Humans are truly extraordinary. We survived the Ice Age, invented french fries, and overall we keep solving old problems by creating new ones. The filmmaking industry is no exception. We might even argue the possibility of capturing a moment, editing it, enhancing, and sharing with others gives moviemakers the occasion to train their expression muscles, slowly and gradually becoming true to themselves through their performance. We notice that you connect Wes Anderson’s personal flair to his movie work or how Martin Scorsese’s style of speech relates to his characters.
To support our research, we started with what we actually knew and came up with 5 widely recognized types of video editors. If you’ve been editing for a while, you’ve probably encountered them in the wild nature of video montage. Most specimens combine two types at the same time. Can you recognize yours?
1️. The Magician
It’s all just happening – the beats of music match every cut; after deleting a few sections, the elements magically connect and form a story; all the needed plugins are found within a second. Probably we all have been there a few times. We call it the “lucky moments,” but some of us may measure it in days and even months. It is actually a rare species of the video editor that is difficult to find in nature. Probably they have a magic spell or potion behind all these tricks, but for now, the secret of their talent is unknown.
2️. The Technician
This type is the only one able to fix the problem you have created for yourself while clicking every button in despair. Technicians actually KNOW what they do. They have watched every tutorial, know all the updates, they read every technical description. Usually, technicians are the people who answer every technical question on the forums – they know every key combination, every way to solve the most difficult errors. Their weakness, however, is that they forget about storytelling while often making great editing, focusing on creating impressive effects.
3️. The Organizer
This type is the rarest. The organizer has everything in neatly named clips, with assigned roles and colors, tucked away in separate sections. But not so fast; the organizer starts editing only after carefully exporting files from SD cards to 6 or more strategically planned folders, each for a different video category, and properly renaming all files. “Asdf-final-ok” is not a good enough project name for the organizer. But it's not sheer pedantry; organizers truly enjoy discipline and order. They are invincible in the battle of video editing, and the key to success is simple — they have backups for all and everything. They are fully prepared. However, this sword is double-edged — when something is not going their way, they may be startled by chaos and begin to panic.
4️. The Illustrator
Lower thirds, LUTs, glitches, transitions, and 3D elements — all in one video. The illustrator loves effects, has a vast library of different products, and knows how to use them. Probably, this type has an account on motionvfx.com, spending his budget on the latest top-notch effects and having a collection of the most impressive presets. Editors of this type are willing to captivate the attention even of a 5-year-old.
5️. The Artist
For this type, technical skills are not as valuable as telling a story. People often use words such as “unnerving,” “riveting,” and “mesmerizing” to describe their edits. They will find a way to combine the incompatible, make a cut in the most unexpected place, and use J Cut and L Cut in the way to make the viewer “wow.” Maybe they don’t know which exact instruments are used to create a piece of art, but they instinctively know how to create a piece of art that matters.
A general rule applies to every type: they all love their craft and are always on the lookout for details that might improve the edit. A word of advice regarding artists and organizers: be soft and understanding when you approach them, as they tend to be protective of their work and process.
Our investigation might have missed some editor types, so we are looking forward to your opinions about possible gaps in our inquiry. Share your type in the comments and let us know about its peculiarities. It may help a poor non-editor soul who is to work with those strange yet fascinating beasts.