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Film Editing vs Video Editing

What’s the difference?

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by Shiny in Essential Knowledge
analogue-film-roll

What’s the difference between a film editor and a video editor? Which do you consider yourself and how have you made that choice? More importantly, why did you choose that distinction?

 

video-editor-using-imac-davinci

 

 

The more editors that you speak to you realise that there is a kind of divide between the two types of editors. Imagine these two scenarios;

 

SCENARIO 1

You: What do you do for a living?
Editor: I’m a video editor.
You: Ah, cool. You edit films?
Editor: Yeah.

 

SCENARIO 2

You: What do you do for a living?
Editor: I’m a film editor.
You: Ah, cool. You edit videos?
Editor: No, I edit films.

 

You notice the difference? The video editor couldn’t care less whether you call the videos they create videos or films. Why is it that film editors are offended by the idea of being considered a video editor?

Let’s take a look at the differences between film editor vs video editor and finally try to set some kind of definition.

 

 

 

 

WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF A FILM?

According to the Oxford Dictionary a film is:

A story or event recorded by a camera as a set of moving images and shown in a cinema or on television.

Therefore we could say that a film editor edits films that are to be shown in cinema or television. But Reality TV and News is shown on television and there’s no way they can be considered films. So what other definitions can we make?

 

 

roll-of-red-film

 

 

 

WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF VIDEO?

The Oxford Dictionary says a video is:

A recording of moving visual images made digitally or on videotape.

Well, nearly every feature film is recorded digitally, and some social media videos are recorded on physical film before being digitally converted, so this definition is no help to us.

 

 

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WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN VIDEO EDITING AND FILM EDITING?

Video editorFilm editor
Do they edit with digital footage?YesYes
Do they edit with physical film?NoNo
Do they use Avid, Premiere Pro, Resolve and FCPX?YesYes
Do they call the final export a film?YesYes
Do they call the final export a video?YesNo
Do they edit films?YesYes
Do they edit videos?YesNo

 

There is no official distinction between a video editor and a film editor, because everybody has their own definition, but the table above shows you that film editors edit films, and video editors edit videos AND films.

Documentary editors edit for cinema and television, but their work is also shown online across social channels. I primarily edit documentaries and I consider myself a video editor. Most documentaries are not specifically created for cinematic release.

 

 

different-types-of-video-editing

 

 

It seems that film editors edit scripted feature films and short films, everything else is video editing.

Therefore I think we can come to the conclusion that:

 

If it’s not scripted, it’s video editing.

 

 

Now I’ve definitely ruffled a few feathers here. Some editors who self identify as film editors will be livid that they are not actually considered film editors. But why? Video editing is an incredible art form that has the ability to change the world in a way that films can’t.

 

Being a video editor is great. We edit videos, not movies. We don’t spend months working on one project for it to be seen by a room of people. Our videos have the potential to reach tens of millions in at the click of a button. We make videos in days or weeks, not months.  Our videos make a difference to the world we live in. We bring joy, peace, wisdom, escape. And we do it every day. We are proud to be video editors. And we’re proud to have you as one of us.

 

 

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