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Common Interview Questions for a Video Editing Position

by Nathan McGinty

Video editors are the people tasked with taking raw footage and getting it ready for broadcast. Not too long ago, broadcast meant over the airwaves only. As bandwidth in homes and offices has increased, however, streaming and online video have exploded across the web, leading to an increased need for those skilled in video editing. When interviewing a candidate for an editing position, or being interviewed for a position, there are a few common bases that should be covered and questions that will be asked to make sure the right person is hired.

Software Platforms

The majority of video editing is done using video editing software. Some of the most popular programs for editing include the Adobe Creative Suite Package, Final Cut Pro and AVID. Final Cut Pro software runs on Mac platforms, while AVID and the Adobe Suite run on both Macs and PCs. A video editing house interviewing a candidate for an editor position will ask questions such as, "What was the favorite editing software you've used and why?" This type of question tests the candidate's knowledge of the platform as well as some of their workflow procedure. Some video houses may strictly use Final Cut, while others will only use Adobe and some a combination of the two. Depending on the production house and job position, some production houses may also want candidates interviewing for an editor position to be able to work with motion graphics programs, such as Adobe After Effects, or 3D software such as Maya or Blender.

Computer Hardware Knowledge

In addition to software platforms, a company looking to hire an editor also will ask questions about the candidate's level of knowledge of computer hardware and operating systems. Editing video on computers requires a vast amount of hard drive space. Keeping these drives in good working order sometimes falls to the editor, especially in a smaller editing firm or a company where there is only one editor. Questions about the candidate's familiarity with various types of drive storage, such as RAID arrays, network connections, and the location of cache memory and files for various programs posed during an interview will be a good test to see the depth of a potential editor's knowledge.

Previous Editing Experience

Before hiring an editor, a production house or editing company will naturally want to see some example's of the candidate's work. An editor serious about his career will prepare a "reel" before searching for work. These reels, usually between five to ten minutes long, are a collection of some of the best shots and sequences from an editor's work. Traditionally, reels were on videotape or DVDs, but many editors are finding it easier to put reels online and on streaming services such as Vimeo or YouTube.

Working Under Pressure

Editing a program, especially in the world of broadcast TV, is extremely time-sensitive. Programs have to be edited and then prepared for broadcast. A company looking to hire an editor should ask a potential editor about her commitment to a project and the amount of time she is willing to dedicate. Pressure during production periods can be very high. A question in this area might be along the lines of, "When was the last time you faced a high-pressure situation and how did you react?"

About the Author

Nathan McGinty started writing in 1995. He has a Bachelor of Science in communications from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Arts in international journalism from City University, London. He has worked in the technology industry for more than 20 years, in positions ranging from tech support to marketing.

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