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  • Writer's pictureDavid Bensman

How to Become a Freelance Video Editor

Becoming a video editor and entering the world of video editing can open doors to a flexible and rewarding freelance career, whether in Madison, Wisconsin, or anywhere else. This guide offers a concise roadmap, including examples, to help you kickstart your journey in post-production.

The need for skilled video editors with tools like Adobe Premiere and a knack for narrative is expanding. Video and post-production are rife with opportunities if you aspire to create intriguing commercials, cinematic marvels, or captivating web content.

Whether you dream of crafting compelling ads, cinematic wonders, or engaging online content, video production and post-production are ripe with possibilities.

The following article will explore essential skills, techniques, and strategies to guide you toward becoming a sought-after freelance video editor.

Whether you're a beginner or seeking to enhance your skills, this guide equips you to thrive in the ever-evolving world of video editing and post-production.

What is a Freelance Video Editor?

A freelance video editor is an individual who works independently on video editing projects for various clients or employers.

Instead of being employed by a single company or organization, freelance video editors operate as self-employed professionals, often working from home or their studio.

They are hired on a project-by-project basis and have the flexibility to choose their clients and work assignments.

What Does a Freelance Video Editor Do?

Here's what a freelance video editor typically does:

  • Video Editing: The primary role of a freelance video editor is to edit raw video footage into a polished, cohesive, and engaging final product. They use specialized video editing software like Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, or DaVinci Resolve to cut, trim, arrange, and enhance video clips.

  • Storytelling: Video editors play a crucial role in shaping the narrative of a video. They carefully curate the most captivating shots, thoughtfully arrange them, and skillfully incorporate transitions and effects to produce an engaging narrative that captivates the viewer.

  • Color Correction: Freelance video editors adjust video color and lighting to ensure consistency and visual appeal. They may also apply color grading techniques for a specific mood or style.

  • Audio Editing: Besides working with video, freelance video editors often handle audio elements. They synchronize audio tracks, add music or sound effects, and clean up audio to ensure clear and high-quality sound.

  • Graphics and Titles: Video editors incorporate graphics, text, and titles into videos to provide context, information, or branding. They may create or integrate these elements to enhance the video's visual appeal.

Which Skills are Required for Freelance Video Editing?

You must possess a diverse skill set to excel as a freelance video editor in video editing and post-production. Whether you're based in Madison, Wisconsin, or anywhere else, these skills are essential to thrive in video production.

  • Video Editing Software Proficiency: Being well-versed in software like Adobe Premiere is paramount. This tool is a cornerstone of post-production, and mastering it is crucial.

  • Video Formats and Codecs: Understanding various video formats and codecs ensures your projects are compatible and maintain high quality during post-production.

  • Editing Techniques: Proficiency in cutting, trimming, and rearranging clips is fundamental to a video editor. This skill is the foundation of the video editing process.

  • Transitions and Effects: Adding transitions and effects enhances the visual appeal of your videos during post-production, captivating your audience.

  • Audio Editing: Adjusting audio levels, synchronizing tracks, and cleaning up audio contribute to creating a seamless auditory experience in your productions.

How To Become a Freelance Video Editor?

Step 1: Learn the Basics

Mastering video editing basics is crucial for a successful freelance video editing career. You don't need to break the bank on expensive equipment. Begin by getting acquainted with popular software like Adobe Premiere Pro and grasp the essentials:


So you have a video clip of your friend's recent birthday party. You can start by cutting out unwanted parts or trimming the video to highlight the best moments. This basic skill is an essential part of video editing.

Step 2: Practice, Practice, Practice

The age-old saying "practice makes perfect" holds in video editing. Start honing your skills by editing your videos, those of friends, or your pet's playful moments. To expand your expertise, experiment with different types of videos, like vlogs, short films, or family videos.


Let's say you have a collection of travel videos. You can start by organizing them and editing a montage of your favorite vacation memories. This practical experience will improve your video editing skills.

Step 3: Build a Portfolio

In the freelance post-production industry, your portfolio is your introduction and representation. Create a collection of your best work to showcase to potential clients. Include various projects to demonstrate your style and abilities.


Suppose you've edited a short film for a local filmmaker or created engaging promotional videos for small businesses. These projects can be the core of your portfolio to exhibit your video editing prowess.

Step 4: Get the Right Equipment

While you don't need top-of-the-line gear, having the right equipment can significantly enhance efficiency. Invest in a decent computer with adequate RAM, a capable graphics card, and ample storage. A high-quality monitor is essential for accurate post-production work.


If your computer can handle 4K video editing, you'll be well-equipped to take on various projects, from high-resolution promotional videos to wedding videography.

Step 5: Networking

Building a network can open doors to potential clients and collaborations. Attend local events, participate in online video editing communities, and connect with fellow post-production enthusiasts. Use social media platforms to display your work and interact with potential clients.


Joining a local filmmakers' meetup in Madison, Wisconsin, can introduce you to indie filmmakers looking for talented video editors to enhance their projects.

Step 6: Freelance Platforms

Signing up on freelance websites like Upwork, Fiverr, or Freelancer can help you find clients. To showcase your abilities and experience, create a captivating profile. When bidding on projects, tailor your proposals to each job you apply for.


If a client on a freelance platform needs a product demonstration video for their Madison-based business, you can showcase your experience with local businesses in your proposal.

Step 7: Pricing Your Services

Determining your rates is a crucial aspect of freelancing as a video editor. Consider factors such as project complexity, time requirements, and your level of expertise when setting your prices. Strive to offer competitive rates while undervaluing your skills.


Suppose a client in Madison, Wisconsin, needs a promotional video for a local charity event. You can calculate your pricing for local nonprofits based on project length and complexity, considering any budget constraints they may have.

Step 8: Communication

Effective communication is the cornerstone of successful freelancing. Respond to client inquiries promptly, ask questions to clarify their needs, and keep them updated on the project's progress. Establishing clear communication builds trust with clients.


Imagine a client has requested revisions to a video you edit for their Madison-based restaurant. Acknowledging their request and discussing the changes can ensure a positive client relationship.

Step 9: Meet Deadlines

Meeting project deadlines is paramount to maintaining your reputation as a video editor. Ensure that you can complete projects within the agreed-upon timeframe. If unexpected delays arise, communicate with the client and work together to establish a new timeline.


Suppose you're editing a promotional video for a Madison-based music festival. Timely delivery of the video is crucial to their marketing efforts, so meeting the deadline is essential.

Step 10: Build Your Reputation

As you complete more projects, request feedback and reviews from your clients. Positive reviews can bolster your reputation as a reliable and skilled freelance video editor.


A glowing review from a client in Madison, Wisconsin, for whom you edited a series of educational videos, can serve as a testament to your expertise in the field.

Step 11: Expand Your Skills

The field of video editing continually evolves. Stay current with online courses and workshops. Expanding your skills can increase your marketability and versatility.


Learning about the latest color correction techniques can help you offer enhanced post-production services to clients, making your skills even more valuable.

Step 12: Taxes and Finances

Managing your taxes and finances is crucial as a freelancer. It is important to keep accurate records of your income and expenses when working as a freelance video editor. You should also allocate a portion of your earnings for taxes and seek advice from a tax professional to ensure compliance with regulations.


Suppose you've had a successful year as a freelance video editor in Madison, Wisconsin. Properly managing your finances can help you plan for taxes and savings for future business investments.


No matter where you live—in Madison, Wisconsin, or elsewhere—becoming a freelance video editor is a dream that can be achieved with commitment and effort. Build a strong portfolio by starting by learning the fundamentals.

Connect with others in the industry, market your services on freelance platforms, and price your work competitively. Effective communication, meeting deadlines, and cultivating a positive reputation are essential for success.

Continuously expanding your skills will keep you ahead of the curve in the dynamic field of video editing. Passion for post-production and commitment to learning are essential in adapting to the ever-changing video editing landscape, not elaborate vocabulary or power words. Best of luck on your journey to becoming a successful freelance video editor!

Frequently Asked Questions:

What skills are required to become a freelance video editor?

Essential skills for freelance video editing include proficiency in video editing software (e.g., Adobe Premiere), knowledge of video formats and codecs, storytelling abilities, attention to detail, time management, client communication, problem-solving, and continuous learning.

How can I start a career as a freelance video editor?

To start a freelance video editor career, begin by learning the basics of video editing, practicing your skills, and building a portfolio. Network with others in the industry, sign up on freelance platforms, and offer competitive service pricing.

Where can I find freelance video editing jobs?

You can find freelance video editing jobs online like Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer and through networking with clients and other professionals in your field.

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