video editor

Video Editor: How To Be Creative (And Still Follow the Rules)

admin Business, Digital Content, Integration, Media, Video Leave a Comment

Sometimes all a video editor needs to do is follow the rules. A creative video editor can still work within rules while adding his or her own flair. A client can hand off all the media assets the editor needs and just give the editor a play-by-play log of the parts they want to use. This may seem pretty dry. However, you can still add your own accoutrements – like the word “accoutrements.” Let’s cover a few basics that can work for both you and your clients.

A regional leader in African safari planning hired us to edit several videos from several years of video assets. The client, having shot much of the footage himself, personally combed through the footage. The result was simple: a list of clearly labeled clips (mostly in order) with time codes attached. My job was to create a coherent storyline using these clips. The client was so satisfied that he submitted one of these videos to the Adventure Travel Trade Association Adventure in Motion contest. Take a look:

Creative Video Editor Meets Client Rule-Maker

The client is always right…ish

When a client guides the editing process entirely, a video editor may feel relieved. The shots and soundbites are already selected, the sequence is clear and the theme is established. The background may also be in place. However, the combination of these elements can often end up being insufficient. For example, the length may not be suitable for the target audience.  Even if it looks like the client is right, you can’t count on them to be the actual editing expert.

  • Offer creative suggestions around music selection, sequence adjustment, shot duration, transition usage, title and logo placement, and motion graphics options.
  • Be flexible but be firm.
  • Use your expertise as a video editor to guide the client’s directives to a coherent end-product.
  • Do not simply go along with every nuance provided by the client. That said, do not sacrifice a paying client for the sake of being right.

Approach their ideas as a consultant

You may have the exact time codes of the exact clips in front of you. Technically, it will likely be a plug-and-play approach to these clips in your NLE. It’s tempting to assume that they have thought through everything about their video. However, do you know the purpose of the video? Ask them questions like:

  • Who is the target audience?
  • Where and how will the video be seen?
  • What is the overall tone of the video?
  • What will the video do for you (the client) and your audience? i.e. convert to sales, web traffic, email additions

These elements will allow you to make on-point creative decisions to fill in any gaps that may arise in the “follow the leader” process.

Speak to the client as a peer

The temptation may arise to stick your nose in the air as the actual video editor. Don’t go down that rabbit hole.  Speak to the client as someone who knows as much (or at least enough) about video editing as you and your peers, and look at how you can learn from the client. This kind of relationship is beneficial to both you and the client. The client will feel heard, and you may find a new way to be creative in your editing by learning something new.
How have you been able to bridge the gap between technician and creative with this kind of client? Share with other readers below.


Lynx | Digital Media Producers creates results-driven content and strategies to enhance your customer’s experience of your brand. Contact us today to see how we use our video editing expertise for your business.

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