What does an edit producer do?
Edit producers have different roles depending on the type of programme being made. The role can be quite different depending on whether the edit producer is working on a documentary, or live outside broadcast, for example.
On a documentary edit producers take all the shot footage, known as ‘rushes’, and put the best bits together to create a polished, complete programme. They work with an editor who has technical as well as story-telling skills.
Rushes are usually captured on different memory cards and shot at different times and by different directors. They all get transferred, or ingested, into the edit suite and a logger lists what was shot on which card number, and at what timecode the footage can be found. Edit producers use those logs to help them find what they need.
They often start by putting all the material on a very long timeline so they can see what’s been shot, the style used, and how a story has been told. They then edit the timeline down, selecting the best takes and finding appropriate GVs (general views) such as wide shots of the location or close-ups. The footage might include interviews and archive, with the addition of graphics and music if needed. They usually write a guide script as they go and record it into the programme timeline, which helps to tell the story that they are cutting and which eventually will become the script read by the presenter or a voiceover artist. They are responsible for making sure the finished programme runs to the required duration.
For a magazine programme, they may be required to cut lots of short films, known as VTs, and make sure they are ready to go and be introduced by the presenters. For observational documentaries, they might cut without a recorded script, relying on the footage alone to tell a full story. On a live entertainment programme created in a studio or an event at an outside broadcast, they may be overseeing a number of edit suites, making sure the pre-prepared films are ready to go. They are also responsible for overseeing the editing of highlights packages that are produced while the programme is on air.
Very experienced edit producers may oversee an entire series, creating an overall style and carrying a narrative over several episodes, guiding a team of edit producers who cut individual episodes. They are known as series edit producers. Edit producers are mainly freelance.
What’s an edit producer good at?
- Storytelling: craft a story and create a compelling narrative that takes viewers on a journey
- Scripting: write clear, factually correct scripts that are in keeping with the tone and style of show
- Producing and directing: understand the filming process, be able spot what may need re-shooting or key content that’s missing and needs picking up
- Adaptability: be able to work on a variety of factual programming, capture the tone and create a style
- Compliance and copyright knowledge: know where to source additional material and the process required to allow its use, work to compliance and legal guidelines