Top 10 2.png

I was asked what the top 10 things one should know as an editor and this was my response.  A written list is below.

Top Ten Artistic Editor Characteristics

Top Ten Artistic Editor Characteristics

 Top Ten Artistic Editor Characteristics
Search video...


Play Video
Art List 1

Art List 1

Play Video
V 101Art2

V 101Art2

Play Video


  1. Know your footage before you start.

  2. Know the audience you are editing for.

  3. Know the basic rules and why they are rules and when it’s good to break them.

  4. Make sure every shot and anything you do in your edit has motivation behind it.  Why are you showing this shot now? The motivation can be as simple as “this what the narrator is talking about…” or the pace of the piece at this point calls for another shot. There can be many reasons to make an edit… including a whole scale of “I don’t have the shot I need… so what’s the best bad decision I can make?”

  5. Start with music. While not every edit will have music as an important element, I see two general camps. 1] Edit and then lay in any piece of music. 2] Use music as a base motivation. I tend to be #2 about 99% of the time because music will always help you feel what you should be seeing - and therefore make the communication better.

  6. Serve your message… not the “effect of the week”… sometimes you might need to do that… but as mentioned in another response cuts and dissolves solve 99.9% of any problems.

  7. Be responsible for your result.

  8. Work well with people. Television and video are generally team sports.

  9. Care more about the project than anyone else.

  10. Use your heart.​

Widget Didn’t Load
Check your internet and refresh this page.
If that doesn’t work, contact us.


  1. Understand basic computer workings. processor, RAM, hard drive storage, basic interfaces like USB 2 or 3 or C. eSata, thunderbolt etc. RAIDS.

  2. Understand video basics, frame size, resolution, codecs, etc.

  3. It would be good to understand the basic principles of sound and sound mixing.  Do you understand you usually have at least 2 audio channels? and they could be stereo or dual mono. Understanding panning and EQ are also good things.

  4. Finding and using music. Do you have an ear? Do you know basics about music as in the difference between 3/4 and 4/4 time? Do you know what different instruments sound like and different genres of music?

  5. Choose a software and learn it. Many share the same principles, bins, timelines, program and preview viewers, effect controls, audio mixers, etc. If you want to be a pro, invest in ADOBE or AVID or many others that are industry standards. If you want free, then don’t expect it to have everything you may want.

  6. Organize your projects.

  7. Organize them the same way from project to project. Use bins and windows to help you be able to find things quickly.

  8. Organize your computer so you can go back and find all your files 12 months later when the client wants an update.

  9. Have at least 1 good monitor that you trust to give you an accurate look at your master program. It’s better if all your monitors are great, but being realistic, only the one your program plays back on has to be premo… bins and timelines [sequences] don’t have to have great monitors. A good monitor can cost $500 to $3,500+.

  10. Be willing to put in a lot of time to learn everything you should if you want to be a pro.


Basic Rules of Editing

Understand that these rules are all developed around how transitions look between pictures. They were founded at the beginning of editing to give the viewer a "smooth" for lack of better word experience. They are rules for getting out of your edit what you want at the end, and understanding the rules allows you to brake them because as each has a reason for being a rule, the reason is the effect they cause, so breaking that rule would most likely cause the opposite effect.

Best Editing Software

Technology changes all the time. There are always new players coming into the business. So how do you even think there is a best? I know we all seems to be driven by what's the best car, house, wine? But as you think of it, it is all judgement and the question can be further defined by what are people using and why?

I'll post a video response to this question but there are 3 large players in the video editing business. There is really one player in the video effects business - although that doesn't mean there is only one that's useful or best.

In editing you are looking at Adobe, AVID, and Apple Final Cut X. Those three account for more users that all the others combined. Chances are if you were an expert in any of this software you could find clients who would use you. If you are not interested or worried about playing with others, then there are lot of alternatives that have very passionate fans. Black Magic Resolve 16, Blender, Lightworks, Hitfilm Express Vegas and many, many others. Once the mystery behind making a basic video editing program work well was uncovered, it seems there are many players appearing.

The top 3 are the top three in a large part because they were able to establish themselves before everyone else found out how to do it.

AVID is a real pioneer in the non linear editing ranks. There were others, but AVID had the right combination of money, engineers and luck to survive all of the ups and downs the non linear market suffered until computer technology finally allowed it to flourish. We don't even call editors non-linear anymore, but there was about 20 years where there was quite a distinction.

Apple created Final Cut because AVID ported the code to windows, whereas it had been a Mac only program up to that time. there are many other nuggets of history in the story, but those are for another post. Apple bought the team that would create Final Cut and over the course of the next 3 to 5 years Final Cut became the 800lb gorilla in the editing world. Only to see Apple walk away from the market they had created. Walk away? What about FCPX? Well yes, there is that and Apple still has millions of users, but they left a lot of professionals like myself hanging out there in the wind with the change to X.

Adobe made their mark in Photoshop and post script fonts. PDF's. Another company created After Effects [COSA] and it was originally designed for effects to stills... kind of a photoshop for video. Adobe also had early versions of Premiere... I bought one thinking maybe this would take me from linear to nonlinear... but alas it did not. "Premiere Real Time" was close but no cigar for me. When Apple went to X millions of editors like myself went looking for a replacement and Adobe was the easiest and I was already using AE and Photoshop and Illustrator, so it wasn't even hard to sell... but I and millions of others continued using FCP7 for another 3 to 5 years because it simply was a great program that worked day in and out. But Adobe already had an in, and the cash to invests a lot of money in bringing Premiere up to date.

Sp whether it's one of these companies products or HitFlim Express which is an up and comer, it's the editor - not the software that makes good edits. As long as you remember that you won't go wrong.

Computer requirements