Part 2: Tips for Working with a Remote Editor

Published on in Advice / Tips & Tricks

In part 1, we discussed how to choose the right editor for your project. In this article we’ll discuss how to work with your editor. This will include:

  • Ways to lower your editing costs.
  • Tactics to improve the chances your edited video will be all that you’re hoping for. 

Let’s begin!

Strategies for lowering your editing costs: 

  1. Organizing your materials. 

One main key to lowering your editing costs can be found in one word: Organization. 

Most editors are paid by the hour, although some may be paid by the project. Either way, you’ll want to minimize the time it takes for the editor to find the right material. 

Even if you’re paying a fixed project price, your editor will have certain expectations. If you don’t organize, it might add a significant amount of work time to the project. If the editor wasn’t expecting this, it could mean an increase in pricing even for a fixed price project. 

How you organize will depend on the materials you’re giving the editor, and the project itself. 

I would suggest putting the different types of materials in their own folders. For example, photos might go in one folder, video clips in another, art-work in another, etc. This might seem simple, but it’s important.

Organize everything in a way that makes sense for your project. As you organize, do whatever you can do to make it easier for the editor to find what they need. 

One project I edited had photos and clips throughout time. The files were organized for me by decades – 1950’s, 1960’s, etc. This was a huge help. I wouldn’t have been able to accurately discern the time period myself, and the way this was organized cut down on the time it took for me to edit. 

For more ideas on how to lower your editing costs, check out this article called Optimizing the Editing Process to Save Our Clients Time and Money

  1. Don’t give the editor everything you have. 

This is really a continuation of the previous suggestion. You’ll save a lot of money if you determine in advance which are the best clips and photos to use. 

Something that is sure to increase your expenses is dumping a ton of stuff on your editor. If you can get rid of video shots or photos you don’t want, and organize what you do want more efficiently, it will potentially cut down on the editors’ time and lower your costs. 

One time I was given hours of very detailed and specific B-roll footage for a 5-minute video. There were about 185 shots and we only needed 6. I needed to spend around 5 hours just to go through the shots and log them to determine what would work. This added a lot of unexpected time and money to the project. 

If you don’t mind the expense, that’s not a problem. A good editor will be able to handle this. Plus, it means more money for the editor. However, if you’re looking to save money, this is one way to do it with a little more work in advance. 

  1. Give effective directions. 

This is a simple but important strategy. Good directions become even more important when you can’t be on site together. This is true whether you plan to let the editor loose to use their own creativity, or you plan to be very specific about what you want. Clear directions equal a happy editor and a satisfied client.

The first part of giving clear directions is explaining your goals for the video. 

To explain what your goal for your video is, you’ll want to decide what you want your viewers to take away. For example, do you want them to learn? Do you want them to feel uplifted? Do you want them to take an action? If so, exactly what is this action?  

Then you’ll want to explain this to your editor. So, for example, let’s say you’re creating a motivational video. Maybe you want the viewer to get excited about your product, and to make a purchase. To build excitement, you might want the editor to use fast edits, uplifting music, text on screen with a lot of motion, etc.  

Then there’s style. You’ll want to explain what you’re looking for. 

Sometimes you can find a video on YouTube that’s similar to your vision. Share the link with your editor. That can go a long way towards helping them understand what you’re looking for. If not, you’ll need to explain verbally. 

Finally, you’ll need to write down any specifics your editor will need. 

Once you’re ready to start working with your remote editor, you’ll need to give clear and specific directions on any specifics. Of course, you’ll want to talk to the editor about what you’re looking for in general. But it’s always best to put your specific directions in writing. This way there can be no confusion, and you’ll be making the project easier for the editor. Plus, the editor can refer back to the directions whenever they need to. 

What do you put in your written directions? 

That depends. That will be based on the type of the project and materials being used. It will also depend on how specific you wish to be. 

First, you’ll want to write about what’s in each folder you sent over, and how you want the items in them used. 

Then you may need to go one step farther, depending on the project. For example, if you’re creating a video for a business website and the project includes photos, you might need to explain how you want each photo used. So, let’s say you gave your editor a photo of a young couple. You’ll need to explain what to do with that photo. You might say: “The photo of the couple shows the founders of the company.” 

You might even give specific directions if you have them. For example, you could say: “Please use this when we introduce the founders.” You could get even more specific if you wish. You could request that the photo be used during specific time codes. Or you can stay general. You can request that certain photos go with certain topics. 

What else do you need to know? 

Once you’ve given the editor everything, step back. If you’ve communicated with him well, now it’s time to let your editor do his/her job and create!

You might want to have the editor send you a very short, rough segment of what he or she is editing to show you the style. The purpose of this is to see if you’re on the same page. You don’t want them to finish the whole video only to feel that it’s not what you were looking for. 

And remember – Always try and be kind, professional and courteous to your editor. Editors are people too, and you’re more likely to get a great result if your editor feels good about what they’re doing. It also helps if they’re properly rewarded financially and with positive feedback.

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About the Author

Greg Ball
Greg Ball
Greg Ball has been editing for over 25 years, and offers remote editing services nationally. Prior to starting this company, Greg was the Manager of Worldwide Video Communications for Burger King World Headquarters. He's considered an expert at video production for business, events, training, and medical purposes. He is the founder and President of Ball Media Innovations, a full-service Miami video production company serving from Miami to Orlando. His company also offers national service for explainer videos, video/film translation (dubbing and subtitles), and video studio design and building. To contact Greg, call 954-432-1274, or email To see his editing reel, visit

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