I Would Love To Start Video Editing For A Living

Viewing 6 reply threads
  • Author
    • #54007

      Hi Everyone,
      I love to video edit and I would love to start doing it for a living. But doing it to make money is kind of a new area for me. So I have a few questions.  One is, what is the typical going rate for a video edited DVD? And the other question yes, when do I have to start worrying about copyright laws? I don't plan on taking videos or photos, myself, as a disability prevents me from doing so. It is only the video editing that I would love to start a business with. If you are carious to see my work, you can check out my latest video that I did for my sister's ministry. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aK0b7Vl2AjM. I also have a few more posted on youtube. Like I said, I really love doing this and would love to get paid for doing it, I'm just not sure about a few legalities. I hope that someone can take the time to answer my questions. Thanks everyone.

    • #205984

      fish4aking, I checked out you linked video and I was quite impressed with you skills. So keep up the good work. As for doing editing for pay, that becomes a challenge as is starting any new business. Without getting into the complex world of starting and operating a successful business, be prepared to make an investment in order to get your services known and desired. It might be more of a time investment than a cash investment, but you may need to spend some money for training and editing hardware & software.


      I think the question is what is your time worth? Most small businesses spend about 2/3rds of their time acquiring and administering business and 1/3rd of the time actually doing the work. This is opposite of what most people want to do. They want to spend most of their time doing what they enjoy and the least amount of time on the real work of running a business.


      It is difficult to answer your specific question, because there is such a wide range of projects requiring an edited DVD. Let's work through the math to see what you will need to charge for your services. Assume you want to make $50,000.00 in annual income. Based on my formula, you will be able to bill for @ 14 hours of editing work a week. $50,000.00/ 52 weeks = $961/ week in billings.

      $961/14 billable hours = $69.00/ hour. Interestingly, I think that is a fairly good number for editing in the market place. It probably represents a more sophisticted skill set that what you demonstrated, but I think it's a good target. You can change the numers in my forula any way you want depending on whether you want to make more or less in annual income. Ideally you find and administer work easier than the 66% load I mention.


      As for copyright, since you are editing only for your clients, it is your clients issue on copyright. Just make sure your contract makes that clear, and you should have a contract for all your work.


      I think you can start part time by advertising your work to any group your can. Get some more sample work and show people what you can do. I think that good work + fair cost = success. Kepp it up.  

    • #205997

      Thank you very much for your help. I deffenitly can't afford to do it full-time, but I would love to do it as a side business. Thanks for the clearification on a few things and also for the compliments.

    • #206007

      HHi like what I saw on utube keep going sure you can start a business even if only part time to begin with. Like the transitions what editing software are you using?.


    • #206013

      You might also post your service on fiverr.com ( which is a small job board website), I know someone who has had some success getting jobs there.

    • #206092

      Elance is a good place to find freelance jobs for editors.  I would sign up with them (it's free to sign up).  There is definitely a market for editing alone.  People have lots of old home videos, old wedding videos, graduations, birthday parties, etc that they want turned into a cool video.  One thing you might look into is converting VHS to DVD.  I have been asked several times about doing this for people, so I think that is something else, if you could offer it, that would be good to include in your service.


      Like John said, what you charge largly depends on your skill level and what you believe your time is worth.  People charge as low as $20 an hour to over $150 an hour for editing, so it just depends.  I do agree that $70 price point is not a bad starting point. 


      Are you making your own graphics, such as the ones used in that ministry video, or are you getting those from a third party site, like Videoblocks? 


      As far as when to worry about copyright – you ALWAYS have to worry about it.  Most of that is common sense though.  Don't use 'popular' copyrighted music for anything.  There is a lot of royalty free music out there you can use for your projects.  If you really want a 'popular' song, check out songfreedom.com.  They have a selection of certain songs that you might be able to use legally for a small cost. 


      Also, when getting video from someone, make sure you have permission to use it.  If you are looking for video footage from a third party, use sites that offer royalty free video.  It will cost you a little, but they are not very expensive and worth it to stay legal.  Don't steal any footage straight off the TV or a movie….ever.  This can just get you in trouble.  Chances are noone will ever find out, but the athorities have been cracking down on copyright infringement when it comes to video production people, so I wouldn't take the chance. 




    • #206120

      I've been editing for a living for about 25 years and have owned my own shop for about 15.  We do a mix of local, regional and national work.  It's everything from local car spots to spots that you've seen on ABC, NBC, etc.  All that to say, I'm old, crotchety and sorta know what I'm talking about. πŸ™‚

      More and more, being an editor means that you cut picture, design logos, create motion graphics, mix audio, color correct, create type layouts, read minds, predict the future and contol the tides.  Making that jump to full time pro work is a HUGE investment in time.  Editing isn't 9-5.  Especially in your early years, expect to put in about 80 hours a week to edit, meet with potential clients, handle billing, backup files, etc.  It's a tough grind.  Also be thinking about what level you want to play at.  If you want to do high-end work, recognize that there are some sofware packages out there like Flame and Maya that take 12+ months to learn and really know inside and out and even then, you are always still learning. It's a competetive business and while budgets keep getting smaller, demands keep increasing.  Be sure that you can handle the rejection of working on a project for several weeks for 15 hours a day and the client saying they hate it and you need to start again. 


      Hear me, I'm not trying to discourage you but want you to enter in with eyes wide open.  It's a great field that has treated me well but there are easier ways to make a buck and to serve the kingdom.  πŸ™‚


      As for rates, that all depends on your market and skill level.  We charge $225/hr for FCP/AE and $450/hr for Flame/Smoke.  


Viewing 6 reply threads
  • The forum ‘Video and Film Discussion’ is closed to new topics and replies.

Best Products

Best After Effects and motion graphics template sites – 2021

You have the tools needed to create stunning motion graphics, but do you have the time? If not, using motion graphics templates can be a great way to add polish to a production without blowing your deadline.

Need help making a stellar first video?


Download our free eBook with 8 tips to get on the right track and create a video that you can be proud of.




Given away to one lucky winner

Competition is open worldwide