What is a Visual Effects Editor?

Written by 90 Seconds
Last updated: October 4, 2023
What is a Visual Effects Editor?

A visual effects editor, also known as VFX editor, is the person who is overseeing, and responsible for all the visual effects in a production.

The VFX editor must have excellent communication skills, as the job requires the VFX editor to communicate effectively between VFX staff and the editors.

VFX editors pay very close attention to detail and scrutinize every shot in a production that is necessary.

They decide what should be a visual effect as well as catch mistakes in a shot such as reflections of production staff or their cameras.

They not only determine what should be a visual effect, but what sounds should be entered in the shot as well to make it more authentic and realistic.

It is a time-consuming, detail-oriented job that fits perfectly with people who have a passion for visual effects and editing.

These people must naturally pay close attention to detail, be good communicators, and have a working organizational system.

Visual effects editors should also be creative enough to come up with new ideas and problem solve.

Primary roles

Putting together a VFX blueprint

Before filming starts, the VFX editor reads the script, communicates with the director, and then compiles a list of what types of special effects it is going to take to bring the film to life.

This list serves as the film’s VFX blueprint and gives everyone a better idea about the kind of work (and money) the film is going to require.

Checking for mistakes

Sometimes, mishaps can slip through even in the final stages of a film. Things such as boom shadows and camera reflections can be difficult to spot and can hurt the quality of the film.

It is the job of the VFX editor to make sure that none of these things make it through into the final cut.

Secondary roles

Updating notes

All those notes that the VFX editor has been taking will need to be constantly updated as production goes on and changes are made.

Everything to do with production is constantly changing and evolving, and the VFX editor is responsible for keeping up with the flow of work. Some days will be more hectic and stressful than others; it is common for the demands of the job to vary greatly from week to week.

Experienced VFX editors know this and are able to thrive in such environments effectively.

Communicating with VFX staff

There are many other production staff that a VFX editor must work with to accomplish their job.

This includes, but is not limited to, editorial director, visual effects coordinator, visual effects supervisor, as well as the visual effects editing department.

Every single person involved in production and visual effects is important and essential to achieving a flawless finished product.

If the communication is poor, production will suffer and deadlines will not be met.

VFX editors stay on top of communication, frequently checking in with other people to make sure that they are on the same page and to stay up to date as to what still needs to be done and accomplished.