9 Questions To Help You Choose The Best Video Editor

How To Choose The Best Video Editor

When creating your eLearning course there often comes a time when you have to outsource video editing. Unfortunately, finding the right video editor can be a daunting task.

I’ve been working as a video creation specialist for over 15 years. In this time, I’ve had many new clients come to me after having encountered countless issues working with previous video editors.

What kind of issues?

I'll highlight some common issues below, using two of my clients as an example.

  • Client 1 - One of the largest publishers of online video courses.
    • They were outsourcing most of their video creation to multiple video editors.
    • They didn’t have consistent and on-time delivery of the videos.
    • The quality of the videos varied dramatically between video editors.
    • They found it difficult to review and give notes on the videos.
    • The video editors were often unresponsive and had bad communication with the client.
    • They needed multiple team members to manage the various video editors.
  • Client 2 - A YouTube wellness video producer.
    • They didn’t have a well defined budget.
    • They didn't know what deliverables to expect.
    • They experienced constant delays and missed deadlines.
    • The quality of the delivered videos was subpar.
    • The video editor was unresponsive and didn’t communicate effectively.

These problems can be very frustrating, especially when you’re trying to stay within a budget and have a tight deadline.

So how do you choose the best video editor that delivers on-time and on-budget without giving you a huge headache?

If you ask these 9 simple questions to your video editor prospects, you’ll have the best chance of picking a winner that won’t let you down.

The 9 Questions To Choose The Best Video Editor

1. Can You Provide Relevant Work Samples?

This seems obvious, still surprisingly, a lot of people don’t ask to see relevant work. Just because an editor has made Facebook Promos doesn’t mean they’ll be able to deliver great quality eLearning course videos in a timely manner.

If they can’t provide relevant samples, you should at least send them a sample of a video you like. Remember, specifically ask your prospective video editors if they can create something similar, including similar video footage, still images, graphics, music, and voiceover.

2. Can You Provide Client Testimonials?

Any experienced video editor should be able to provide at least 3 raving client testimonials. Nowadays, it’s so simple to gather client feedback and display it on a website or LinkedIn profile. Be weary, if you don't see these.

3. Can You Give Me A Specific Budget Breakdown?  

Creating video involves combining many elements into a finished product. All these elements have costs and varying quality levels. These costs should be specified, up front, so that you’re not left with a surprise bill at the end of the project.

Some elements to ask about, does the budget include:

  • Scripting?
  • Royalty free video footage and still images?
  • Bespoke graphics or motion graphics?
  • Music?
  • Voice Over?
  • Publishing the videos?

Lastly, it’s important to have clear payment terms. The industry standard is 50% up front and the rest upon completion of the project.

4. Can You Advise Me On The Filming Process?

This is a crucial but often overlooked question. The more your video editor knows about your shoot, the better prepared they’ll be to work quickly and efficiently.

Don’t be afraid to ask for guidance on video formats, green screen lighting, and audio recording tips.

Remember, your video editor should have extensive experience in this area. Their knowledge can save you time and money. Most importantly, it will help the editing process flow more smoothly and without any technical hitches.

5. Can We Set A Solid Deadline?

Deadlines are extremely important for video editing projects and any great editor will demand to work towards a specific completion date. Be weary of editors that shy away from deadlines!

Deadlines aren’t just for your editor. Ensure that your video review periods are also scheduled and that you stick to these review periods.

If you have 48 hours to give feedback, then do so. Any delay from you will have a knock on effect on the whole project schedule and it will give your video editor the perfect excuse to deliver late.

Lastly, any great editor will give you regular progress reports so that you know exactly what stage the project is at.

6. How Does The Video Review Process Work? 

Reviewing your videos and giving feedback is the most important step in video creation. Great video editors should make this phase as seamless and easy as possible.

Questions to ask:

  • How will they share the draft videos with you?
  • How are you expected to provide notes?

Traditionally, video editing feedback is given in written form and using timecodes to specify the point in the video that you are referencing.

Although effective, this system is time-consuming and can sometimes lead to misunderstandings since you are using words to describe a moving image.

In order to avoid this problem, my team uses a video collaboration platform called Frame.io. This platform has transformed the way we work with clients. It makes it super easy to share the videos and it helps our clients give us feedback in an intuitive way. This platform largely eliminates misunderstanding and helps our video editing team work faster and more efficiently.

Lastly, ask how many revisions are included in the fee. 3 revisions is standard before incurring further charges. Make sure to have this in writing!

7. What Videos Will You Deliver?

Ensure that the final delivery assets are specified in the budget breakdown. Remember that final delivery assets can vary depending on where you’re publishing to - YouTube, Vimeo, an eLearning platform.

Even if you’re downsizing your videos to a lower quality for publishing, ensure that your video editor gives you full resolution versions. These full-res versions will come in handy later on if you need to transcode them into different formats.

We usually deliver Quicktime H.264 files at 20Mbs data rate. These files can be easily transcoded to other formats without losing too much picture and audio quality.

8. How Long Do You Store My Raw Footage?

Just because the video editing project is completed doesn’t mean you won’t need to re-edit parts of it further down the line.

Long-term footage storage can be expensive, but at a minimum, you should request that your editor gives you the video editing project files. You should store these along with the raw footage on your own system.

Great editors should also store and backup the footage on their own systems, if only for a short time.

For example, my team stores the raw footage for 90 days after project completion and we also backup the project files indefinitely.

9. Do You Offer Video Publishing Assistance?

Most great video editors should include this assistance.

Why is this important? Because, if you are like many of our clients, you underestimate the amount of work involved in publishing. Even uploading videos to a relatively simple platform like YouTube requires multiple steps to complete.

You need to upload the videos in a format that is optimized for quality, write a title and a description for the video, choose an engaging thumbnail, and create tags so that the video is easily searchable. Great video editors will have extensive experience with this. Remember, they can do in 5 minutes what would normally take you an hour to do. Take advantage of their expertise!

Final Word

I hope you found this article insightful and will ask these questions next time you’re looking for the best video editor.

If you have any questions or would like some video related advice, please drop me a comment below.