What Makes A Good Editor?


As a client you work with many different personalities in the production and post-production phases of a project. While the director and director of photography have a significant impact on the production, the editor will often be the one that molds the final look of a piece. The post- production phase is sometimes even longer than the shooting, so it is important that the editor and client not only see “eye-to-eye” but also feel that the experience was enjoyable.


Chemistry is very important. So, what are the marks of a “good” editor? I’ve boiled it down to a few points.




A good editor should be a good “people-person”. He or she should be able to adapt to many situations and be able to smooth the waters when a session gets tense. Though there may be creative differences, politeness should never be lost.




A good editor should be open to new ideas and various options suggested by the client. Most ideas are valid and should be given a fair chance. Knowledgeable editors can certainly help the client decide what is the best alternative – but it is always that client’s final choice and a good editor won’t have a problem with this.




A good editor is fast. This doesn’t necessarily mean that he or she is the speediest person on a keyboard, but rather, that the overall session time progresses quickly and the editor doesn’t get bogged down in one or two single aspects or the project.


Knows the gear


A good editor knows the equipment in the room inside and out. This means they know the capabilities and options and don’t have to think about what to do when something is asked for. By knowing the keystrokes like a typist or pianist, a good editor can pay better attention to details, quality control and creative ideas offered during the session.




Though creativity isn’t essential, good editors will generally have a few creative suggestions that can be “added to the pot”. These often come from past techniques tried on other session or from ideas that evolve during a session. A good editor will be happy to offer these as part of the session – or not – depending on the feeling of the client!


© 2008 Oliver Peters