By Jonathan Santiago
Video editing is a craft, and as such, it requires high attention to detail as well as plenty of patience. If you don’t enjoy scrubbing and trimming through hours of footage, editing can be a huge pain.
At the same time, it’s a part of the video-production process that you can’t ignore. Without quality editing, your content can’t come to life.
Luckily, it’s the one part of the process that you can hand over to somebody else. But if you’re a solo content creator, you probably can’t afford a full-time editor. And if you’re a small business or production house, local freelancers can cost you an arm and a leg.
There is, though, one solution that’s affordable and won’t sacrifice the quality of your videos.
Outsourcing video editing services.
In this article, we’ll cover what content creators and small businesses need to know about how to find a good video editor. We’ve broken it down into the five critical parts you must keep in mind:
- Defining Your Scope of Work
- Where to Find Candidates
- Assessing Your Candidates
Want to skip this whole process and get your videos edited sooner rather than later? Get $100 off your first month. You can try Video Husky risk-free for 14-days.Learn more
Defining Your Scope of Work
Before you hire someone, it’s important to envision what success looks like. Is receiving a finished video all you care about? Or, do you want to build an on-going relationship with an editor?
For one-off projects, defining success based on pure output is fine. But if you need fresh content on a regular basis, don’t overlook the value of developing rapport. Having chemistry with your editor can lead to less time spent on making revisions.
Once you’ve decided your preference, you can then begin to define your scope of work. To do so, take into account the following factors:
Purpose: What’s the outcome you seek to achieve when someone watches your video? Usually it’s to entertain, educate, sell, or a combination of all three.
Length: Do you need short-form or long-form content? The longer the video, the longer it may take to receive a finished edit.
Audience: Who are you trying to reach and engage?
Turnaround Time: How soon do you need your project completed?
Budget: What can you afford? Keep in mind there may be other expenses beyond your editor’s time that you might have to cover.
Where to Find Your Next Video Editor
With the criteria of your editing needs in place, you can move onto the next phase of the process…
Sourcing your candidates
This is the part of the process that may take up most of your time. But lucky for you, the internet has a treasure trove of resources for finding good editors. Below are four options you can turn to in your search:
Upwork is the world’s largest freelance marketplace with over 12 million workers. You can set up an account for free, but there’s a 3% processing fee on all payments.
Fiverr started as a place for people to buy and sell digital services, like video editing, for $5. Like Upwork, it’s free to sign up, but there are service fees – $2 for purchases $40 or lower, and 5% on anything more than $40.
Online Jobs PH
Online Jobs PH connects you to skilled workers from the Philippines. Browsing its database is free. But to hire, you have to sign up for a monthly subscription, which starts at $69.
Aside from marketplaces, online communities are also great places to find talented editors. At Video Husky, we’ve recruited plenty of people from several private Facebook groups.
There are skilled video editors in countries all over the world. Regions with capable talent include the Philippines, Eastern Europe, and parts of Latin America. You’ll find editors in those places comparable to what you’d find in the United States.
The main difference? You’ll oftentimes pay up to or around 50% less in rates.
Assessing Your Candidates
If you outsource editing to someone in the U.S., you won’t have to worry about this. But in the event that you work with someone overseas, assessing a candidate’s grasp of English is a must.
Try testing your candidates’ ability to write. One way to do this is by asking them to write about themselves and their experience in their application. The exercise doesn’t have to be long (a 3-4 paragraph summary will do). Asking them to submit a video recording sharing their insights can work, too.
Skill and talent alone aren’t enough to be a good editor. If yours doesn’t have the right hardware, she may have a hard time getting the job done.
With that in mind, find out if your candidate has a computer that’s powerful enough to handle the workload. Ask about her operating system, video card, hard drive capacity, and internet speed.
At Video Husky, we often ask prospective editors to send us screenshots of these details. For benchmarks of system requirements and tools, here’s what we prefer:
- Processor: Intel i5-6th generation or newer or a comparable AMD chip
- RAM: 16 GB
- Video Card: 4GB of GPU VRAM
- Operating System: Windows 10 or Mac equal
- Internet Speed: At least 25 MBPS
- Editing Software: Adobe Premiere
Skills and Experience
During your search, you’ll encounter plenty of talented editors at different career stages. The candidate you’ll hire depends on your expectations and needs. You can split your potential hires based on the following levels of experience:
Entry: This person may lack deep technical knowledge. But she likely has the work ethic and desire to improve. At the very least, an entry-level editor has a sense of what to include or cut out of a video.
Intermediate: Someone at this stage has studied and experimented with different editing techniques. But he’s likely missing some real-world experience. He’s reached a point where he’s ready to test his new abilities with actual projects.
Advanced: An editor at this level has an exhaustive library of past work. She’s also capable of relevant techniques such as motion graphics or sound design. In fact, an advanced editor likely specializes in one or more of these areas.
Senior: Someone with this experience needs very little instruction to edit your project. A sample video is the only reference and direction she might need. A senior editor may also serve as a consultant, offering advice on how your content can improve.
Previous Work and Test Project
Always ask candidates to share their reel with you. Regardless of their experience, they should be able to show you any kind of work they’ve done in the past. You can learn a lot about an editor’s capability and skill by watching the videos they’ve done before.
To round out your screening process, ask candidates to complete a paid, test project. Provide limited details if your goal is to find someone who’s either advanced or senior. Try the opposite if you’re willing to hire someone with less experience.
Your test should be hard enough that it challenges their talent. But at the same time, it should be simple enough for your candidates to finish under a short deadline. After they submit, review their test project with these factors in mind:
- How close the final cut came to your ideal style and aesthetic.
- How branding fit into the video. That includes elements such as music and graphics.
- What footage they included or decided to cut.
Paying Your Editor
Once you’ve decided who you’ll hire, the next step is to coordinate payment. When outsourcing, there are two kinds of pay arrangements that can work: an hourly or fixed rate. Keep in mind that there are other costs beyond labor you may need to cover, too.
In this structure, you pay for an editor’s time. You can ask your editor to track their hours on his own. Or, you can request him to use software that monitors him while he works.
The main benefit of this kind of arrangement is that you’re only paying him when he works. This can also be valuable in the event you need to change or cancel a project at the last minute. You aren’t responsible for any further charges.
The downside, though, is that projects may take longer. An hourly rate doesn’t incentivize an editor to finish sooner rather than later. That’s because the more he works, the more he earns. Unless you set a cap on his hours, there’s a greater chance at going over-budget.
In this arrangement, you pay an editor for what she can produce. A fixed rate agreement is ideal if you have a strict budget in mind. It’s often negotiated as either day, monthly, or flat project rates.
Unlike an hourly rate, an editor working based on a fixed rate has more incentive to be efficient. She earns the same amount no matter how long it takes for her to finish.
But the downside in fixed rates is that you have less flexibility. If you have to redefine your scope of work, you may need to renegotiate your editor’s pay.
Other Costs to Consider
Aside from labor, always discuss any other relevant expenses with your editor. Find out if your editor includes access to certain assets and tools within his rates. Some extra expenses you may need to pay for and source yourself are:
- Stock video and music footage
- Thumbnail design
- Project management software
- Video proofing software
- Cloud storage
Finalizing Payment with a Contract
Don’t overlook this part of the outsourcing process (because most people do). Once you’ve deliberated the details of payment with your editor, the next step is to put it in writing. Include specifics like:
- Payment terms
- Work expectations (We cover this in more detail in the section below on workflow)
If you’re hiring someone through Upwork or Fiverr, those platforms have built-in contract systems. They let you fulfill payment, too.
For those of you outsourcing by other means, you can rely on an application like Deel (we use it here at Video Husky). It enables employers like you to comply with your editor’s local labor laws. Deel also empowers you to pay your editor by ACH, wire transfer, PayPal, or credit card.
Managing Your Editor’s Workflow
To get the most out of your editor, it pays to have a system in place. Before starting on your first project together, consider your editor’s workflow. Below are five key ingredients that constitute a solid structure:
How will you and your editor communicate about pending projects? If you’re not using a freelancer marketplace like Upwork, you could email each other. But doing so often adds more clutter to an already cluttered inbox.
Instead, consider corresponding with each other through project management software instead. From Jira to Asana, there are plenty of solid options of which you can choose. But for video editing in particular, consider trying Wipster, Frame.io, or Wrike. All work well thanks to integrations with video editing software like Adobe Premiere.
At Video Husky, we use Wrike. For reference, here’s a video that demonstrates our workflow.
File Transfer and Proxies
You’ll also need to set up cloud folders for sharing video files and other assets with your editor. If they’re 100 GB or less, cloud storage like Dropbox, Google Drive, or WeTransfer will work fine.
But if your files are larger than that, you’ll also need to make proxies. For reference, proxies are lower-quality versions of your high-quality footage. They’re often used in the case of editing 4K video, which takes up about 2 GB of space for every minute of footage.
Proxy files prevent your editor’s computer from bogging down during the editing process. Because they’re smaller in size, they take less time to upload and download. As a result, your editor can turn around videos at a much faster rate.
Setting Work Expectations
When will your editor work? How long will your editor have to finish a project before it’s due? It’s important to have a clear idea of how you expect your editor to manage her time.
Discuss deadlines. Talk with your editor about anticipated delivery of first cuts and revisions. Come to an agreement her work hours – will she work during her time zone or yours?
Finally, consider how responsive you’d like your editor to be when you offer feedback. And in the event of an emergency, think about establishing a second point of contact between the both of you.
Submitting Editing Requests
The next phase of your editor’s workflow to consider is how he’ll manage your requests. To ensure he’s successful, it’s valuable to include the following details:
Project Type: Are you a YouTuber creating a vlog for your channel? Or, are you a marketing agency producing ads for your clients? Give your editor a point of reference before he begins his work.
Outline: Provide a thorough overview of what you envision your video to be. Think of this like a script for a movie.
Examples: Provide your editor with inspiration by sharing links to similar content. Doing so helps your editor understand your preferred aesthetics, style, and mood.
Target Audience: Always include who your video is for in your editing request.Aside from content-related details, include technical specifications, too. In your request, share information on the following factors:
File Format: It’s best to ask for exports as either MOV or MP4 files. Both formats are compatible for viewing on Mac and Windows computers.
Target Video Length: Give your editor an estimated running time for the final cut of your video. If you’d prefer not to, clarify that you’re leaving this up to his discretion.
Resolution Exports: Horizontal (16:9) is typical for viewing on a standard monitor or TV screen. Vertical (9:16) is for cell phone watching in mind. Finally, there’s square (1:1), which is often associated with Instagram or Facebook viewing. Choose a format that best suits your content’s distribution.
Asking for Revisions and Closing Out Projects
It’s safe to assume that your editor’s first cut will need some revisions. In the following rounds of revision, be very specific about what needs to change. Using one of the video proofing tools we discussed earlier can simplify the dialogue.
When you’re happy with the results, have a clearly defined action that signifies the end of each project. One way might be to confirm you’ve downloaded the final cut that your editor sent. Another might be to have your editor upload the video to your YouTube or Vimeo accounts.
The Case for a Simpler, Outsourcing Alternative
The procedure we cover in this article requires plenty of patience. It may take around 2 to 4 weeks before your editor even begins his first project. To recap, the timeline below is what you can expect:
Week 1: Define and draft your scope of work. Next, choose where you’ll source your candidates, then share your job posting.
Week 2: Sort and review applications. Schedule and conduct interviews/tests.
Week 3: Assess candidates, negotiate payment, and make your hire.
Week 4: Start your editing project.
Handling it yourself can be costly, too. Remember, there are extra expenses, such as test jobs, that you’ll have to consider as well which can cost hundreds of dollars.
There is, though, another way.
At Video Husky, we pair you with an editor we’ve vetted ourselves who matches your style and needs. You’ll also get an account executive who you can speak to at any time and helps oversee the entire editing process.
We also simplify the workflow between you and your editing team. Your subscription includes access to best-in-class software that makes communication easy. Pricing also includes no surprise charges, either. You won’t find yourself paying for unnecessary revisions.
Jonathan Santiago oversees content at Video Husky. Learn more about him by visiting his personal website.
Are you overwhelmed by the editing process? Video Husky can help! Get $100 off your first month and try us risk-free for 14 days.Learn more