By far one of the most time-consuming parts of being a one-person YouTuber is the editing process. Most seasoned video editors will tell you to expect anywhere from 5x to 10x the amount of time editing as you spent recording. That means that, in the worst cases, four hours of footage could take as much as thirty hours to edit.
That’s nearly a full time job for one weekly video!
Needless to say, many YouTubers, once they start making good money from their channel, decide it would be a worthwhile expense to hire an editor to take this particular time sink off of their plate.
But for newer YouTubers, there are a lot of questions surrounding using a YouTube video editor. Should you outsource video editing? How to hire a video editor? And so on. And we’re going try and answer those questions here!
Do I Need a Video Editor?
In the vast majority of cases, the answer to this problem can be a resounding “yes”. Some YouTubers will always prefer to edit their own videos, of course, but for the rest of us, having someone else to handle the editing easily takes half—or more—of the workload involved in running a YouTube channel off of your plate. And, for most of us, it’s not fun work, like filming the video often is.
Reducing the amount of things you have to do that aren’t enjoyable is a great way to ensure you don’t burn out and stop wanting to make YouTube channels. Hiring an editor will certainly do that, but the “do I need a video editor” is not the right question…
Should I Hire a Video Editor?
Things are a little more complex than simply musing over whether you would be better off with an editor. An editor needs paying, which means you need to be able to pay them. If money was no object, you could hire an editor, a special effects expert, voice over artists, animators… but money is an object. Especially for smaller YouTubers who are not making a lot of money from their channel.
If your YouTube channel is not your main income—which is a polite way of saying it is currently, technically, a hobby—then you need to look at it as a recreational expense. If you can afford to hire an editor as a disposable income expense, like you might budget for a gym membership or other non-essential expenses, then you could consider hiring an editor as it will definitely make your life easier in those earlier days of getting your channel up and running.
However, if money is a little tighter than that, and you can’t comfortably afford to hire an editor, then the answer is a resounding no—you shouldn’t hire one.
It may make your life easier as a YouTuber, but you don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you have to choose between eating and your YouTube channel.
How Much do YouTube Editors Charge?
Let’s start with the obvious caveat—every job is different, and different editors will charge different rates. There is no fixed rate that is consistent across all editors.
That being said, you can typically expect to see prices between $50 and $100 per minute of finished video. That means that, at the top end of that scale, you can expect to pay around $300 for a three-minute video.
As you can see, things can start to get exorbitantly expensive if your videos are over ten minutes long.
The quality of work will be a factor, as well. You may find an editor willing to work for closer to $25 per minute of finished video, but there will probably be a reason for that. In the best case scenario, it might be a talented editor who is just getting started is trying to build up a portfolio. That being said, it could also be an editor who is not very good and is charging very low rates because it’s the only way they can get work.
In very rare occasions, you may find someone who is prepared to edit your videos for free for the exposure and experience. While we won’t say you should avoid these relationships, you should certainly exercise a little caution. Firstly be clear about what the terms of your arrangement are, and what your editor is allowed to do regarding promoting their work. Secondly, don’t get comfortable with the arrangement, as your editor will almost certainly want to be paid for their work eventually.
Finding an Editor
If you decide to hire an editor for your channel, you should do plenty of research on any potential candidate before hiring them. Remember, the content that gets put out is ultimately yours, and it will be under your name. You need to be happy with the editors style.
Are you comfortable with them interjecting funny asides into the videos? If not, make sure they know. If there are no examples of their work publicly available, ask for some.
It’s also good to get to know the editor as well as you can. Remember, this person is going to be looking at hours of footage of you, fluffing words, forgetting lines, and generally doing things that you wouldn’t necessarily want people to see. You need to be comfortable with your new editor seeing those things.
Make it Formal (Legal)
If you use a freelance service like Upwork to find your editor, the legal stipulations should be in place by default. However, if you are going directly to an editor, you should have the terms of their hiring in writing—even if it’s only an informal email. Specifically, you want to stipulate that they cannot use any of the footage they are sent unless given express permission by you. This help to prevent any unfortunate footage being leaked by a jaded former-editor.
Just bear in mind that, if the editor breaks the terms of your agreement—even if you have an official contract drawn up by a lawyer or solicitor—you will need to actually take them to court for anything to happen.
Top 5 Tools To Get You Started on YouTube
Very quickly before you go here are 5 amazing tools I have used every day to grow my YouTube channel from 0 to 30K subscribers in the last 12 months that I could not live without.
1. VidIQ helps boost my views and get found in search
I almost exclusively switched to VidIQ from a rival in 2020.
2. Adobe Creative Suite helps me craft amazing looking thumbnails and eye-catching videos
I have been making youtube videos on and off since 2013.
When I first started I threw things together in Window Movie Maker, cringed at how it looked but thought “that’s the best I can do so it’ll have to do”.
I soon realized the move time you put into your editing and the more engaging your thumbnails are the more views you will get and the more people will trust you enough to subscribe.
That is why I took the plunge and invested in my editing and design process with Adobe Creative Suite. They offer a WIDE range of tools to help make amazing videos, simple to use tools for overlays, graphics, one click tools to fix your audio and the very powerful Photoshop graphics program to make eye-catching thumbnails.
Best of all you can get a free trial for 30 days on their website, a discount if you are a student and if you are a regular human being it starts from as little as £9 per month if you want to commit to a plan.
3. Rev.com helps people read my videos
You can’t always listen to a video.
Maybe you’re on a bus, a train or sat in a living room with a 5 year old singing baby shark on loop… for HOURS. Or, you are trying to make as little noise as possible while your new born is FINALLY sleeping.
This is where Rev can help you or your audience consume your content on the go, in silence or in a language not native to the video.
Rev.com can help you translate your videos, transcribe your videos, add subtitles and even convert those subtitles into other languages – all from just $1.50 per minute.
A GREAT way to find an audience and keep them hooked no matter where they are watching your content.
4. PlaceIT can help you STAND OUT on YouTube
I SUCK at making anything flashy or arty.
I have every intention in the world to make something that looks cool but im about as artistic as a dropped ice-cream cone on the web windy day.
That is why I could not live on YouTube without someone like PlaceIT. They offer custom YouTube Banners, Avatars, YouTube Video Intros and YouTube End Screen Templates that are easy to edit with simple click, upload wizard to help you make amazing professional graphics in minutes.
Best of all, some of their templates are FREE! or you can pay a small fee if you want to go for their slightly more premium designs (pst – I always used the free ones).
5. StoryBlocks helps me add amazing video b-roll cutaways
I mainly make tutorials and talking head videos.
And in this modern world this can be a little boring if you don’t see something funky every once in a while.
I try with overlays, jump cuts and being funny but my secret weapon is b-roll overlay content.
I can talk about skydiving, food, money, kids, cats – ANYTHING I WANT – with a quick search on the StoryBlocks website I can find a great looking clip to overlay on my videos, keeping them entertained and watching for longer.
They have a wide library of videos, graphics, images and even a video maker tool and it wont break the bank with plans starting from as little as £8.25 ($9) per month.