors include:

  • Supervising the shooting and recording of a wide range of scenes for movies, television shows, commercials, documentaries, and live events
  • Editing raw film footage
  • Collaborating with other film industry professionals to hone a final image for the movie or project
  • Using lighting and other techniques to improve a scene's appearance or artistry
  • Selecting proper camera equipment for various scenes and shooting events
  • Selecting and editing scenes that make the final version of various productions

Fast Facts for Film and Video Editors in Virginia

As the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes, only 250 film and video editors were employed in the state of Virginia in 2014. However, these professionals earned earned an annual mean wage of $62,750 in 2014. The following regions employed the bulk of film and video editors in Virginia that year:

  • Washington - Arlington - Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV: 300
  • Richmond: 40
  • Charlottesville: 40
  • Virginia Beach - Norfolk - Newport News, VA-NC: 40

Film Editor Salaries in Virginia

As noted above, film and video editors in Virginia earned an annual mean wage of $62,750 in 2014. That works out to a mean hourly wage of approximately $30.17. Certain industries paid these workers more in 2014 on a national level, however. Here are the highest paying industries for film and editors in Virginia and all over the country that year:

  • Motion Picture and Video Industries: $82,370
  • Employment Services: $82,100
  • Accounting, Tax Preparation, Bookkeeping, and Payroll Services: $79,430
  • Social Advocacy Organizations: $74,230
  • Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers: $72,290

Metro Areas Rated for Salary and Popularity

Region

Employment per 1,000 Residents

Annual Mean Wage in 2014

Washington - Arlington - Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV

0.13

$74,050

Richmond

0.07

$49,080

Charlottesville

0.38

$56,120

Virginia Beach - Norfolk - Newport News, VA-NC

0.05

$46,770

Expert Q&A

To learn more about the film editing industry in Virginia, we reached out to Giovanna Chesler, Director and Associate Professor of Film and Video Studies at George Mason University in Virginia.

What are some of the unique issues that filmmakers face in the state of Virginia?

Virginia's film industry is growing quickly. The VA Film Office is doing a wonderful job of promoting the benefits of shooting in Virginia to the industry at large. Our regional filmmakers must learn how to tap into the productions shooting here. Independent filmmakers in the state need more support for their productions as well and one of the challenges of the state is to support its local artists. Filmmakers working in Virginia must also build relationships with Maryland and Washington DC film-making communities, as media production in this region spans two states and the district.

What is the greatest benefit of practicing this field within the state of Virginia?

Virginia is one of the most diverse states in the country and our university's student population echoes that. The challenge and benefit for regional filmmakers -- the students who come to Film and Video Studies at Mason -- is to reflect, through original storytelling, this quality. Picturesque locations abound and within 45 minutes or less from Mason, students can be at the beach, in a thriving city, or in the Blue Ridge Mountains. They can find themselves deep in a forest, or at the border of a vineyard. Ask a student to use place as a character in a film, and you will be amazed at the beauty they bring to screen from within this region.

How will the job of a film/video editor change in the next 10 to 20 years?

Media management, rendering, compositing, compressing and uploading will be much easier as technology progresses. We have mathematicians at GMU and members of our FAVS Advisory Board who are working to improve this process for the maker. But the elegance of constructing an edit, of mixing sound and developing an engaging sound design, of creating motion graphics that flow with the picture, of managing color correction choices so that they underscore meaning -- these techniques will continue to involve watching and studying films with significant practice in style and technique.

How is your school preparing film students for future careers in this industry?

The size of our screens and the methods of receiving media -- film particularly -- are undergoing a radical transformation. We ask our students to think about these changes, and to actively participate in them by learning to create and write serialized content, imagine and build transmedia strategies for their film projects, and hone their craft in producing work with shorter running times. Additionally, we want students to think about how they can help change access to our industry. Only 7 percent of the top 250 fiction films were directed by women in 2014 and women shot only 3 percent of those films as cinematographers. Statistics for the participation of filmmakers of color show that only 12 percent of films are directed by makers of color, and only 7 percent are written by makers of color. It is the responsibility of everyone in the industry to encourage accessibility and diversity in storytelling and in participation on set. As educators, we have to address disparity clearly and broadly. In FAVS at Mason, we push students to write for the world they see in its complexity. This requires spending additional time with students. Our faculty to student ratios are low in production courses for this reason.

What special programs does your school offer in this realm?

From our basic writing class to advanced topics courses in production, we prepare students for the industry as it is now and as it is will become. Our required Business of Film and Video course is flexible to allow for changes in the industry as they happen. Web Series gives students (award-winning) experiences in making serialized content that is designed to watch online. Last year, our Web Series students won a Webby, a Telly and six CINDY awards for their class projects! And our basic Writing for the Moving Image class gives students, at the start of their career, experience in writing for multiple genres and forms of film - from the big screen to the small screen. We are a multidisciplinary program, so students take courses in other departments as well as FAVS. In English, students study Film and Video Forms and attend to our changing industry through theory and criticism. In Art, students can take Live Video in which they make multi-screen projects. And students take courses in Game Design and apply their visual storytelling skills to interactive technology.

Sources:

  1. Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and-communication/film-and-video-editors-and-camera-operators.htm
  2. Film and Video Editors, Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2014, Bureau of Labor Statistics, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes274032.htm
  3. Interview with Giovanna Chesler, Director and Associate Professor of Film and Video Studies at George Mason University in Virginia
  4. Long Term Occupational Projections, Projections Central, http://projectionscentral.com/Projections/LongTerm
  5. May 2014 State Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Virginia, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_va.htm
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More Virginia Schools

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

School Name
Campus
Highest Award
Enrolled
Fairfax
Doctorate & First Professional
30,276
Virginia Beach
Doctorate & First Professional
4,115

Job Popularity in Metro Areas for Film And Video Editors

The map below shows job statistics for the career type by metro area, for Virginia. A table below the map shows job popularity and salaries across the state.

Metro Areas Rated for Popularity for:
Film And Video Editors

Listed below are metro areas ranked by the popularity of jobs for Film And Video Editors relative to the population of the city. Salary data was obtained from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

2016 Occupational Employment Statistics and 2014-24 Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS.gov; 2014-24 State Occupational Projections, Projections Central, projectionscentral.com

Metro Area
Jobs
Annual Median Salary
Richmond 60 $36,330

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