1438709489Trainee Edit Assistants Laura Morrod and Thay Quach

Edit Assistant

Film | TV
Personality type:

The lowdown

  • Assisting senior Post-Production staff
  • Setting up edit suites for use
  • Carrying out basic post-production tasks

Is this role right for me?

To do this role, you will need to: 

  • Have an understanding of the post-production process
  • Understand different industry formats
  • Understand basic editing equipment
  • Be familiar with editing systems and graphics 
  • Be able to solve basic technical problems 
  • Understand the principles of off-line and on-line editing
  • Understand the principles of non-linear editing
  • Understand industry practices for labelling and storing tapes
  • Have advanced IT skills
  • Have good team working skills
  • Have excellent communication skills
  • Be highly organised
  • Have good attention to detail
  • Be able to use your initiative
  • Be good at problem solving
  • Be diplomatic and sensitive when working with clients
  • Understand the relevant health and safety laws and procedures

What does an Edit Assistant do?

Edit Assistants provide basic technical and practical support for Editors, Telecine Operators, Colourists and other senior staff. This allows senior staff to concentrate on the creative aspects of Post Production. Edit Assistants are usually employees of a facilities house.  

Edit Assistants also help with spotting and correcting mistakes in the Post Production process. They are responsible for preparing Edit suites for use. They operate caption generators as needed during editing sessions. They also sort out any problems with the technology in Edit suites.  

Edit Assistants may carry out some simple cutting and editing work. They manage all media. This in includes auto-conforming media, digitising material for editing, making sure there is enough storage space. They control and monitor the movement of material in preparation for editing. They are also responsible for logging and storing tapes, recording reports and printing labels. 

Other tasks as an Edit Assistant can include:

1 Avid media folder & dailies media file management

Moving new media files into a shared storage environment and understanding the labelling system for the specific job. Understanding the file structure that AVID uses to manage its imported media files, including the way the media file databases work.

2 Master-clip labelling

Understanding the specific post workflow for your job and knowing what metadata will be required further down the line. Adjusting the clip text based information to the editors requirements.

3 Importing and merging ALEs into AVID

Importing master-clip information into avid bins ready to link to media.

4 Preparing rushes For editing

Including syncing picture and sound rushes using timecode and knowing how to manually sync if that is not an option. Group clipping. Getting the rushes bins ready in any way the editor requires.

5 Paperwork

Understanding the various documents that come into the cutting room and their significance. Adapting to the specific paperwork requirements of the editor.

6 Track laying

An understanding of temp track laying and the power of sound. Mixing within AVID temp sound effects and atmospheres to a brief.

7 Visual effects

A basic understanding of how to perform compositions and transitions within the AVID visual effects tools.

8 Exporting sequences

Being able to export sequences using the full range of avid export settings and codecs. Understanding the implications of using specific settings and presets.

9 Backing up protocol

Using various third party software to ensure daily back ups are conducted and complete.

10 Establishing a thoroughness in your work ethic, and understanding ‘why’ and not just ‘how.'

Creating a working environment where the emphasis is on detail so that mistakes are avoided. Work is checked and double checked and systems are in place to make sure it is carried out methodically. For example, checking camera reports against rushes bins to ensure you have prepared the bin with all of the material shot for a specific scene. Every effort should be made to understand ‘why’ a work flow and system is in place in any given cutting room. Not just ‘how’ to achieve a specific outcome, but why one way is better than another.

11 Develop an understanding of who your colleagues are.

From the shooting crew to the final post crew. Trainees should become familiar with the shooting set to form an understanding of where post is in the process of film making. Develop relationships with the other departments to encourage communication skills with the shooting crew. Likewise during post, develop an understanding of the workflow through to final delivery by seeing turnover, track laying, VFX meetings, grade and pre mix.

Will I need a qualification?

You don’t need a specific qualification. You might find a media degree gives you useful background knowledge. Or you might come from a background as an editor, working on shorts, corporates or music promos.

What’s the best route in?

You can start out as a Runner in a Post Production company.  After some time in the job and depending on your skills and talents you might be offered the opportunity to carry out some editing duties. The Runner role is a good opportunity to learn about every aspect of the industry and make valuable contacts,

You could apply to be a trainee through Trainee Finder, which gives you hands-on experience in the industry and helps you build those all-important contacts that are essential when competing for a job:

More information about Trainee Finder

Where might the role take me?

If you work as an Edit Assistant for three to four years, you may then go on to become a fully qualified Editor.  

Interested? Find out more…



  • Broadcast, weekly newspaper for the UK TV and Radio industry; 
  • Televisual, monthly business magazine for the broadcast industry;
  • Audio Post Production for Television and Film,Wyatt & Amyes - ISBN 0-240-51947-7
  • How Video Works, Weynand & Weise -ISBN 0-240-80614-X
  • Nonlinear Editing Basics, Steven Browne - ISBN 0-240-80282-9
  • Video Editing and Post Production, Gary H Anderson - ISBN 0-240-80337-X
  • Digital Editing with Final Cut Pro 4, Mamer &Wallace - ISBN 0-941188-91-4
  • Digital Nonlinear Editing, Thomas Ohanian - ISBN 0-240-80225-X
  • Editing Digital Film, Jaime Fowler - ISBN 0-240-80470-8
  • All books available from: http://www.focalpress.com/


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